Kentucky to keep it close against Clemson in 2023 Gator Bowl

  • No. 22 Clemson is a 7-point favorite over the Kentucky WildcatsΒ 
  • Dabo Swinney’s refusal to use the transfer portal has knocked his Tigers off the national stage in recent years
  • The Gator Bowl kicks off from EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, FL on Dec. 29 at 12 pm ET

Clemson (8-4) ended the season on a four-game winning streak while Kentucky (7-5) dropped five of their past seven contests. Dabo Swinney is 11-8 all-time in bowl games, and Mark Stoops has a 4-3 career record.

Which program will cap off a disappointing season with a Gator Bowl victory?Β Before we check the latest line, take a look at our 2023-24 College Football Betting sites and get the Best College Football Bowl Odds.

Clemson vs Kentucky

BetOnline ReviewSpreadMoney LineTotal Points
Clemson-7.0 (-110)-275Ov 46.5 (-110)
Kentucky+7.0 (-110)+230Un 46.5 (-110)

Dabo’s fall from grace

It wasn’t too long ago that Clemson was mentioned in the same breath as Alabama. From 2015-20, the Tigers made six-straight College Football Playoff appearances and captured two national titles. However, after a mediocre 8-4 campaign, they’ll now be playing in theirΒ second non-New Year’s Six Bowl in three years.

Before this season, Dabo Swinney’s squad had won at least 10 games for 12 consecutive seasons. In 2023, they opened the year at 4-4 before reeling off four straight wins with victories over ranked teams like Notre Dame and UNC.

Kentucky’s ugly end to the year

Kentucky won their first five games of the season before being walloped by Georgia 51-13. That was the beginning of the end for Mark Stoops’ team, which went on to lose four of their next six games. The lone bright spot for the Wildcats was an upset victory over a top-10 Louisville team in the regular-season finale.

Kentuckyto win vs Clemson
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UNDER 46.5Clemson vs Kentucky
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Tigers vs Wildcats

Clemson is a 7-point favorite at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville with the over/under set at 46.5 points. The Tigers averaged slightly more points than the Wildcats this season – 29.2 vs 28.6. Cade Klubnik finished with 2,580 passing yards with 19 touchdowns and 8 interceptions while UK starter Devin Leary threw for 2,440 yards with 23 TDs and 10 INTs.

Both teams have quality ground games. Clemson’s Phil Mafah piled up 894 rushing yards and nine scores, and Kentucky’s Ray Davis ran for 1,066 yards with 20 total TDs.

Bowl history

Clemson is 4-5 all-time at the Gator Bowl and hasn’t appeared in one since 2008. Meanwhile, this is Kentucky’s third trip to the Gator Bowl since 2016.Β The Tigers are 5-8 all-time against the Wildcats, but won their last matchup – a 2009 Music City Bowl game that also happened to be Dabo’s first year in charge.

Kentucky reeled off wins in four-straight bowl games from 2018 to 2021 before being blown out in the Music City Bowl by Iowa last year. Clemson also came away empty handed in the Orange Bowl in 2022, falling to Tennessee 31-14.

Best Bet

Both these teams have run hot and cold all season and it’s too early to tell which players might opt out for each side. Therefore, we’ll take Kentucky to cover the spread (+7) in the Gator Bowl with the UNDER 46.5 points.

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Steve Starr

Steve is the quintessential American sports enthusiast. He has mastered the art of Sundays, devoting them to football, and barbecue parties. He proudly wears the hats of a good father, husband and a great dog owner. Aside from his decades of contributing to different top-tier sports publications, Steve has also found his niche on Twitter, where he publishes funny and relatable sports-related insights. When he's not busy tweeting, Steve loves to watch each game unfold live. He possesses an innate talent for finding humor in the sports world, appreciating both the thrilling moments and the comedic mishaps that make each event unique.