The #24 overall Pittsburgh Panthers (7-5) battle the #2 overall Clemson Tigers (12-0) on Saturday in the ACC Championship Game. Kickoff is set for 8:00 PM EST on December 1st at Bank of America Stadium and the game will be broadcast on ABC.
Taking a look at the Week 14 college football odds, Clemson opened as a 24.5-point favorite earlier this week. That line has shifted by two full points after early betting, as the Tigers are currently listed at -26.5. The total for the game is sitting at 55 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Pittsburgh vs Clemson
Clemson finished the regular season undefeated last weekend after knocking off South Carolina 56-35 at home to improve to 12-0 overall. The Tigers scored 14 unanswered points in the 3rd quarter to help propel them to victory after a back and forth first half. QB Trevor Lawrence played fairly well, throwing for 393 yards and a touchdown. However, it was RB Travis Etienne that stole the show on offense, racking up 150 rushing yards and scoring two touchdowns. WR Tee Higgins also had a solid game, turning six receptions into 142 yards and a touchdown. As a whole, Clemson is currently averaging 45.7 points per game (5th overall) on 539.1 yards of total offense (3rd overall).
The Tigers have been fantastic defensively so far this season, holding opponents to an average of just 14.0 points per game (4th overall). They currently own one of the best run defenses in the entire country, giving up only 84.8 yards per game on the ground (2nd overall).
Pittsburgh had their four game winning streak come to an end last weekend, falling 24-3 to a tough Miami team. Nobody really stood out on the offensive side of the ball, as QB Kenny Pickett passed for just 130 yards while RB Darrin Hall lead the team in rushing with only 47 yards on the ground. However, the Panthers have been playing quite well as of late, recording big wins over Syracuse, Duke, and Virginia. They also gave Notre Dame a huge scare in the middle of October, staying within 5 points of the undefeated Fighting Irish despite playing on the road. Overall, Pittsburgh is currently averaging 28.0 points per game (75th overall) on 386.1 yards of total offense (80th overall).
The Panthers were also below average during the regular season on the defensive side of the ball, giving up a 27.8 points per game (71st overall) on 399.9 yards of total offense (69th overall). They haven’t looked great against either the run or the pass, ranking just 80th and 61st overall respectively.
Big 12 Championship Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Pitt +26.5
I had originally planned on taking the Tigers in this spot, but the spread has now ballooned to almost four full touchdowns. While there is little doubt that Clemson will win this game outright, I think that the Panthers should be able to grind out a cover in this matchup for several reason. First, they really gave a Notre Dame team that ended up going undefeated in the regular season a run for their money back in October. It was the only game this year that Pittsburgh was a 21+ point underdog, and they only lost by five points. Secondly, since 1997, Pitt is a perfect 5-0 ATS as a 25+ point underdog – they are also a remarkable 2-3 straight up as a 25+ point underdog.
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The Tigers record as a 21+ point favorite has been dreadful, as they are only 1-5 ATS this season when favored by at least three touchdowns. That trend has continued when looking at the past two years as a whole, since Clemson is a brutal 2-8 ATS as a 21+ point favorite since 2017. On the other side, Pittsburgh is a very solid 6-1 ATS over their last seven games overall.
The public has been jumping all over Clemson in this matchup since the line was posted several days ago, and while I was initially sold on the Tigers with the spread sitting between 20-25, I do think Pitt should be able to stay within four touchdowns. It is also extremely important to note how massive favorites have fared against the spread over the entire FBS regular season, as favorites of 25 or more points only ended up going 65-83-2 ATS overall. While picking against such a well-rounded team like Clemson may come back to bite me, I think the numbers point to the Panthers in this spot. Even when analyzing how both teams performed against common opponents – Duke, Syracuse, Wake Forest, and Georgia Tech – Pitt went a perfect 4-0 ATS while Clemson was just 2-2 ATS. I’m taking the underdog and the points – give me Pittsburgh.