Clemson vs


at Jacksonville
Fri, Dec 29
9:00 AM Pacific
Rotation: 257
Odds: Kentucky +5, Total: 47.5

Game Analysis

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Lean – Kentucky (+5)  20   Clemson  21

Lean – Under (46.5)

Clemson will be without 4 defensive starters, as DT Orhorhoro, LB Trotter Jr. and CB Wiggins have opted out to prepare for the NFL draft while S Makuba has transferred. The Tigers were 1.4 yards per play better than average defensively in the regular season and I project them at 0.9 yppl better than average without the 4 defectors. Kentucky’s offense is much better running the ball (6.0 yprp against teams that would allow 4.9 yprp) than they are throwing it (-0.4 yppp) but they still choose to throw the ball 56% of the time. Clemson is only 0.7 yprp better than average against the run, and projected to be just 0.3 yprp better than average with current personnel, and they’ve been 2.4 yppp better than average defending the pass (1.7 yppp better than average with current personnel), yet I still think Kentucky will stick to throwing it more than running it, as they had just one game all season in which they ran the ball more than they threw it (when they averaged 9.1 yprp against Florida). Star RB Ray Davis has decided to turn pro but has indicated that he intends to play in the bowl game. I project 271 yards at 5.0 yppl with winds in the teens throughout the game.

Clemson once again had a worse than average offense, on a national scale, as the Tigers managed to gain just 5.2 yppl against teams that would allow 5.4 yppl to an average FBS attack. Number 2 receiver Beaux Collins has left the program, but he’s not that vital. Collins averaged 7.0 yards per target and the other 4 Clemson WRs that were in the rotation averaged 6.7 YPT. Kentucky’s defense is 0.6 yppl better than average and they should be intact, as the only NFL bound defender, CB Andru Phillips, has indicated that he intends to play in this game.

Clemson should control the ball for most of the game against a Kentucky defense that is designed to be bend-but-don’t-break. Kentucky allows a high percentage of completions (67%) while trying to avoid getting beat by big plays. Clemson’s pass attack is well-suited to beat a defense like that as long as they don’t turn it over, as the Tigers complete 63% of their passes for just 9.9 yards per completion. They’ll take the easy short throws all night long. Kentucky’s style of defense and inconsistent pass game is why the Wildcats were -11.4 in average plays differential this season – which should be worse in this game against a methodical Clemson offense and a defense that forces a lot of 3-and-outs. Clemson has a +11.8 average play differential. I project 349 yards at 4.8 yppl for the Tigers.

These teams should be pretty close in yards per play but Clemson should run a lot more plays from scrimmage and are less likely to turn the ball over. Kentucky does have better special teams (the FG kicking is 1.3 points better per game) and overall the math favors Clemson by 4.5 points and 40.7 total points.

While Clemson being favored by 5 points is pretty fair, the situation is strongly in favor of Kentucky. The Wildcats apply to a 75-14-1 ATS bowl situation while Clemson applies to a 12-59-1 ATS situation that is based on their late-season spread win streak. I’ll lean with Kentucky based on the situation.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Clemson
  • Kentucky


  • Run Plays 38.1 28.2
  • Run Yards 190.8 138.0
  • YPRP 5.0 4.9


  • Pass Comp 21.6 17.1
  • Pass Att 34.9 32.3
  • Comp % 61.7% 53.0%
  • Pass Yards 210.9 167.5
  • Sacks 1.8 2.6
  • Sack Yards 12.9 15.6
  • Sack % 5.0% 7.3%
  • Pass Plays 36.7 34.8
  • Net Pass Yards 198.0 151.9
  • YPPP 5.4 4.4


  • Total Plays 74.8 63.0
  • Total Yards 388.8 289.9
  • YPPL 5.2 4.6


  • Int 0.6 1.2
  • Int % 1.8% 3.7%
  • Fumbles 1.1 0.9
  • Turnovers 1.7 2.1
  • Points 29.2 19.9
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