Florida State vs. Clemson: Expert Pick and Prediction – September 23, 2023
FLORIDA STATE VS. CLEMSON: EXPERT PICK AND PREDICTION – September 23, 2023 — After Week 1, this matchup looked as straightforward as it gets. Clemson was on the way down, and Florida State prepared to step right into its spot as the new ACC king. The Seminoles had just delivered a beatdown to LSU, while the Tigers fumbled their way to a 21-point loss at Duke.
But two weeks later, things look a lot different. Florida State almost managed to fritter away a two-touchdown lead against a bad Boston College squad, and the Seminoles now have several questions to answer. Meanwhile, the Tigers have rehabilitated their image a bit after two comfortable wins. They’ve come against bad teams, but at least Clemson looked the part of a contender.
More importantly: the Tigers have owned this matchup for years. It’s been eight long years since Florida State bested Clemson, and the Tigers have covered five years in a row. Last season really hurt for the Seminoles, who spotted Clemson 13 points off turnovers and failed on fourth down three times.
(3-0 SU, 2-1-0 ATS)
(2-1 SU, 1-2-0 ATS)
When: Saturday, September 23rd at Noon EDT
Where: Memorial Stadium, Clemson, S.C.
Public Bets: 82% on Florida State
Public Money: 92% on Florida State
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of September 19th, 2023.
Florida State vs. Clemson In-Season Trends
Florida State doesn’t like to waste time on offense. The Seminoles usually put up points in the first half, scoring at least 14 in each game they’ve played this season. The problem is that the Seminole defense usually doesn’t show up right away, which means first-half overs tend to be a great play with the Seminoles. The first half over has cashed in 10 of FSU’s past 13 games, and the Seminoles haven’t seen fewer than 20 first-half points in any of them.
Clemson’s also been a quick starter. The Tigers have gone into the break with the lead in 10 of their past 13 games, including the debacle at Duke. As bad as the Tigers were that night in Durham, they still led 7-6 and could have been ahead by more.
There’s one trend we’ll know nothing about: Clemson as a home dog. The Tigers haven’t gotten points at home since Louisville carried the No. 3 ranking with Lamar Jackson into Memorial Stadium. Even though it’s a small spread, this is new territory for the Tigers.
Weather shouldn’t play any role in this game. There’s no rain in the forecast, mild winds and temperatures sitting in the high 70s in upstate South Carolina. These should be ideal conditions.
How will Florida State choose to approach this game? Mike Norvell has mostly opted to ride with Jordan Travis throwing, but that wasn’t how the Seminoles had success last year against Clemson. Last season, Florida State ripped off six yards per carry, which bodes well for Trey Benson if the Seminoles use him. Benson has only carried 33 times in three games in 2023, and no other Seminole has more than 17 touches.
Clemson hasn’t yet gotten Will Shipley going. Shipley’s yards per carry look great, as he’s gained 225 yards on 36 touches, but he hasn’t yet scored a touchdown. Instead, the touchdowns have gone to Phil Mafah, Clemson’s No. 2 back. Having both runners at their best should give Cade Klubnik time to make good decisions and avoid the fumbling issues that have plagued him this season.
It’s tough to trust either team right now. Florida State did not look good at all in the second half against Boston College, while Clemson faded badly against Duke. Both of those games were on the road, so is the issue that Florida State was looking ahead to Clemson, or that the Seminoles will wilt in a hostile environment in the second half?
I still think Florida State’s better, as LSU’s better than anyone Clemson’s faced to date. But I’m very hesitant to bet heavily on either team. Instead, the bet I like is a first-half over play, as both teams get off to good starts. With the number still fairly reasonable, it’s time to jump on it before the total gets too high.
Florida State -2.5
First Half Over 26.5