CFP Semifinal Odds – Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Clemson Tigers

Written by:
Phil Simon
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With a lot of the same teams making it to the College Football Playoff we’re starting to see a number of matchups that have played out already. The Allstate Sugar Bowl semifinal gives us a rematch of one of the better CFP games, and if it’s anything like what we saw last season between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Clemson Tigers, college football fans are in for a treat. The Tigers overcame a 16-0 disadvantage and scored the go-ahead touchdown with under two minutes to play to reach the national championship game for the fourth time. OSU will always be remembered for winning the first CFP title, knocking off Oregon in the 2014 season.  Bookmaker.eu offers a generous welcome bonus (max bonus $1600)

Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Clemson Tigers
Date and Time: Friday, January 1, 2021, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
CFB Odds: Clemson -7.5, O/U 66
Ohio State vs. Clemson TV Coverage: ESPN

Odds Analysis

It’s hard to get a fair assessment of the Buckeyes since they played just six games, which is about half as many as the other CFP participants. And against the better teams they didn’t look that impressive. They beat Indiana 42-35 laying three touchdowns and rallied past Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship, 22-10, as a 16.5-point favorite. Those were the only opponents with a winning record. OSU went 1-3 ATS over the last four games and finished the season at 3-3 ATS overall.  Clemson played through COVID outbreaks and quarantines to go 10-1. They needed a win over Notre Dame in the ACC title game to guarantee a spot, and they crushed the Irish 34-10 to avenge their only loss. Since that setback Clemson is 3-0 SU and ATS outscoring opponents 131-37. Clemson is 4-0 all-time against OSU with the last two victories coming in the playoff. The Tigers rolled 31-0 in the 2016 season en route to their first CFP title and they are 3-0 ATS in the last three encounters.

Ohio State Buckeyes

Just in case the Buckeyes needed added motivation, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney gave them bulletin board material by ranking OSU 11th in the final coaches’ poll. Swinney said playing games should be taken into account, and he’s right. However, the committee bought into the preseason hype and tabbed the Buckeyes for inclusion anyway.

It’s not the fault of the team that the Big Ten Conference delayed the start of the season. Ohio State also had a tough time delaying the spread of the virus that forced the cancellation of three games. There were other teams deserving of a spot based on a larger body of work, but they certainly don’t have the name recognition or the success. So it’s up to the Buckeyes to prove their worthy of a spot in the playoff.

The offense is certainly championship caliber with Justin Fields at the helm. Fields completed nearly 73 percent of his passes to rank fourth in the FBS, amassing 1,521 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also ran for five scores as the Buckeyes averaged 529.2 yards and 42.5 points to rank among the top-10 nationally. The defense has holes that the Tigers can easily exploit with their playmakers. OSU finished last in the Big Ten in pass defense allowing nearly 261 yards a game.

Clemson Tigers

With Trevor Lawrence sidelined with the virus late in the season the Tigers stumbled. They rallied to beat BC 34-26 as a 26.5-point favorite and lost their only game next time out at Notre Dame, 47-40, in double overtime. With Lawrence back in the saddle for the last three games, the Tigers were lethal outscoring Pitt and Virginia Tech 97-27, before taking down Notre Dame 34-10 in the ACC Championship going 3-0 ATS.

Lawrence riddled a good Notre Dame defense completing 25 of 36 for 322 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also ran 90 yards and a score as the Tigers amassed 541 total yards. Lawrence also threw for two touchdowns and ran for another in last season’s win over OSU when the Buckeyes had a much better defense statistically.

The offense has clicked all season, even when backup D.J. Uiagalelei started a pair of games with Lawrence on the shelf. The Tigers averaged 507.6 yards and their 44.9 points have them fourth nationally in scoring. The late season surge also saw the defense respond. After giving up 47 points to the Irish, the unit allowed just 37 points total over the last three games.

Bet Ohio State vs. Clemson at BookMaker.eu

Ohio State will be motivated to win, but so will the Tigers. Lawrence has lost just one game since taking over as the starter, to LSU in last season’s title matchup. Several players, including standout back Travis Etienne, returned to finish the job. And while Fields had a good season, he struggled against the better teams with five picks combined against Indiana and Northwestern. He also tossed a pair of interceptions in last season’s encounter. The Tigers have the better defense and they have Lawrence, which means a cover win.

CFB Score Prediction: Clemson 34, Ohio State 24

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- Phil Simon, Gambling911.com

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