Saturday's Late Tips
November 24, 2017
By Brian Edwards
Editor's Note: Brian Edwards has gone 0-3 in the mid-week games, but is ready to bounce back with winners on Saturday. He still owns a 53-39 record (57.6%, +10.41 units) in college football this season. Don't miss out on any of his pay-if-they-win-only selections for Week 13, or just go ahead and get signed up for his bowl package!
**Clemson at South Carolina**
-- South Carolina (8-3 straight up, 6-3-2 against the spread) has won outright in five straight home games since losing its home opener to Kentucky. The Gamecocks are 2-3-1 ATS at Williams-Brice Stadium, but they smashed Arkansas by a 48-22 count in their only game as home underdogs this season. Since Will Muschamp took over as head coach, USC is 10-3 SU at home.
-- As of early Friday, most books had Clemson (10-1 SU, 6-4-1 ATS) installed as a 13.5-point favorite with a total of 46.5. The Gamecocks were +425 on the money line (risk $100 to win $425).
-- In the long history of this bitter rivalry, South Carolina had never beaten Clemson more than four consecutive times. During Steve Spurrier’s glorious tenure at USC, however, it beat the Tigers five straight times by double-digit margins from 2009-2013. Since then, Clemson has responded with three straight wins, including a 56-7 clubbing at Death Valley last season. In the last meeting at Williams-Brice two years ago, Clemson dodged a major upset threat and won 37-32 but never threatened to cover the spread as a 20.5-point favorite.
-- South Carolina has won five of its last six games with the lone defeat coming in a 24-10 loss at UGA in which it easily took the cash as a 23.5-point road underdog. The Gamecocks bounced back to knock off Florida, 28-20, as 4.5-point home ‘chalk.’ They won a 31-10 decision over Wofford last week, but failed to cover as 23.5-point home favorites. Jake Bentley completed 22-of-28 passes for 194 yards and one TD without an interception, and the sophomore QB also rushed for a pair of TDs. Bryan Edwards had eight receptions for 90 yards and one TD, while A.J. Turner rushed 11 times for 69 yards and one TD.
-- Bentley has connected on 63.1 percent of his passes for 2,429 yards with a 15/9 touchdown-to-interception ratio. During a four-game stretch that covered the entire month of October, Bentley had six TD passes without an interception. However, he was intercepted five times against UGA and UF. Bentley has rushed for six TDs. Since taking over as the starter last season when he should’ve still been a senior in high school, Bentley has led the Gamecocks to a 12-6 record in 18 starts.
-- Edwards and junior TE Hayden Hurst provide Bentley with a pair of elite targets. Edwards has 53 receptions for 635 yards and three TDs, while Hurst has 38 catches for 490 yards and two TDs. Before getting injured in Week 3, junior WR Deebo Samuel had already scored six TDs. He was on his way to an All-American campaign at that rate, and it’s a credit to Muschamp and his staff that USC has had a stellar season without Samuel.
-- Turner has become the featured back over the last month, taking advantage of extra touches since starting RB and fellow sophomore Rico Dowdle went down with a broken leg in a 15-9 win at Tennessee. Turner has rushed for a team-best 507 yards and three TDs while averaging 5.6 YPC. He had rushed for only 60 yards for the year until producing 86 yards on 14 attempts at UT. Then he went for 121 yards against Vandy and 136 vs. UF.
-- Clemson has won three of its four road games while going 2-2 ATS. The Tigers took their only loss of the season at Syracuse (27-24) in a game when starting QB Kelly Bryant was playing with a sprained ankle and then left the game for good due to a concussion in the second quarter. Since then, the Tigers have won four in a row, going 2-1-1 ATS thanks to back-to-back spread covers.
-- Dabo Swinney’s team has won 35 of its last 37 regular-season games. Clemson’s best wins this year have come vs. Auburn (14-6), at Louisville (47-21), vs. Boston College (34-7), at Va. Tech (31-17), vs. Wake Forest (28-14), vs. Ga. Tech (24-10) and at N.C. State (38-31).
-- Bryant, the junior who became the starter when Deshaun Watson moved on to the NFL, had completed 66.2 percent of his passes for 2,154 yards with a 10/5 TD-INT ratio. Bryant has run for 613 yards and 10 TDs while averaging 4.0 YPC.
-- WRs Deon Cain and Hunter Renfroe are Bryant’s favorite targets. Cain has 46 receptions for 597 yards and five TDs, while Renfroe has 46 catches for 451 yards and one TD. Ray-Ray McCloud has 37 grabs for 386 yards and one TD.
-- In addition to Bryant, Clemson has a pair of RBs who have run for more than 600 yards. Travis Etienne, a true freshman, has run for a team-best 679 yards and 11 TDs, averaging 7.7 YPC. Tavien Feaster, a true sophomore who was a five-star recruit, has rushed for 619 yards and five TDs with a 6.7 YPC.
-- Clemson is ranked seventh in the nation in total defense, 11th versus the pass, 13th at defending the run and third in scoring ‘D’ (13.9 PPG).
-- Clemson has four starters listed as ‘questionable’ at USC, including junior OT Mitch Hyatt (undisclosed), who was a third-team All-ACC selection in 2015 and a first-team all-conference pick last season. Also, sophomore DT Dexter Lawrence is battling a foot injury. Lawrence, a second-team All-ACC choice as a true freshman in ’16, sat out last week’s 61-3 home win over The Citadel. In nine games played, he has recorded 28 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 0.5 tackles for loss and one forced fumble. Junior LB Kendall Joseph, who also sat out last week due to a leg injury, is the Tigers’ second-leading tackler despite missing two games. Joseph has registered 74 tackles, three TFL’s, 0.5 sacks, four QB hurries, one pass broken up and one forced fumble. Junior Mark Fields has missed four consecutive games with a foot injury. He has 16 tackles, three TFL’s and two PBU.
-- The ‘under’ is 7-4 overall for USC, 3-3 in its home games. The Gamecocks have seen their contests average combined scores of 45.0 PPG.
-- The ‘under’ is 6-4-1 overall for Clemson, 2-2 in its four road assignments. The Tigers have seen their games average combined scores of 49.2 PPG. They’d seen five straight ‘unders’ until the ‘over’ hit at a 2-0-1 clip their last three times out.
-- Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
**Notre Dame at Stanford**
-- As of early Friday, most spots had Notre Dame (9-2 SU, 7-4 ATS) listed as a two-point favorite with a total of 57. The Cardinal was a +110 underdog on the money line (risk $100 to win $110).
-- Brian Kelly’s team is 3-1 both SU and ATS in four road assignments this year. The Fighting Irish won by double-digit margins at Boston College (49-20), at Michigan State (38-18) and at North Carolina (33-10), but took woodshed treatment from Miami (41-8) in South Florida two weeks ago. They are 8-11 ATS as a road ‘chalk’ during Kelly’s eight-year run at the school.
-- Notre Dame raced out to an 8-1 record, winning each game by 11 points or more and winning seven of those contests by margins of at least 20 points. The only defeat before the trip to Miami was a 20-19 home loss to Georgia, which eventually climbed to No. 1 in the CFP rankings. However, the beatdown it took from the Hurricanes sent the Irish packing from the CFP mix.
-- Notre Dame has failed to cover the number in three straight games, but it did get back in the win column at home vs. Navy last week. The Midshipmen easily took the cash, though, as a 21-point road underdog. The Irish prevailed 24-17 in a one-possession game from start to finish. They scored the last 14 points of the game thanks to a pair of TD passes from Brandon Wimbush to Kevin Stepherson (30 yards and nine yards). Josh Adams ran for 106 yards on 18 attempts. Wimbush rushed for 41 yards and one TD on eight carries, in addition to throwing for 164 yards and two TDs without a pick.
-- For the season, Adams has run for 1,337 yards and nine TDs while averaging 7.8 YPC. Wimbush has rushed for 704 yards and a team-best 14 TDs, averaging 5.9 YPC. The sophomore QB has completed only 51.0 percent of his throws for 1,569 yards with a 14/4 TD-INT ratio.
-- Chase Claypool has 28 receptions for 391 yards and two TDs, while Equanimeous St. Brown has 26 catches for 357 yards and three TDs. However, St. Brown is ‘questionable’ at Stanford due to a head injury. Stepherson has 16 grabs for 357 yards and four TDs.
-- Notre Dame is No. 19 in the nation in scoring (36.7 PPG), No. 6 in rushing yards and No. 25 in total offense. As for the defense, it is ranked 24th in points allowed (20.4 PPG).
-- Stanford (8-3 SU, 6-5 ATS) is 5-0 SU and 3-2 ATS at home this season. During David Shaw’s seven-year tenure, his teams are 39-6 SU at home. The Cardinal has been a home underdog only three times on Shaw’s watch, winning outright in each instance, including its 30-22 win over Washington two weeks ago. Going back even further to Stanford’s 2007 regular-season finale, the same season this program turned the corner under Jim Harbaugh and won at Southern Cal as a 41-point underdog, it has compiled an 8-0 spread record with seven outright victories in eight games as a home ‘dog.
-- If Washington beats Washington State as a 10.5-point home favorite in Saturday’s Apple Cub showdown in Seattle, Stanford will win the Pac-12 North and face USC in the league championship game next weekend.
-- Stanford is led by star RB Bryce Love, who isn’t 100 percent but is ‘probable’ due to a sprained ankle. Love sprained the ankle in mid-October and missed a 15-14 comeback win at Oregon State. He clearly wasn’t close to 100 percent in a 24-21 loss at Washington State when Love was held to 69 yards and one TD on 16 carries. In nine of his 10 games played this year, Love has rushed for at least 101 yards (his total in last week's win over Cal). He has rushed for at least 147 yards in eight contests this season, including a 301-yard effort in a 34-25 home win over Arizona State. For the year, Love is second in the nation in rushing yards (1,723). He has 16 rushing scores and an 8.8 YPC average.
-- Redshirt freshman QB K.J. Costello has become the starter in the second half of the year. He has connected on 61.4 percent of his passes for 1,018 yards with a 5/2 TD-INT ratio. Costello (5.9 YPC) has rushed for 100 yards and three TDs. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside has 37 receptions for 595 yards and five TDs.
-- Stanford might be without a couple of pieces on offense. TE Dalton Schultz, who has 17 catches for 181 yards and two TDs, is ‘questionable’ with an undisclosed injury along with freshman RB Connor Weddington. Weddington has rushed for 52 yards on only two attempts, in addition to making 25 receptions for 190 yards.
-- The ‘under’ is 7-4 overall for the Cardinal, 3-2 in its home games. Stanford’s games are averaging combined scores of 52.5 PPG.
-- The ‘over’ is 6-5 overall for the Irish, 2-2 in its four road assignments. The ‘under’ has cashed in back-to-back games and three of its last four. Notre Dame’s games have averaged combined scores of 57.1 PPG.
-- ABC will have the broadcast at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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