In the current Dabo Swinney era, a 9-3 season is seen as a massive disappointment. Still, it was always going to be difficult for the team to adjust to the losses of Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne, their leaders last season. Clemson has a chance to end its season on a positive note by getting to ten wins, and it sounds like the team is fired up for this game. Meanwhile, Iowa State had a decent season at 7-5, but they were just 5-4 in the Big 12 and lost two of their final three games. Senior quarterback Brock Purdy will be hoping to use this game to boost his stock ahead of the 2022 NFL draft. Formerly the Camping World Bowl, among many other names, the Cheez-It Bowl was exciting last season as Oklahoma State defeated Miami 37-34. Don’t expect the same kind of fireworks in this contest, but we should be in for a competitive game between two solid programs.
Clemson Tigers vs. Iowa State Cyclones Betting Odds
Clemson Tigers Betting Odds
D.J. Uiagalelei certainly had big shoes to fill in South Carolina as the sophomore took over for Trevor Lawrence, the #1 overall pick in the NFL draft. However, Clemson supporters were rightfully disappointed by Uiagalelei as he threw for just nine touchdowns and eight interceptions while completing just 54.7% of his passes. Uiagaeleli’s struggles defined the Clemson offense as they scored just 26.8 points per game, ranking 80th in the country. Clemson didn’t have a running back or receiver who surpassed 800 scrimmage yards, much less have a 1,000-yard rusher or receiver. Will Shipley, the freshman running back who was a highly-touted recruit, was the leading skill position player with 741 yards from scrimmage and ten touchdowns in nine games.
While Clemson’s offense struggled for most of the season, its defense picked up the slack and was one of the best in the country. Defensive coordinator Brent Venables is heading to Oklahoma to be the team’s new head coach, but the talent is in place to maintain the team’s strong defensive play. Clemson ranked second in the country as they allowed just 15 points per game, and they had four First-Team All-ACC defensive players. That included cornerback Andrew Booth Jr., a projected first-round pick, who did not opt-out of this game and expressed his commitment to the program. Dabo Swinney has built a program of players who are “all-in,” and that mentality should serve them well in this bowl game.
Iowa State Cyclones Betting Odds
While Clemson has its “all-in” mentality, Iowa State will be without its best player in running back Breece Hall. The All-Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, Hall led the team with over 1,500 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns. Hall is also Iowa State’s all-time leading rusher, and he’s expected to be the top running back selected in the NFL draft. His decision to opt-out will significantly impact the Cyclones’ offensive production. Without Hall in the lineup, the onus will be on senior quarterback Brock Purdy to pick up the slack in his final collegiate game. Purdy will be up against an elite Clemson pass defense, but he’ll have the help of First-Team All-Big 12 receiver Xavier Hutchinson who had 82 receptions for 853 yards and five touchdowns this season.
Iowa State’s defense isn’t quite as good as Clemson’s elite unit, but it was the 21st-best scoring defense as the Cyclones allowed just 20.6 points per game. Senior safety Greg Eisworth II led the team with another strong season, while Eyioma Uwazurike has earned some draft buzz with his 8.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss. Will McDonald led the team with 11.5 sacks. In his sixth season as defensive coordinator, Jon Heacock has done an excellent job with the Iowa State defense, and the Cyclones will not have many problems slowing down a weak Tigers’ offense.
Clemson Tigers Vs. Iowa State Cyclones Picks & Prediction
Given the defensive quality for both of these teams and the relative lack of offensive success, you likely will immediately jump to the under as the best bet available. However, I have concerns about betting on such low points total in a bowl game. My favorite bet will likely be Clemson against the spread as I expect Iowa State to struggle to score without Breece Hall, and I believe the Tigers can do enough to control time of possession. You can also jump to a six-point teaser with Clemson +3.5 and under 50 points at -120, and that gives you plenty of cover on both sides.
My Prediction: Clemson wins 23-17, Clemson covers, under 44 points