Clemson Tigers at Wake Forest Demon Deacons Betting Preview
For the first time ever, College Gameday will head to Wake Forest. The usual cast of characters will be in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, but the atmosphere will be much different as no fans will be allowed to be in attendance for the first true College Gameday of the season. That’s unfortunate since the No. 1 Clemson Tigers and Heisman favorite Trevor Lawrence will be in town to take on the Demon Deacons. This game is slated to kick-off on Saturday, September 12, at 7:30 p.m. ET with ABC on the broadcast.
College Football Betting Odds
Wake Forest +33.5
Wake Forest hasn’t defeated Clemson since a 12-7 victory in 2008, and the Tigers have blown the Demon Deacons out of the water by a combined score of 115-6 in their last two games. That’s why Clemson is a massive favorite per the CFB betting odds despite being on the road for this one.
Clemson Offense vs. Wake Forest Defense
The Tigers boast the most talented backfield in the country with Trevor Lawrence under center and Travis Etienne at running back. Lawrence is an absolute phenom that is currently a heavy odds-on favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. He has completed 67 percent of his passes for 5,778 yards with 58 touchdowns and 12 interceptions over his collegiate career, and he thrived at the tail end of last year. After throwing eight interceptions in his first seven games, he didn’t throw a single pick in his last eight starts.
Lawrence doesn’t have Tee Higgins anymore, but Clemson just reloads at receiver. Amari Rodgers is likely to be the new top target, but Cornell Powell and Joseph Ngata are going to see plenty of passes too. Talented freshmen E.J. Williams and Ajou Ajou could play a major role too, along with sophomore Frank Ladson Jr.
Travis Etienne is among the Heisman favorites too. Etienne is seen as the top running back in the country headed into the 2020 season after surpassing 2,000 total yards last year and finding the end zone 23 times. The senior running back is incredibly explosive, averaging 7.8 YPC last season, and he is a danger out of the backfield.
Good luck to any team trying to stop this offense. Wake Forest might have a better chance of slowing down the Tigers then most teams though, as they have a lot of players returning from last year. Carlos Basham Jr. proved he can get to the quarterback with 17 tackles for loss and 11 sacks last year, and the front seven has some solid players. Unfortunately, the Demon Deacons will be starting new cornerbacks though, and that is likely to be trouble against Lawrence.
Wake Forest Offense vs. Clemson Defense
Dave Clawson does an excellent job getting the most out of this team. Wake Forest has fewer recruiting advantages than any other team in the ACC, but he still piloted this program to an 8-5 record last year.
The Demon Deacons will need to find a new quarterback after Jamie Newman transferred in the offseason. Sam Hartman has a good bit of experience after starting for most of the 2018 campaign though, so it’s not quite the downgrade you might think at the position. Hartman isn’t near the mobile threat, but he was a decent passer.
Sage Surratt will see a lot of passes thrown his way after leading the team with 66 receptions for 1,001 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2019. However, there isn’t a lot of returning experience at the other skill positions, so it may take some time for Wake Forest’s offense to find its rhythm.
Clemson perennially has one of the best defenses in the nation under defensive coordinator Brent Venables. This unit is loaded with talent up front again as Tyler Davis and Justin Foster are potential All-Americans, and the two-deep is filled with blue chip recruits. They are unlikely to give up more than a handful of scores against Wake Forest with the talent on this side of the ball.
Lay the points because Clemson is going to roll here.