Last Updated Dec 28, 2021, 7:00 PM

Cheez-It Bowl Picks, Predictions and Odds: Clemson vs. Iowa State

Dec. 29, 2021
Jonathan Willis
VI Betting Expert

The Clemson Tigers will face the Iowa State Cyclones in this year's Cheez-It Bowl. The opening kick is scheduled for 5:45 p.m. ET and will air on ESPN from Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida.

Score Prediction

Clemson 17, Iowa State 14

Best Bets

Under 44.5 (-110) at Atlantis

Cheez-It Bowl Predictions

Clemson was one of the worst ATS teams in the nation this season. The Tigers failed to cover the number in each of their first seven games, and they were unable to score more than 21 points against any FBS foe until Halloween. However, they still managed to go 9-3 thanks to an incredible defense, and they can win at least 10 games for the 11th straight season with a victory over the Iowa State Cyclones in the Cheez-It Bowl.

This game has one of the lowest totals of bowl season, but it’s not low enough. Iowa State will have a very tough time moving the ball on a great Clemson defense, especially with Breece Hall skipping the bowl game to enter the NFL Draft. The Cyclones have three First Team All-Big 12 defenders that can stymie the Tigers on offense, making the under the best bet here.

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Cheez-It Bowl Betting Resources

  • Matchup: ACC vs. Big 12
  • Date: Wednesday, December 29, 2021
  • Venue: Camping World Stadium
  • Location: Orlando, Florida
  • TV-Time: ESPN, 5:45 p.m. ET

Clemson Tigers Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 9-3
  • ATS: 4-8
  • O/U: 5-7

D.J. Uiagalelei turned a lot of heads by lighting up Notre Dame in place of Trevor Lawrence last season, and almost everyone thought Clemson’s offense was in good hands. However, Uiagalelei failed to take the next step and really struggled throughout this year. He completed less than 55% of his passes and averaged 6.0 YPA with nine touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Top receiver Justyn Ross opted to get foot surgery in mid-November, and he has left the program in order to prepare for the NFL Draft. Second leading receiver Joseph Ngata hasn’t played since early November because of a foot injury, but he is at least practicing with the team.

That will likely lead to Clemson keeping the ball on the ground. The Tigers had success running the ball with Will Shipley over the latter half of the season. In his final five games, Shipley ran the ball for 467 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 5.4 YPC.

Clemson’s defense ranks third in Defensive SP+. The Tigers allow just 4.3 yards per play, checking in at fifth in the country in that category. Four players were named First Team All-ACC on this side of the ball including Tyler Davis, James Skalski, Mario Goodrich, and Andrew Booth Jr. However, the loss of defensive coordinator Brent Venables certainly hurts this unit.

Iowa State Cyclones Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 7-5
  • ATS: 5-7
  • O/U: 6-6

Hall leaves Iowa State as the second-leading rusher in program history. Hall ran for 20 touchdowns in back-to-back years, so his absence leaves a giant hole for the Cyclones. Jirehl Brock is the top running back now, but he has carried the ball just 45 times in his three years in Ames.

The Cyclones are going to have to turn to Brock Purdy to move the ball through the air against these elite corners. Purdy was solid again in 2021, but he hasn’t improved as expected over the course of his career despite the presence of two all-conference receiving threats.

Xavier Hutchinson was the leading receiver on Iowa State with 82 receptions for 953 yards and five touchdowns. Tight end Charlie Kolar might be the top target on Wednesday though. Kolar had 30 receptions for 365 yards and three touchdowns in November.

Defensive ends Will McDonald IV and Eyioma Uwazurike were both First Team All-Big 12 after recording a combined 20 sacks. Mike Rose was one of the best linebackers in the conference too as Iowa State ranked eighth nationally in total defense.

Inside the Stats - Clemson Tigers

  • Record: 9-3
  • VI Ranking: 22
  • Points Scored: 322
  • Points Allowed: 180
  • PS/G: 26.8 (80th)
  • PA/G: 15 (2nd)

Inside the Stats - Iowa State Cyclones

  • Record: 7-5
  • VI Ranking: 41
  • Points Scored: 394
  • Points Allowed: 247
  • PS/G: 32.8 (35th)
  • PA/G: 20.6 (21st)

Key Players to Watch

  • CLEM: Will Shipley - RB (131 carries, 678 yards, 10 TD)
  • CLEM: D.J. Uiagalelei - QB (187/342, 2,059 yards, 13 Total TDs, 8 INT)
  • IWST: Brock Purdy - QB (269/368, 2,984 yards, 18 TD, 7 INT)
  • IWST: Charlie Kolar - WR (58 catches, 723 yards, 5 TD)

Cheez-It Bowl Betting Conclusion

The under is a great play in the Cheez-It Bowl. We shouldn’t see a lot of points or yards, as these defenses set the tone. Clemson has more talent, so that is the choice for the side in a game that is a virtual pick ‘em.

Cheez-It Bowl Betting Trends

  • Iowa State has failed to cover the spread in four of its last six games away from home.
  • Clemson has covered the spread in two straight games.
  • Clemson has covered the spread in eight straight games when playing in December.
  • Iowa State has gone UNDER the point total in six straight games when facing an AP-ranked school.

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