Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs. Clemson Tigers Prediction & Game Preview -- 11/20/2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: Noon ET
Venue: Memorial Stadium, Clemson, SC
Where to watch: ESPN

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Clemson -4.5
BetMGM: Clemson -4.5 
Caesars: Clemson -4.5

Season record
No. 10 Wake Forest: 9-1 (6-0 ACC)
Clemson: 7-3 (5-2 ACC)

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Wake Forest - Clemson preview and analysis


Last week
Wake Forest: won 45-42 vs. NC State
Clemson: won 44-7 vs. UConn

Talk about a reversal of fortunes.

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons are in line for a spot in the ACC Championship game for the first time in 15 years, while their counterparts this weekend have taken a backseat as of late.

But the Clemson Tigers are trying to play spoiler and give themselves a chance to play in yet another ACC title game should they defeat the No. 13 Demon Deacons in Death Valley on Saturday.

Clemson would need a win and Wake Forest needs to lose out to the Tigers and Boston College Eagles in order to play for a spot in a New Year’s Six game.

The Tigers are coming off a 44-7 victory against the Connecticut Huskies, perhaps one of the biggest clash of programs we’ve seen in quite sometime. We’re talking about a national championship-winning program manhandling one of the worst college programs in the country. Nothing surprising there.

Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei, who has been one of the bigger disappointments in college football this season, threw for 241 yards on 21 of 44 and throw a touchdown and interception. But while the continued revelation that Uiagalelei is not Trevor Lawrence or Deshaun Watson remains a possibility, Clemson’s defense had a solid outing against UConn. They recorded six sacks and held UConn to just 99 total yards.

The lone touchdown for the Huskies? Opening the game with a kickoff return for a touchdown.

Clemson’s biggest strength has come alive over the past few games. The Tigers’ pass rush has generated 15 sacks over the past three games after only recording 17 in the first seven games.

They’re going to need that pass rush to come alive on Senior Day if it wants to pull off the upset on coach Dabo Swinney’s 52nd birthday. Normally it would be Clemson fighting for a College Football Playoff spot by this time of the year, but now it’s Wake Forest coming in with conference title hopes and a New Year’s Six Bowl up for grabs.

The surprising Demon Deacons are coming off a 45-42 victory against the North Carolina State Wolfpack, a much-needed rebound victory after losing by three to the North Carolina Tar Heels.

An idea for how big of a gap this is in terms of talent, this will be the 87th meeting all-time between Clemson and Wake Forest. The record is 68-17-1 in favor of Clemson. But if you’ve ever thought of a time where Wake Forest could buck the trend, it might be this season with the second-ranked scoring offense in the country and one of the best units overall in the country.

Quarterback Sam Hartman continued his Heisman candidacy with 290 yards and three touchdowns, but despite throwing three interceptions the Deacons find themselves one win from winning the ACC Atlantic and surpassing their opponent Saturday which had won the last six conference titles by getting through the Atlantic.

Hartman broke the single-season record with 30 touchdown passes through 10 games and threw for at least 300 yards in five straight games before last week. It helps to have star receivers like Jaquarii Roberson and  A.T. Perry catching the ball.

The problem for Wake Forest is defense. It’s a group that gives up 29.1 points per game and is the biggest reason why they lost to North Carolina and had its undefeated season come to an end. Wake Forest’s defense has given up at least 35 points in five of the last six games and has given up at least 55 twice.

Not good odds for a Wake Forest team that hasn’t defeated Clemson since October 2008.

Prediction


But at least that’s going to change this week. I can’t in good conscience say Clemson is actually going to rise to the occasion when they’ve failed on more than one occasion this season. You always want to root for the fun story and Wake Forest is that this season. Wake Forest by 10

Betting trends


Wake Forest is 5-4 ATS this season and 16-14 over the past three.

Wake Forest is 5-1 ATS in its last six following a game where the total eclipsed 80.

Clemson is 2-8 ATS this season and is 1-7 ATS when playing on grass.

Statistical leaders


Wake Forest:
Passing: Sam Hartman -- 3,163 yards, 30 TD, 8 INT
Rushing: Christian Beal-Smith -- 533 yards, 7 TD
Receiving: A.T. Perry -- 918 yards, 11 TD

Clemson:
Passing: D.J. Uiagalelei -- 1,752 yards, 8 TD, 7 INT
Rushing: Will Shipley -- 438 yards, 7 TD
Receiving: Justyn Ross -- 514 yards, 3 TD

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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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