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Free Pick: Cheez-It Bowl at Orlando 12/29/21
Ken Ruinard / staff / USA TODAY NETWORK

Free Pick: Cheez-It Bowl at Orlando 12/29/21

Iowa State 7-5 vs. No. 19 Clemson 9-3

This matchup features two teams that didn’t meet the lofty preseason predictions that were put upon them. Iowa State was picked to finish in the Top-10 by a lot of people and lost five games by a combined total of 29 points. This is the final game for a senior class that put together four straight winning seasons in Ames, which doesn’t happen too often. Meanwhile, Clemson was in everyone’s Top-5, and struggled offensively, before winning their final five games to finish the year on a high note. They have had some shake-ups in the coaching staff and that could upset their continuity. Let’s look at the angles.


Clemson: 23.5 Total Team Points The Tigers have picked it up offensively in their final 5 games, scoring 30 or more points in every game. They improved their running game and it took a lot of pressure off quarterback, D.J. Uiagalelei and he played much better in the 2nd half of the season. The Iowa State defense held teams to 21 points and 310 total yards per game, so the are a formidable group. I’ll take Clemson slightly OVER 23.5 total team points.

Iowa State 21.5 Total Team Points The Cyclones are very balanced but will be missing, running back Breece Hall, who has declared for the draft and opted out of the bowl game. He is a key player in their offense with his running ability, and, catching the ball out of the backfield. They still have a lot of weapons, but his absence is certainly a big factor to consider. The Clemson defense was as good as usual but long-time coordinator, Brent Venables was named the new head coach at Oklahoma, and it remains to be seen if that makes a difference or not. Iowa State has scored 22 or more points in 9 of their 12 games. I’ll go with Iowa State slightly OVER 21.5 total team points.

OVER/UNDER: 44 Combined Team Points This line is pretty close, but I took the over on both teams. Therefore, I like the OVER 44 combined team points.

POINT SPREAD: Clemson is a 1.5-point favorite Easy line to bet. Just take who you think will win and they will probably cover. When analyzing, consider these factors. This is the last stand for a veteran Iowa State team, that would love to send out a decorated Senior class, with a victory over a big-time Clemson program. On the other hand, Clemson has lost both coordinators, are used to playing in much bigger bowls than this, and are coming off a disappointing season. Who has the advantage emotionally and who will be more motivated?

AARON’S PICK: Clemson -1.5

PAPA DUDES PICK: OVER 44 Combined Team Points

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