No. 3 Clemson and No. 22 Virginia meet in the ACC championship game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte on Saturday. The game will be televised at 7:30 p.m. on ABC.
The Tigers (12-0) are trying to cap a fifth straight ACC title run that would continue with a fifth straight College Football Playoff appearance. Clemson has won 27 straight games, leads the nation in scoring defense (10.1) and ranks fourth in scoring offense (45.2), and Dabo Swinney is still playing the disrespect card.
The Cavaliers (9-3) became the seventh different ACC Coastal team to win the division with a clutch victory against Virginia Tech in Week 14. Bronco Mendenhall is a coach of the year candidate, and quarterback Bryce Perkins leads an offense that averages 33.7 points per game.
The Tigers and Cavaliers have a lot on the line. Here’s everything to know about betting on Clemson vs. Virginia, including updated odds, trends and our prediction for the 2019 ACC championship game.
MORE: Get the latest NCAA odds & betting advice at Sports Insider
Clemson vs. Virginia odds for ACC championship game
Spread: Clemson -28
Point total: 54.5
Moneyline: Clemson -110, Virginia-110
Clemson is a 28-point favorite, according to Sports Insider.
Clemson vs. Virginia all-time series
The Tigers lead the all-time series 38-8-1, winning the last meeting 59-10 in 2013. The teams are 1-1 against each other when meeting as ranked opponents, but those two games occurred in 1990 and ’92.
Three trends to know
— Since the 21-20 victory against North Carolina on Sept. 28, Clemson is 6-0 against the spread against Power 5 teams. The Tigers won those six games by an average of 41.2 points per game.
— Clemson has won the last four ACC championship games by an average of 20.5 points per game.
— Virginia is 9-20 straight up as an underdog under Bronco Mendenhall, but the Cavaliers are 14-14-1 against the spread in that situation.
MORE: A complete guide to conference championship weekend
Three things to watch
Virginia’s pass defense
The Cavaliers allow just 213.3 passing yards per game, but they haven’t faced a quarterback like Trevor Lawrence this season. Lawrence had 16 touchdowns and no interceptions in the Tigers’ last five games, averaged 39.2 rushing yards per contest. Expect Lawrence to scramble a few times early to loosen up Virginia’s run defense.
Clemson limits quarterbacks to a 48.3 completion percentage this season. Perkins will have to be much better than that. He has hit 64.2 percent of his passes this season, but he was a high-volume passer in losses to Notre Dame, Miami and Louisville: He hit 79 of 126 (62.7) passes for three touchdowns and three interceptions. It’s a good bet Perkins must throw more than 40 times in this game, but that might not be a good thing.
Travis Etienne’s big plays
Etienne had 12 carries for 156 yards and two touchdowns in last year’s ACC championship game, and he has scored 40 touchdowns in just 372 carries the last two seasons. There isn’t a more efficient big-play back in the country, and it’s those chunk touchdown runs that can serve as the turning point in games like this. Virginia must do what they can to limit the big plays in the running game.
MORE: Picks against the spread for every conference championship game
Stat that matters
The Tigers have allowed just 138 first downs this season, the fewest in the FBS (Utah ranks second with 167). Virginia can’t get in a track meet with the Tigers. Perkins needs to lead a few long scoring drives, especially in the first half, but that means sustaining drives against a defense that has allowed more than 14 points in a single game just once this season.
Clemson vs. Virginia prediction
Virginia strikes first on a Perkins touchdown pass, but once the early emotion wears off the Tigers will take control. Lawrence will throw three more touchdowns, and Clemson will make a case for the No. 1 seed depending on who else loses on conference championship weekend. It’s 28 and counting heading to the College Football Playoff.
Clemson 41, Virginia 17
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