North Carolina vs. Clemson kicks off this Saturday (11/18/23) at 3:30pm EST in Clemson South Carolina as a home game for the Tigers. Get North Carolina vs. Clemson predictions and best bets below as our best bet is on North Carolina +7 as this game should be tighter than the spread implies.
North Carolina Vs. Clemson Prediction
While the North Carolina and Duke rivalry is known for their battles on the basketball court, the football teams gave a performance to remember as UNC squeaked out the win in double overtime. Impressive on Duke’s end for keeping it close with an injury riddled offense and another lackluster performance on UNC’s end as they once again had to rely solely on their offense.
Lucky for the Tar Heels they get another anemic offense on deck as they hit the road to face the Clemson Tigers. Cade Klubnik has grossly underperformed per his preseason expectations, failing to stretch the field as a shaky downfield passer and has had to rely on short throws for minimal gains. Their passing metrics echo this sentiment as Clemson ranks 46th in Pass Success Rate, yet a lowly 93rd in Pass PPA and 132nd in Pass Explosiveness.
That bodes well for an improved UNC secondary who has backed their success on limiting the short gain while being prone to getting thrown over the top of. UNC’s back end currently ranks 54th in Def Pass Success Rate and 88th in Def Pass Explosiveness. With Klubnik serving as no threat to exploiting their lack of big gain defense, UNC can cheat up in coverage in an attempt to limit mid field pass success. This will force Clemson into having to convert longer distances on later downs, a feat that is not sustainable for this anemic offense.
Better yet for the Tar Heels defense is that Clemson mightily struggles at punching in the ball for six. When inside the red zone, Clemson’s offense sputters as opposing defenses stretch out in the shortened field. The Tigers currently rank 90th in Points per Opportunity, potentially struggling once again against a UNC defense that ranks 19th on the other end. As if scoring touchdowns was already tough enough for Clemson, they will be prone to disruptions and potential turnovers as they rank 100th in Havoc Allowed.
Converting Clemson’s turnover worthy plays into actual turnovers will create a massive swing for UNC’s chances to cover the key number of +7, giving their offense extra opportunities to crack this elite defense. Drake Maye and company are certainly capable of doing so, clocking in at 13th in Success Rate. Maye’s ability to cut the distance to gain in half on early downs with his arm will be vital towards their success against a Clemson defense that is elite in that regard, playing as one of the better pure passers in the nation and more than able to pick them apart.
North Carolina Vs. Clemson Prediction: North Carolina +7
North Carolina Vs. Clemson Best Odds
Even amidst Clemson’s struggles as a once elite unit, oddsmakers still have this as their game to lose as they opened as a -6.5 favorite. That is a sharp decrease from the lookahead line, originally opening at -11.5. Since opening at -6.5, bettors have steadily backed the Tigers up to the key number of -7 while some books still remain under the key number of seven.
As for the total, oddsmakers believe points will be scored at a quick pace as they opened the number at 58.5. Bettors have yet to take a firm stand on either side of the number, keeping the total the same as of writing. The under immediately brings intrigue as UNC’s offense faces a tough defensive test while Klubnik and company continue to rely on clock draining long drives.
North Carolina Vs. Clemson Key Matchups
Can Omarion Hampton find rush success against an elite Clemson front seven?
Omarion Hampton Vs. Clemson Front Seven
While Drake Maye dominates the headlines in terms of their offensive success, star running back Omarion Hampton has been just as vital for their success as this point of the season. He has currently run for an astonishing 1,236 yards and 13 touchdowns while averaging six yards per carry.
— Reel Analytics (@RAanalytics) November 6, 2023
All of his production will need to be called upon as Clemson has been a phenomenal run stopping unit by ranking seventh in Def Rush Success Rate. Limiting the big gain has been an issue for the Tigers, and they may be prone to getting burned again as their linebacking unit stretches out in coverage against Maye and his passing prowess.