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How and what to watch for Pittsburgh vs. No. 4 Clemson

Trevor Lawrence returns to help the Clemson Tigers as they host the Pittsburgh Panthers and one of the nation’s top defenses.

Clemson Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence leaves the field with his teammates after Clemson lost to Notre Dame 47-40 in two overtimes at Notre Dame Stadium. Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Clemson Tigers have plenty to feel thankful for this week. The first College Football Playoff ranking placed them within the top four despite their earlier loss to Notre Dame and superstar quarterback Trevor Lawrence will return after missing a considerable layoff after testing positive for COVID-19. Clemson controls its playoff destiny but must still take care of business this week against the Pittsburgh Panthers.

While Clemson has a significant talent advantage, the rust factor for Lawrence presents some challenges. The long-haired future NFL signal-caller hasn’t played since Oct. 24 and has received limited practice time leading up to Saturday’s game. Furthermore, the Tigers offense hasn’t quite matched its predecessors. The unit ranks just 35th nationally in success rate and only 57th in rushing success rate despite the presence of All-American running back Travis Etienne.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s offense has taken off since the start of November. The group scored 41 and 47 points in its two games, most recently against Virginia Tech. Senior quarterback Kenny Pickett has delivered his best football in 2020, throwing for 2003 yards and 10 touchdowns against just four interceptions. His improved play, along with a defense that ranks fifth in success rate entering the week, gives the Panthers a path to an upset.

Still, Clemson’s defense remains one of the best in college football. The unit enters the week ranked second nationally in success rate with top-10 marks against the pass and rush. Pittsburgh will not play a tougher defense this season.

Game Time/TV Channel/Streaming

You can watch Pittsburgh versus No. 4 Clemson on Saturday, Nov. 28 at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, or you can stream it via the ESPN app with a cable or streaming service login.

Point Spread, Totals, Odds, Trends

Point spread: Pittsburgh vs. Clemson (-23.5)
Point Total: 55.5
Money line: Pittsburgh (+1200) vs. Clemson (-3335)

  • Pittsburgh has gone 18-10-2 against the spread on the road since the start of the 2015 season (11-7-2 as the road underdog).
  • Over the same stretch, the Panthers have an over record of 12-18-0 on the road (8-12-0 as the road underdog).
  • Since 2015, Clemson has a 19-20-1 record against the spread at home (18-20-1 as the home favorite).
  • During that same span, the Tigers have an over record of 17-22-1 at home (16-22-1 as the home favorite).

Betting splits

Pittsburgh: (5% of handle, 5% percent of bets)
Clemson: (95% of handle, 95% percent of bets)

The Best Bet

Lawrence could take a little time to re-establish his rhythm after the long layoff and Pittsburgh’s offense appears to have hit top gear. That combination of factors could make this game closer than expected.

Pick: Pittsburgh +23.5

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