For the second time in the six-year history of the College Football Playoff, Ohio State and Clemson find themselves matched up against one another. The Buckeyes are looking for a different result, while Dabo Swinney’s Tigers hope to repeat their 31-0 domination in 2016.
While the odds makers are expecting a double-digit deficit in the opening game of the Playoff, the nightcap is expected to be much closer with Clemson as a 2.5-point favorite after opening as a one-point underdog. The over/under total sits at 63.
Ohio State had a lot of eyeballs on them early in the first year under Ryan Day, whose Buckeyes dominated all year long, earning him the Big Ten coach of the year award. Clemson, on the other hand, has not been tested much at all. Through 13 games, the Tigers played one team currently ranked in the College Football Playoff Top 25 with Virginia at No. 23 in the ACC title game, a 62-17 win.
Both teams blew out plenty of opponents leading up to this game. Ohio State won 11 of its 13 games by 24 points or more, while Clemson won 11 of 13 games by 31 or more. The Buckeyes faced better competition but nothing like what Clemson brings to the table. This is setting up to be an all-time classic in a game that could go either way.
Television, Streaming options
Date: Saturday, December 28, 2019
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Clemson -2.5 (Ohio State opened -1), 63
Initial Betting Analysis
Hopping on this game early obviously would have been beneficial for Clemson backers, but as long as the number stays under three points, there is value on Clemson in this spot. Dabo Swinney is going on a “nobody respects us” crusade even though just about everybody following college football would not be surprised if Clemson won another national title. But if the players buy in, that’s just a little more motivation to one of the most talented teams in the country.
On the Ohio State side, the health of Justin Fields has to be a concern. He says he will be 100 percent going into the Fiesta Bowl with an MCL injury, but he was limited in the Big Ten title game against Wisconsin. Right out of the gate, I lean toward Clemson covering the 2.5-point spread and the under 63.
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Odds and lines subject to change. See website for details.