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Odds and Ends: Will Clemson Cover as Massive Favorite Over S.C. State?

Clemson is a 50.5-point favorite over the in-state Bulldogs, who visit Memorial Stadium at 5 p.m. It's tied for the Tigers' second-largest spread in the College Football Playoff era.

A win for the No. 6 Clemson Tigers is inevitable Saturday.

Coming off a rare opening season loss last week to No. 2 Georgia, Dabo Swinney's squad will bounce back against FCS foe S.C. State. However, will they cover the spread?

It's enormous, which one would expect. Clemson is a 50.5-point favorite over the in-state Bulldogs, who visit Memorial Stadium at 5 p.m. It's tied for the Tigers' second-largest spread in the College Football Playoff era. 

Clemson hasn't covered the last three contests against an FCS team, but the Tigers have scored 50 or more points in three of the last four FCS matchups. Will this one be different?

Swinney's offense put up zero touchdowns against a vaunted Georgia defense, so they might be inclined to try to get going early, build some momentum and work out the kinks from last week when the scoring attack was off-balance nearly the entire game. 

When pondering a Clemson cover (or non-cover), the questions are not about what the starters can do in this game. Quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei and company will find a much easier path to points. It's more about how long Swinney lets them build confidence and rack up points. It's reasonable to think they could stay in the game longer than usual. 

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The backups are more unknown on the offensive side of the ball. Taisun Phommachanh is returning to action after tearing his Achilles in the April spring game, while walk-on Hunter Helms is likely to see playing time as well. 

The other factor is the Clemson defense, which didn't allow a TD to Georgia last week. S.C. State scored 41 points in a loss to Alabama A&M in Week 1, but points won't be easy in this one. Will the FCS Bulldogs score at all? 

Swinney has great respect for S.C. State head coach Buddy Pough, one of the legends in the Palmetto State, so the Tigers might sit on a big lead late, and maybe the visiting team gets a late score. 

This isn't the kind of spread to back with confidence. Meanwhile, the total for points scored is set at 56.5. The Tigers' team total for the game is set at 53.5 points.

Betting picks

Spread: S.C. State

Total: Over

Best bet (1-0): Going back to the well here with a first-half play. Last week the under hit easily. This week, the first-half over of 38.5 points is the play as the Tigers will unload early. If S.C. State gets a field goal or TD, it'll hit with ease. Despite last week's performance, Clemson is still strong enough to get this itself. 

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