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As tough it’s going to be for Dabo Swinney’s Clemson Tigers to top what they did last season, it hasn’t stopped linemakers at online sportsbooks from tabbing the defending champs the odds-on favorites to once again pull off the feat in 2019-20. Winners of 15 games that included one of the most impressive beat downs of the Alabama Crimson Tide that anyone could’ve imagined in the title game, the Tigers have a shot at winning a third national championship in the last four seasons. On top of that, they’ll be gunning for a fifth straight ACC title after embarrassing Miami and PITT in the championship game the last two seasons. Currently sitting gargantuan 34-point favorites to defeat Georgia Tech the opening week of the season, get used to eating a ton of chalk when looking to back Heisman hopeful Trevor Lawrence and company!
With so many huge playmakers from last year’s dominant defense off to the NFL, the offense will need to make up for the early shortcomings by blitzing scoreboards every passing week. Clemson will at one point find itself on that side of the ball, but until it does Lawrence will be looked upon as the high grade oil allowing the engine to fire on all cylinders. It’s crazy to think the kid is only a sophomore after ripping opposing defenses for nearly 3,300 passing yards and an insane 30:4 TD/INT ratio. What he did to Notre Dame and Alabama in the College Football Playoff was impressive to say the least. He’s got some stellar targets to get the pigskin to in Justyn Ross and Tee Higgins along with what’s touted to be an elite freshman crop coming in. The rich get richer in the backfield with Travis Etienne – fresh off a 1600+ rushing and 26 combined TD campaign – back for his junior season along with sophomore Lyn-J Dixon; the Tigers just might possess the most explosive backfield in the country.
Now in his eighth season calling the shots for the defense in “Death Valley,” Brent Venables will have his hands full molding a new group of tacklers into the dominant unit overlooked last season. Wilkins, Ferrell and Bryant might go down in Clemson lore as three of the best defensive players to ever suit up for the program. Thankfully, linebacker Isaiah Simmons and safeties K’Von Wallace and Tanner Muse are back in the mix. A mixture of veteran and young excelled talent will comprise this year’s defense. Up the middle is of most concern, but the Tigers have recruited well in that area and a number of the new faces got a good amount of reps in during spring practice. While the unit won’t come anywhere close to matching last year’s No. 1 scoring defense, it’ll be more than good enough to keep the team in games while the offense routinely goes HAM.
Off a perfect season that produced an impressive 9-6 ATS record at top rated sportsbooks, the 2019-20 Clemson Tigers still have the look of a team fully capable of qualifying for the CFP a fifth straight time. The betting markets certainly look to hold that belief with their odds of making the four-team playoff checking in at a chalky -640. The ACC being down as a whole has plenty to do with that, but don’t for one minute dismiss Dabo’s team simply because of that. The offense is loaded with firepower across the board. While the defense will need some time to meld another dominant unit, the newcomers and depth built up through the years is oozing with talent. While another collision course with Alabama is likely to go down come January, the Tigers enter the season slight favorites to win it all. That speaks volumes for what the coaching staff has been able to do since arriving. Now all they need to do is go out and prove it as the hunted instead of the hunter.