Tennessee Volunteers vs. Clemson Tigers: Orange Bowl Prediction, Preview, Picks & Odds - 12/30/2022

by Chuck Sommers

Orange Bowl

Time: 8 p.m. ET
Venue: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL
Where to watch: ESPN

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: Clemson -5; Clemson -210, Tennessee +180; O/U 63.5
FanDuel: Clemson -5.5; Clemson -215, Tennessee +176; O/U 63.5
BetMGM: Clemson -5.5; Clemson -210, Tennessee +170; O/U 63.5
Caesars: Clemson -4.5; Clemson -204, Tennessee +180; O/U 63.5

Season record
No. 6 Tennessee: 10-2
No. 7 Clemson: 11-2

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Tennessee - Clemson preview, analysis and prediction

Tennessee analysis
If this was any other matchup at any other time, the Tennessee volunteers would likely not be playing in the Orange Bowl right now. Not that there is anything wrong with the Orange Bowl especially in today's climate. But this is absolutely a bittersweet cap to what was a rather historic season for Tennessee considering everything that happened. Tennessee was riding high add 8-0 and looking very promising to get to the College Football Playoff. But then Tennessee lost to Georgia and then we slowly realized that may be Tennessee is not on the same level as Georgia. Had Tennessee ran the table against Missouri, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt, we might be looking at Tennessee in the College Football Playoff as we speak. but not only did Tennessee lose by 25 points to South Carolina, they also lost quarterback Hendon Hooker for the remainder of the season. if not for the play of the Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback, Tennessee would not have been in this position to be as close as they were to winning at all. But it will be quarterback Joe Milton III that gets the call for this one. Milton threw for 147 yards and a touchdown in the 56-0 victory over Vanderbilt last time out. He might be the backup, but Milton will still have Jalin Hyatt to throw the ball to and still has a pretty good running game to build out his overall composure. Tennessee went 6-2 against the spread in its last eight with the only losses to Georgia and South Carolina, the two outright losses. Other than that, Tennessee has been fairly reliable against the spread this season at 9-3 overall.
Clemson analysis
Somebody could make a tweet with that handshake emoji in the middle and put Clemson and Tennessee together and the common goal being both losing to South Carolina. Shout out to South Carolina for taking care of business. But the Clemson Tigers had about as awful a finish to the year as one could expect under coach Dabo Swinney. Sure, Clemson won the ACC championship and returned to prominent glory atop the conference. That conference was wide open for the taking anyway and no one was going to fully step up and take it given how awful the end of the season was for the ACC. But it took that long for Clemson to finally say that DJ Uiagalelei Is not the answer at quarterback. It took this long for Swinney to realize that Cade Klubnik was going to be the guy. The former top recruit is now with Oregon State after a tumultuous end at Clemson. But Klubnik Is very much the quarterback of the future and he's shown that in the conference title game by completing 20 of 24 passes for 279 yards and a touchdown while also running for 30 yards and another score. Not since the days of deshaun Watson has Clemson had that kind of quarterback play in a high profile game period again all it took was realizing that he was not going to be the quarterback that many perceived him to be. Clemson was only 7-6 against the spread this season with six of those winds coming in the last nine. But Clemson did split its last six by going 3-3 against the spread with the most recent being that 31-30 lost to South Carolina on November 26th.
As it pertains to a game like this with questions at quarterback across the board, I feel like the best instance is to go with the one that has the more firepower and playmaking ability when called upon. In this case, I am not sure if Clemson has enough in the tank to be considered big time at the moment. Tennessee has a decent backup quarterback with one of the top receivers in the country. That I think balances out. Tennessee 27, Clemson 21

Betting trends

Tennessee is 54-30 ATS on the road after a game where they forced 1 turnover or less since 1992.

Tennessee is 24-9 ATS on the road after 2 straight games of forcing 1 turnover or less since 1992.

Clemson is 25-12 ATS on the road after a blowout win by 21 points against a conference opponent since 1992.

Statistical leaders

Passing: Hendon Hooker – 3,135 yards, 27 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Jaylen Wright – 786 yards, 10 TD
Receiving: Jalin Hyatt – 1,267 yards, 15 TD

Passing: D.J. Uiagalelei – 2,521 yards, 22 TD, 7 INT
Rushing: Will Shipley – 1,110 yards, 15 TD
Receiving: Antonio Williams – 563 yards, 4 TD

Don't miss our champion handicappers' free picks and expert football picks today. And if you enjoyed this Tennessee - Clemson prediction, be sure to drop by every day for our daily college football projections and previews.

Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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