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Iowa State vs Clemson Cheez-It Bowl Picks & Betting Predictions

David Caraviello for Bookies.com

David Caraviello  | 5 mins

Iowa State vs Clemson Cheez-It Bowl Picks & Betting Predictions

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Two programs that opened the season ranked in the top 10 and carrying hopes of College Football Playoff berths will instead meet in a game named after a snack cracker - and yet, still offers one of the tastier matchups of bowl season for those making college football picks.

That would be Clemson against Iowa State in the Dec. 29 Cheez-It Bowl, set for Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. The Tigers surged to 9-3 after winning their last five games, while the Cyclones sunk to 7-5 after dropping two of their last three. Yet Iowa State remains a slight favorite, likely because Clemson lost both its coordinators to head coaching jobs, with DC Brent Venables headed to Oklahoma and OC Tony Elliott to Virginia.

But the Tigers, trying to finish with double-digit victories for the 11th straight season, have capable replacements in-house for the bowl game. And both programs have enough individual talent to make the matchup appealing for those in college football betting.

Odds subject to change.

Clemson vs Iowa State Key Matchups

Clemson’s defense vs. Brock Purdy: Talk about irresistible force against immovable object - Purdy, Iowa State’s dual-threat quarterback, leads the Big 12 with 3,200 yards of offense, while the Tigers’ defense ranks ninth nationally in yards allowed.

Will Shipley vs. Iowa State’s front seven: The emergence of the freshman tailback Shipley, the sixth-leading rusher in the ACC, helped Clemson find itself offensively. Now he faces the No. 3 rush defense in the Big 12.

Breece Hall vs. James Skalski: Iowa State’s Hall is the Big 12’s leading rusher with 1,226 yards. Skalski is Clemson’s big-hitting middle linebacker who leads the Tigers in tackles. Expect these two to run into each other a lot.

5 Key Clemson vs Iowa State Stats

36.4: Average number of points scored by Clemson over its past five games.

10: Sacks this season by Iowa State defensive end Will McDonald, tying him for 7th nationally.

2-2: Iowa State’s record against the spread in bowl games under coach Matt Campbell, hired prior to the 2016 season.

11-5: Clemson’s record against the spread in bowl games under coach Dabo Swinney, who took over late in the 2008 season.

5-4: Clemson’s all-time record against opponents from the Big 12, including 3-2 in bowl games.

RELATED: Ultimate Betting Guide To College Football Bowl Season

Clemson vs Iowa State Weather Forecast

December is historically one of the driest months of the year in Orlando. Highs are typically in the 70s, though expect cooler conditions for the 5:45 p.m. ET kickoff. Bettors with an interest in the college football odds for this matchup should check the precipitation forecast closer to game day.

Clemson vs Iowa State Moneyline

Iowa State is a -120 moneyline favorite, according to sportsbooks, while Clemson is a +100 underdog. Let’s face it, both of these teams have underperformed relative to preseason expectations. Iowa State looks the part on paper with Purdy, Hall and that defense, but they’ve struggled to put it together on the field, and looked mediocre at best down the stretch.

The defense has always been there for Clemson, and with the Tigers’ offense figuring things out in the second half, this looks like a far more complete team. Yes, losing coordinators hurts, but the playbook won’t change. Give us the Tigers and that even-money moneyline.

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Clemson vs Iowa State Point Spread

Iowa State is a 1.5-point favorite, according to betting sites. Clemson covered four of its last five games in the regular season, the exception being a 44-7 victory over Connecticut against a 40.5-point line. Iowa State has covered two of its last six, which included a loss to Texas Tech as a double-digit favorite.

Senior-laden Iowa State is also vulnerable to opt-outs, which bettors should keep an eye on. Regardless, the Cyclones this season just haven’t been as good as their pieces suggest they should be, while Clemson is a different team from the one that struggled to score early in the season. That’s why we’re taking the Tigers to cover. You can get Clemson +1.5 (-110) at FanDuel.

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Clemson vs Iowa State Totals

The total is 45.5, according to betting apps. Both teams are very good defensively, particularly the Tigers, who held the Georgia offense without a point (the lone TD came off a pick-six) in their opener. Clemson leads the ACC in scoring and total defense, while Iowa State ranks fourth and second in those respective categories in the Big 12.

The Cyclones are also prone to head-scratching lapses, like giving up 41 to Texas Tech. Still, this will be the best team Clemson has faced since Pitt in late October, and we’re expecting defenses to set the tone and the game to fall under the total.

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About the Author

David Caraviello for Bookies.com
David Caraviello
Veteran sports journalist David Caraviello has covered college football, college basketball, motorsports and golf, covering all three US golf majors, the Daytona 500 and SEC football.