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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, September 1, 2012 at 10:35 AM

The most recent thing everyone remembers about the Clemson Tigers right now is that 70-33 debacle at the hands of West Virginia in the Orange Bowl. Clemson would LOVE to erase that from everyone’s memories Saturday Night with a prime time TV win over Auburn in the Georgia Dome.

Even better? Using a win over Auburn to springboard to an upset of ACC favorite Florida State later this month!

Clemson is the defending champion of the ACC, an honor they earned by beating powerful Virginia Tech TWICE last season. It’s an honor that’s on the verge of being deemed meaningless though if the Tigers get embarrassed by Auburn, then hand over bragging rights in the ACC to the Seminoles in Tallahassee.

It was a victory over Auburn last year that helped propel Dabo Swinney and the program back into the nation’s consciousness. Coming off a lethargic 35-27 win over unheralded Wofford, the Tigers no longer had the look of a BCS threat. Many were questioning if Swinney were the man for the job. Then, this happened!

Clemson (-3.5) beat then #21 Auburn 38-24

Clemson (-2.5) beat then #11 Florida State 35-31

Clemson (+7) beat then #11 Virginia Tech 23-3

That was three straight wins over ranked teams, and back-to-back wins over the two teams who were supposed to play for the ACC championship. A humongous jumping group hug on ESPN after the Auburn win had the team believing in themselves…and they channeled that into a landmark season. Until…

Clemson (-3) lost to West Virginia 70-33

Had you forgotten Clemson was the FAVORITE in the Orange Bowl?! They were supposed to be better than West Virginia, but lost the game by 37 points and missed Vegas expectations by 40 points.

Prospects for atonement inspired early Las Vegas money on the Tigers in Saturday Night’s TV showcase. Clemson opened initially at -1, but was bet up to -3 well in advance of kickoff, with even some 3.5’s being seen out in the market. Here’s what we’re hearing from those in the markets regarding this line move:

*Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd was 30-42-386 last year vs. Auburn in only his third start as a collegian. He’s much more experienced now, which gives him a chance to dominate this game on a fast track against a vulnerable defense (Auburn ranked 81st in total defense last season). Handicappers who focus on stats and matchups loved Clemson at anything less than a field goal.

*Auburn fell so far back last season off their championship with Cam Newton that many Wise Guys have lost respect for head coach Gene Chizik. He’s now seen as the kind of coach who can only win with a superstar quarterback. Given that Newton was a once-in-a-generation player for a program like Auburn, there’s not much optimism about the team moving back to the big time this year. Sure, they should improve because they have a lot of starters back. But, that means top 35 rather than top 15.

In other words, some of what’s seen as market “support” for Clemson is actually money being bet against Auburn. It didn’t hurt that Auburn started the season so poorly against Utah State last season, casting some doubt on Chizik’s ability to prepare for a season opener.

Should the Vegas line move up to Clemson -3.5 everywhere, or even -4 once the public gets involved on game day, there’s a chance Wise Guy money would move in on the underdog since that’s such a big move off the opener. Matchup handicappers are already in on Clemson at -1 and -2. The sentiment that does exist for Auburn (because of vulnerabilities Clemson showed vs. West Virginia) would likely hit the market at +4 if it’s not already coming in at +3.5.  

Clemson/Auburn is just one of many big games on the Saturday agenda. Here are the big play highlights from some of our VSM legends.

*As promised, Kelso Sturgeon has a 100-Unit College Kickoff Blowout Game of the Year. Last year this superplay was Mississippi State over Memphis in a rout. Kelso believes this year’s game is even stronger! Get it for just $50 here at the website with your major credit card. Be sure you take care of business early in case it’s one of the early starts. Note that Kelso has also announced a 50-Unit play in Alabama-Michigan in prime time. You get that play plus Clemson/Auburn and Miami/Boston College on a separate $50 report. (Sign up for the full season to lower your per play costs!)

*Oddsmaking legend Richie Baccellieri is celebrating his first big Saturday of college football at VSM with a “Fab 5” explosion. Let the man who was behind the line for so many years help you beat the line. Just $25 for the Saturday slate. That’s just five bucks a play!

*Jim Hurley’s Network has one of their patented SATURDAY SLAMS for just $25. Get the best plays on the board that you can use individually, in parlays, and in teasers on one of the easiest opening Saturday’s we’ve ever seen!

Be sure you visit the VSM home page every day for big play announcements. Additional information is available on the “Buy Picks” page, including details on full season packages for all of our industry legends.

At VSM, hot handicappers are always waiting to hear from you…especially on the first big Las Vegas betting day of the new football season!

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