ACC championship betting preview: Virginia's defense in vulnerable spot
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The Clemson Tigers aim to stay undefeated Saturday when they meet the Virginia Cavaliers for the ACC title in what's expected to be the most lopsided game of the weekend. Here's everything you need to know about the conference tilt from a betting perspective.

Line movement

Clemson-Virginia is the epitome of why we're thankful there's a point spread. The Tigers opened as 28-point favorites and the line continues to climb, already up to -28.5 and -29 in the market on the eve of the game. It'll be the 11th straight contest in which the Tigers are laying 20 or more points, yet they're hardly fade material - Clemson went 9-3 against the spread during the regular season and has covered six of its last seven games.

With the total jacked up from an opener of 53 to 57, it'll be the second-highest total for a Virginia game this year. But we're starting to see some higher numbers involving the Cavaliers, mainly because ...

Betting trends

Virginia's defense has been exposed without star cornerback Bryce Hall, who went down with an injury in mid-October. The Cavaliers are allowing 399.3 yards and 26.3 points per game in his absence, while they surrendered just 273.7 yards and 20.6 points per contest in the six games with him available.

SP+ is still moderately optimistic, giving the Cavs the No. 36 ranking in the country. But this unit had the potential to be in the top 20 with a healthy secondary, and injuries to both Hall and safety Brenton Nelson put Virginia in a vulnerable spot. Now the defense gets a Clemson offense that's No. 4 in the country in total yards per game and averages a respectable 12.6 yards per completion. The Tigers can probably name the score.


Virginia quarterback Bryce Perkins has been feast or famine this year. The dual-threat talent has a couple of games on this season's ledger with close to 500 yards of total offense ... and a couple more on the cusp of 250. Perkins won't have enough to win the game outright, but if you're looking for a backdoor cover or another touchdown to get this one over the total, he can bust out an 80-yard run up the middle on any given snap.


Clemson team total over 42.5

Doesn't it feel like the Tigers are being slept on a bit? While LSU and Ohio State duke it out for the No. 1 spot and attract all the public attention, Clemson hasn't skipped a beat. The offense has scored at least 45 points in six of its last seven games. The lone exception was last weekend against South Carolina, which ranks No. 29 in SP+ defense. Clemson only scored 38 points, on the road, in a rivalry game.

The Tigers are out for blood, and style points, in fact, matter, despite Clemson being a lock for the College Football Playoff. I think this is a bloodbath Saturday, starting and finishing with the Tigers lighting up the scoreboard.

Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 12 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AJKoIodziej.

ACC championship betting preview: Virginia's defense in vulnerable spot
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