The Florida State Seminoles were probably hoping for a COVID outbreak on campus so their game with the Clemson Tigers would be delayed or cancelled. It hasn’t happened so far and with games all over the country put on the shelf the ACC will make sure this one goes off if it can. Not only is FSU struggling on the field with a record of 2-5, they lost a number of players to defections or injuries in the past week, leaving them shorthanded for the matchup against a hungry Tigers squad. Clemson is expected to have Trevor Lawrence back after he missed two games, one of them a loss at Notre Dame that ended a 28-game winning streak against ACC competition. Clemson is a 34.5-point favorite on the college football betting line to start a new streak.
The game between the Clemson Tigers and Florida State Seminoles will take place at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee at 12 p.m. ET on Saturday, November 21, 2020. The game will be televised live on ABC.
Clemson Tigers vs Florida State Odds
Clemson Tigers -34.5
Florida State Seminoles +34.5
Clemson is eager to get back on the gridiron after suffering its first loss of the season and then stewing on it over a bye. The Tigers went into Notre Stadium as a 5-point favorite and had a late lead only to give it up and lose 47-40 in overtime, their third straight loss against the line. With an average margin of nearly 26 points per game the Tigers are only 2-6 ATS. Yes, they’ve played against some humongous lines and this week is no different. Clemson hit the board laying 33 points and that looked like a bargain with the line wagered to -34.5.
The line and the public’s reaction are signs of just how bad things are right now in Tallahassee. FSU is catching the most points ever in a college football game. The largest spread previously, at least by my research, came in 2009 when the Noles were getting 26 points against Florida. They were a 25.5-point dog last year against Clemson losing that one 45-14. FSU’s only win over a FBS foe came last month over then No. 5 North Carolina at home, so there is hope. However, the Noles are 0-3 SU and ATS since then getting outscored 127 to 55.
One of the 99 percent of the people who survived the virus, Lawrence is expected to be back behind center when the Tigers take the field. Offense wasn’t the problem in his absence with D.J. Uiagalelei throwing for 781 yards and four touchdowns without an interception. But let’s face it the Tigers need their leader behind center to have any chance of reaching the ultimate goal. “He’s chomping at the bit to play. He’s Trevor. He’s well prepared and focused and really locked in. You know what you’re going to get from No. 16, there’s no doubt about that,” Dabo Swinney said about his quarterback.
Injuries took a toll on the defense in the loss to Notre Dame and the group paid for it. Minus several starters prior to the game and losing a few during, the Tigers conceded 518 yards, including 208 on the ground in easily their worst performance of the season. The off week allowed players to heal fortifying the group, and FSU isn’t as dangerous with the football. Despite allowing 75 points combined in the last two games the Tigers still boast a top-20 scoring defense.
Florida State Seminoles
Just when it looked like Florida State was ready to turn a corner following their upset of No. 5 UNC, the Noles had to play another game. And another. And another. That victory is a distant memory and it looks as though they are going through the motions. They lost the last three outings and weren’t competitive in any of them. The offense has sputtered without a quarterback. Opening day starter James Blackman was replaced after two games and has decided to transfer out of the program. The group showed signs of life under Jordan Travis until he was injured and missed the last game. That left true freshman Chubba Purdy to start against NC State, the fourth player to start at the position this season. Purdy would get the nod if Travis is unavailable on Saturday.
Defense has been an issue as well. Giving up 413 yards and 38 points to NC State was actually a good game. Over the last three contests the Noles allowed an average of 42.3 points. For the season they concede 36.1 points and 465.4 yards, both among the worst in the FBS. And things probably won’t get any better against Clemson’s eighth-ranked scoring offense.
Clemson vs Florida State Prediction
Best Bet: Florida State +34.5 and UNDER 66
It’s hard passing on 34.5 points, but this is a Florida State program in a free fall and the Tigers are anxious to get back on the field. Having some defenders back in action will certainly help Clemson’s cause, as will the return of Lawrence. The Tigers haven’t lost consecutive games since 2011 and that’s not going to change. However, five touchdowns is a lot, which is why I’ll back the home team.