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Game Day: Chick-fil-A Bowl

Atlanta's Georgia Dome will be the site of the eagerly-anticipated Chick-fil-A Bowl, which sees LSU take on Clemson.

In what is one of the most anticipated games in all of this year’s bowl season, No. 14 Clemson meets No. 8 LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Monday.

The game is scheduled for a 7:30 PM ET kickoff at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

Clemson (10-2, 7-1 ACC) arrives in the game with one of the most potent offenses in all of college football, but LSU will counter with one of the stingiest defenses in the nation.

This classic offense versus defense matchup is sure to have football fans in the stadium and at home on the edge of their seats, whilst bettors will be looking for any edge they can.

LSU (10-2, 6-2 SEC) had a season few expected. The Bayou Bengals struggled early on, at least on the offensive side of the ball, failing to put overwhelming scores against inferior opponents. An early loss to Florida had many questioning Les Miles’ side and it wasn’t until the Tigers came within one drive of defeating then-No. 1 ranked Alabama did many consider LSU’s season a success.

Clemson meanwhile had no such problems scoring. Behind junior quarterback Tajh Boyd, the Tigers ran roughshod through the ACC. Well, almost. Clemson fell to both Florida and South Carolina in its toughest games on the schedule. Those defeats have many questioning whether the side has what it takes to win a tough game.

Clemson’s recent bowl history would bare that point out. The Tigers have lost two straight bowl games, including last year’s Orange Bowl which saw West Virginia put 70 on the board against the Tigers. Those two losses come as part of a streak that has seen the side lose five from six bowl games.

Of course, LSU fell to Alabama 21-0 in last year’s BCS National Championship Game, a second ‘bowl’ loss in three seasons. The Fighting Tigers will look to improve on that record. This ‘mini-slump’ actually comes after the school won five of seven, and 11 of 15 bowl games, including the 2008 National Championship Game.

Clemson averaged 42.3 points per game (6th) this season, making use of both the passing game (319.9 YPG; 13th) and rushing game (319.9 YPG; 33rd). Nobody expects the Tigers to be able to put those numbers up against LSU on Monday.

LSU’s defense allowed just 16.9 points per game (11th) this season. A top 10 rush defense (101.8 YPG; 9th) complimented a top 20 passing defense (194.3 YPG; 20th) and if both click in Atlanta, yards and points could be at a premium. Clemson will look to replicate Ole Miss, who put 35 on the scoreboard against LSU. No other team had managed more than 22, with nine teams failing to score 20 or more.

LSU opened as favorites. A three-point spread has risen to six as bettors have backed the Bayou Bengals. However, LSU posted a 5-7-0 ATS record this season, as its offense struggled at times to put points on the board. Comparatively, Clemson went 8-4-0 ATS this season, a result of that high-profile points-scoring offense.

The over/under opened at 57 and has subsequently risen to 59. Since its rebranding from the Peach Bowl, the total in a Chick-fil-A Bowl has only exceeded 59 twice; in its first year (1998) and in last year’s 43-24 win for Auburn over Virginia.

The total has gone over in eight Clemson games this season, but only five LSU games. Taking the under may be the sensible option thanks to LSU’s dominant defense.

For further in depth analysis of the Chick-fil-A Bowl, check BettingSports.com for a first look and a by the numbers interpretation of the game.

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