Clemson vs Syracuse Odds, Picks, and Predictions: A Defensive Battle in the ACC

An underwhelming Clemson Tigers team is favored on the road against an undefeated Syracuse Orange squad. The home team could come away with an upset, but our betting picks are more laser-focused on the total in what looks like a defensive battle.

Last Updated: Sep 30, 2023 9:08 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Garrett Shrader Syracuse Orange College Football NCAA
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The Syracuse Orange will look to remain undefeated on Saturday when they play host to the Clemson Tigers in an ACC matchup on Saturday afternoon.

Syracuse has been shutting teams down with a stifling defense this year, but nonetheless, college football odds have Clemson positioned as the favorite despite some early struggles.

The Orange and the Tigers rivalry has continued to grow over the last few years, even if the head-to-head record is lopsided in Clemson’s favor. We’ll talk about what we can learn from those previous matchups in our free college football picks and predictions for Clemson vs. Syracuse on September 30.

Clemson vs Syracuse best odds

Clemson vs Syracuse picks and predictions

Syracuse hasn’t made the nation into believers just yet — the school is only getting limited support in the Top-25 polls despite easily winning each of its first four games — but there’s no doubt the Orange have made an impression on the defensive end. Syracuse is allowing just 10.8 points per game, good for seventh-best in the nation.

That makes for an interesting matchup against a Clemson Tigers team that has struggled to score against the better teams on its schedule this year. Sure, the Tigers put up huge numbers against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers and the Florida Atlantic Owls, but this is still the team that only managed seven points against a strong Duke Blue Devils defense. The Tigers are also coming off a 31-24 loss to the Florida State Seminoles, a team better known for its offensive prowess than its shutdown defense.

Clemson won’t be surprised by the Orange on Saturday. The Tigers have won five straight against Syracuse, but three of those games were decided by just one score, including each of the last two meetings. And in what has become a fiercely contested matchup every year, these teams have hit the Under in six of their last seven meetings.

Clemson has allowed even weaker opponents to score at least some points against them, but they don’t exactly have a porous defense this year. The Tigers held Florida State to just 24 regulation points before losing in overtime, for instance. 

Syracuse is also coming into this game without its top offensive weapon. Tight end Oronde Gadsden II was the Orange's best target before going down for the year with an injury suffered against the Western Michigan Broncos earlier this season. Syracuse has scored at least 29 points in every game so far this year, but Clemson’s talent may be enough to keep the Orange in check, at least to a reasonable degree.

When we look at this matchup, it’s hard to be optimistic about either team lighting up the scoreboard. The Syracuse defense is legitimate, and Clemson has yet to put together an outstanding offensive performance this year. The Orange haven’t played a team on Clemson’s level in 2023, making their production a question mark as well. 

Despite these factors, most books have the total set at 53 points, with some still sticking at 53.5. At either of those numbers, the Under is the clear play in a game that should be played in the 20s (or lower) on both sides.

My best bet: Under 53.5 (-115 at FanDuel)
Picks made at time of writing may not reflect live odds.

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Clemson vs Syracuse same-game parlay

Under 53.5

Syracuse moneyline

I’m picking a simple, straightforward same-game parlay for Saturday’s matchup. We’ll start by taking the Under, as I just can’t see these two teams combining for a boatload of points in this one. 

I’m then going to parlay that with a pick on Syracuse to win outright. While the Orange are the underdogs here, it’s hard to have much confidence in Clemson beating a solid team after what we’ve seen so far this year, particularly on the road. Syracuse has proven enough on both sides of the ball to believe they certainly have a chance in this game.

The best part about this SGP is that a low-scoring game is likely the kind of matchup Syracuse would win on Saturday. Getting more than +400 on a natural combination makes this a great way to target this game.

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Clemson vs Syracuse spread and Over/Under analysis

Clemson opened Saturday’s game as a 6.5-point favorite. That number has bounced around a bit at various sites, but Clemson -6.5 seems to have ultimately settled as the consensus spread. There are a few books offering Syracuse as a slight underdog on that line, so you can get -105 on the Orange if you shop around.

Syracuse has put up a 3-0-1 record against the spread this year, only pushing last week against the Army Black Knights. Clemson is just 1-3 ATS in 2023. 

I took Syracuse on the moneyline in my SGP pick above, but I don’t think the Orange are a smart play on the spread. That line of 6.5 points is scary, as this could easily be a touchdown game. I’d rather get value on the moneyline on what I think is a very winnable game for Syracuse than take the standard -110 or -105 and not even get a touchdown.

The Over/Under for this game opened at 52.5 points. It has moved up slightly since then, with most books settling at 53 points, and some sites adding a hook and going to 53.5. You can find approximately equal action on either side of these numbers, though you may have to take -115 on the Under to get 53.5. 

Clemson has gone 2-2 on both sides of the total so far this season. Meanwhile, the Under is 3-1 for Syracuse and has hit in each of the Orange’s last three games.

I think both the specific matchup and the strong historical data we have between these schools suggest we won’t see a ton of points. The Syracuse defense won’t let this game get out of control, but I also can’t see the Orange scoring as many points against a solid Clemson defense as they have against weaker opponents. I’m backing the Under as my best bet.

Clemson vs Syracuse betting trend to know

The Under is 6-1 in the last seven matchups between Clemson and Syracuse. Find more college football betting trends for Clemson vs. Syracuse.

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Clemson vs Syracuse game info

Location: JMA Wireless Dome, Syracuse, NY
Date: Saturday, September 30, 2023
Kickoff: 12:00 p.m. ET

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