The No. 14 Louisville Cardinals will host the No. 3 Clemson Tigers in what’s arguably the most anticipated game on the schedule this week. Kickoff is set for 8:00 EST at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium and will be televised nationally on ABC.
Taking a look at the Week 3 betting lines, oddsmakers have the Tigers listed as either a 3-pt or 3.5-pt favorite depending on the book you shop at. The total for this matchup is currently 56.5 after opening at 59.5.
Clemson vs Louisville Free Betting Preview & Vegas Odds
The Tigers have gotten off to a strong start in their attempt to defend their national title without the services of Deshaun Watson at quarterback. Clemson made easy work of Kent State in Week 1, cruising to a 56-3 victory as a 37-point favorite. They then showed they can hold their own against one of the SEC’s best in Auburn, winning 14-6 at home as a 6-point favorite.
Louisville escaped with a 35-28 win against Purdue in their opener, where they came no where close to covering as a 25.5-point favorite. They did bounce back with a cover in a 47-35 win at UNC as a 11.5-point favorite.
Last year Clemson needed a late stop to avoid getting upset at home, as they took down the Cardinals 42-36. That ended up being the difference in the Tigers winning the ACC Atlantic, as both teams finished at 7-1 in conference play. With FSU having lost their starting QB, many feel this game will once again decide who wins the ACC this year.
College Football Free Betting Pick Against the Spread: Louisville +3
I would have to lean towards the Cardinals in this one. Louisville has had this game circled on the calendar since the schedule was released. They know that if they want to reach their goal of making the playoffs and playing for a national championship, they have to take down defending champs. After feeling like they gave away last year’s game at Clemson, they won’t be the least bit intimated in this one.
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It’s also worth noting that this line keeps moving from 3 to 3.5 back to 3 at several books. What that is telling me is the public is pounding Clemson at -3 and the sharps are loading up once it hit’s 3.5. I highly recommend waiting to see if a 3.5 pops up if you like the Cardinals in this one.
For me, this all comes down to the fact that I don’t think Clemson will be able to contain Lamar Jackson. That’s saying something given the talent the Tigers have on the defensive line. Let’s not forget what Jackson did to these guys in Clemson last year. Throwing for 295 yards and rushing for another 162 yards (3 total TDs).
He was outdone in that game by Watson, who threw for 306 yards and 5 scores and rushed for another 91 yards. As good as Kelly Bryant has played in his first two starts, I don’t know that he will be able to handle this situation.
Keep in mind both of those first two games were at home in front of the Clemson faithful. He now has to play in a hostile environment and there’s some big pressure here on him to keep pace with Jackson and the Cardinals offense. I think his inexperience will show up here with a couple costly turnovers that swing this game in Louisville’s favor.
Something to point out here is that over the last 3 seasons, Clemson is just 4-9 ATS as a road favorite and just 1-8 ATS when laying 7 or less on the highway under head coach Dabo Swinney. The Tigers are also just 6-16 ATS in their last 22 road games after allowing 14 points or less in each of their last 2 games.