Clemson Tigers vs Auburn Tigers Betting Preview and Pick

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 04: Coty Sensabaugh #15 of the Clemson Tigers looks on against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 4, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

In an opening week Tiger Bowl, Auburn hooks up with Clemson for a college football battle on the neutral field of the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

As of Friday night, most online sportsbooks were listing Clemson as a 2.5-point favorite for this game, while one (Bovada) had the ACC Tigers as 3-point chalk. The 'over/under' was sitting near 55.5.

Auburn returns 15 starters from a team that went 8-5 last year, 4-4 in the SEC and beat Virginia in a bowl game. The Tigers get back six starters on offense, including three on the O line, but they'll be breaking in a new starting QB Saturday night.

They will also be without RB Michael Dyer, who led the team in rushing the last two seasons, then got suspended and has since left the team.

Auburn also returns nine starters on defense, including the entire front line. That defense, though, allowed 408 YPG last year.

On the other side of this matchup Clemson, ranked No. 25 in the pre-season AP poll, gets seven starters back on both sides of the ball from a team that went 10-4 overall last year, 7-2 in the ACC, upset Virginia Tech in the conference championship game but got walloped by West Virginia in the Orange Bowl.

QB Tajh Boyd (33/12 TD/INT ratio) leads the offense, joined by 1,100-yard rusher Andre Ellington but only two starters on the O line. And while most of the defense is back, Clemson has to replace three starters on the D line.

On a key personnel note, Clemson WR Sammy Watkins, who caught 82 balls for 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns last year as a freshman, is suspended for the first two games of this season and unavailable Saturday night.

These teams have met the last two seasons, with both games resulting in come-from-behind victories. Two years ago Auburn rallied from down 17-0 to win 27-24 in overtime, and last year Clemson came back from down 21-7 to win 38-24.

Early betting on this game has seen action on the side split right down the middle, while play on the total has leaned toward the 'under' by a 55/45 margin.

Free NCAAF Pick: This is a tough one to pick butin a closely handicapped game with a home dog, we play on it and take Auburn +3. (Check for free picks at PickShark.com.)

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