Welcome to a limited, strangely peculiar 2020 CFB season. You know, because of all the limitations taking place when it comes to much less teams participating leading to fewer games on Saturdays in 2020 due to COVID-19, I originally debated if I should even participate in posting and sharing best bets. The schedules don’t even total up to a busy NBA or MLB night, and that alone increases the individual focus but diminishes the selection process giving the capper less choices. That makes the wagering process seem less reliable and resistant on alternatives, but I’m nonetheless going to give it a go despite the limitation and variety, in front of to boot fewer crowds and much less hype in the trenches.
(1) Clemson -34 over Wake Forest:
Where would we start but bring our attention to last season’s runners up in the national championship? The Tigers came up short in their quest for back to back championships losing to LSU 42-25, s Joe Burro proved to be too much for Trevor Lawrence throwing for 463 yards and 5 TD eventually leading to the # 1 NFL pick chosen by the Cincinnati Bengals. Clyde Edwards Helaire, whom we saw make his debut for the victorious Chiefs last night, rushed for 110 yards that night and JMarr Chase was the beneficiary of catching 9 passes for 221 yards and 2 scores. Chase is back for his junior season at LSU. Lawrence (18/37 234) saw his timing nowhere close to where it’s accustomed to be in the loss but also didn’t get much help from his receivers, who as a credit to the LSU secondary were blanketed man for man, and didn’t help themselves with key drops. Lawrence did run for a score but was sacked 3 times as all 3 scores came on the ground. Lawrence, now a junior, and company will look to earn revenge in 2020 as well as another undefeated season heading into the championship game, hoping for his second before the scouts determine where his pro destination will be in 2021. Clemson (14-1 9-0 2019) opens up the season heading north to Winston Salem to take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (8-5 4-4 2019).
Lawrence (268/407 3665 35 TD 8 INT) struggled early on into the middle part of last season, at one point despite his Tigers going undefeated throwing for just 8 TD and 5 INT through his first 3 games, which included scares from conference foes. However, he ended up one of the nation’s most efficient QB’s, complemented by making better decisions, demonstrating pinpoint accuracy and showing his resilience and versatility with his legs (103-563 5.5 9 TD) out of the pocket or calling his own number. Of course he also got by with big time help from his friends, namely Travis Etienne (207-1614 7.8 19 TD) whom Lawrence will once again have as a luxury in the backfield. One challenge this offense will face is losing star receiver Tae Higgins (59-1167 13 TD), whom Burrow will have the pleasure of throwing to this season in Cincinnati. The spotlight was also scheduled to shift the attention to to Justyn Ross (66-865 8 TD) who led Clemson in receptions last season and with a 6’4" frame is a stud when it comes to getting the edge off defending corners downfield. However, Ross will be sidelined for the season with “congenital fusion” in his spine. According to head coach Dabo Swinney, Ross will fly to Pittsburgh on Thursday and undergo surgery on Friday. Dr. David Okonkwo, a leading neuroscientist, will perform the surgery. Therefore, Amari Rodgers, who suffered a torn ACL last season will become the focal point of the Clemson receiving core and passing game. All told, the 5-foot-10, 210-pound pass-catcher brought in 30 catches for 426 yards and four touchdowns and added 151 yards on 18 punt returns, so you know he’s extremely versatile. Frank Ladson Jr will have to LAO pick up the slack combined with a good portion of the workload to fall on Etienne as a short set option. While the Demon Deacons, may be stout on the defensive front, their weakest link is in the secondary,allowing nearly 30 ppg in 2019, Lyle Hemphill enters his fourth season on the Wake Forest football staff after spending the previous six seasons at Stony Brook. Last season, the Deacs ranked in the top 20 nationally in third-down defense, fumbles recovered, interceptions and turnovers gained. Injuries wiped out key players in 2019, and this year’s biggest challenge will be to replace two cornerbacks. The Deacons return two solid linebackers in Ryan Smenda Jr. and Ja’Cquez Williams, but depth is a question mark. The same could be said at safety, with Coby Davis and Nasir Greer primed to be standouts,
Jamie Newman (220/361 2868 26 TD 11 TD) helped lead Wake to a torrid start last season before conference play soon thereafter reared its ugly head. He has since transferred to Georgia replacing the NFL bound Jake Frohm, who is now in Buffalo. This opens the door for Sam Hartman (55/97830 4 TD 2 INT). As a freshman, Hartman passed for 1,984 yards and 16 touchdowns with eight picks and a 55 percent completion rate. Newman’s departure hurts, but the Demon Deacons have the rare luxury of being deep at the quarterback position. Having the luxury of leading receiver in 2019 Sage Surrtt (66-1001 11 TD) was to give Hartman more familiarity and confidence in his second hurrah leading the way, however he announced that he will be opting out due to COVID 19 concerns. Scotty Washington (35-607 7 TD) turned pro last season with, you guessed it, Cincinnati, so WF is thin at the receiver position. Donavon Greene is the team’s top-producing wideout from last season after catching 13 passes for 249 yards and two scores in four games in 2019. Christian Beal-Smith and Kenneth Walker III are slated to fill the running back void left when battering ram and 2019 leading rusher Cade Carney (158-620 3.9 5 TD) graduated. Unlike Clemson, Wake Forest’s offensive line did not enjoy a particularly successful 2019. The Deacons lacked depth and productivity on the ground last season, and the outlook doesn’t look any brighter in '20. The departed Newmna accounted for nearly 600 yards and 5 scores last season, while Kenneth Walker III (98-579 5.9 4 TD) needed to shift to WR. While Clemson’s defensive line is young, they’re certainly talented led by the duo of Justin Foster and Myles Murphy. whom both have excellent size and strength, despite the lack of experience for the latter as a freshman. Replacing first-round draft picks A.J. Terrell and Isaiah Simmons won’t be easy. Mike Jones Jr and Andrew Booth Jr will get the opportunity first. Those two have to realize early that they just need to be who they are and trust their instincts. Clemson allowed less than 14 points per contest last season and early on the outlook is for them to shine even brighter with no threat to open up the schedule.
Wake has had some efficient offenses the last 2 seasons but managed just 3 points each of its last 2 seasons against Clemson. Additionally Wake has just 3 starters back on offense. Outscoring The Deacons 115-6 since 2018, Lawrence and Etienne will once again reign supreme for this Clemson offense. Lawrence will chew through the Demon Deacons secondary and start his quest towards winning a Heisman Trophy. There won’t be much of a home-field advantage with no fans being allowed at Saturday’s game at Truist Field. I really do not see where the points will come from for Wake, unless Clemson mistakes add up, which I do not anticipate given Dabo will have his troops ready for another carnage.
Best of luck however you play!
overall: 2010-19 126-92-5 .576
2019 14-13-2 .517 -.90