- Clemson's recent scoring outbursts have been jaw-dropping, but Boston College presents a more formidable roadblock than what the Tigers saw from Louisville and Wake Forest.
Clemson Tigers at Boston College Eagles (+20)
Sat. 11/9, 8:00 p.m. ET
Three things to know before betting on Clemson-Boston College:
1. Clemson has been on an undeniably impressive run since the month of October began, beating Wake Forest, NC State, Florida State and Louisville by a combined score of 240-36. But those blowouts came against a quartet of awful defenses. (FSU has been solid at times this season, but barely showed up against the Tigers.)
Clemson will face its strongest defensive conference opponent this season when it travels to Chestnut Hill for a primetime matchup with the Boston College Eagles. BC ranks 24th in the country in allowing just 4.83 yards per play and has been playing its best football of late with three straight victories in which it has allowed no more than 21 points. Clemson's recent blowouts have been the result of quick-strike touchdowns. Despite their impressive scores, the Tigers have controlled the ball only 46.1% of the time (110th in FBS). The Eagles rank 25th in the nation in allowing gains of 20-plus yards on only 5.8% of their opponents plays, which should force Clemson to take up more time and keep the final margin under 20.
2. Strong defenses are the signature of Steve Addazio's Boston College teams, and this year's squad is no different. The Eagles offense, however, is significantly better than it has been in recent seasons. Star running back AJ Dillon is leading the ACC with 128.1 rushing yards per game. With Dillon's knack for exploiting gaps in defenses, Boston College can take advantage of the one weakness in Clemson's dominant D: Allowing big plays. Dillon ranks eighth in the nation with 10 carries of 20-plus yards and will be facing a Clemson defense that ranks a mediocre 56th in FBS in allowing gains of 20-plus yards on 6.9% of plays. Clemson won't be able to simply stack the box to stop Dillon, because BC quarterback Anthony Brown, who is fourth in the ACC with a 141.4 passer rating, is good enough to keep the Tigers' D honest. Boston College's offense is in no way better than Clemson's defense, but it presents a much more competitive matchup than the Tigers' recent conference prey.
3. Under Addazio, Boston College has consistently stepped up to fight toe-to-toe with the toughest teams on its schedules. Since he became head coach in 2013, BC is 10-2-1 against the spread when playing teams with a winning percentage of at least .750 and 7-1-1 ATS against teams allowing fewer than 17 points per game. Since the start of last season, the Eagles are 6-0-1 ATS against teams averaging at least 31 points per game, and they're 11-0-1 ATS altogether in their past 12 ACC games.
Larger-scale systems favor the Eagles, too. Over the last 10 seasons, underdogs of 10.5 to 21 points with a winning percentage between .600 and .800 that have won four out of their last five games are 44-15 against the spread (74.6%) when playing a team with a winning record.
Pick: Boston College +20
Confidence Level: Moderate (on a scale of Low/Moderate/High/Very High/Extremely High)
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