The college football season has reached its climax with four teams separating from the pack to qualify for this season’s College Football Playoff and a chance to compete for a national championship.
This year’s playoff slate features the Crimson Tide taking on Notre Dame in a battle of historic powerhouses, as well as a matchup of Clemson against Ohio State in a rematch of last year’s highly-contested semifinal. At Colorado sportsbook SportsBetting.com, Alabama is currently a 19.5-point favorite over the Irish while the Tigers are favored by a touchdown against the Buckeyes.
Here’s a look at both games as all four teams look to move one step closer to a national championship.
Rose Bowl CFP Semifinal: #4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. #1 Alabama Crimson Tide
Odds: Alabama -19.5
(Odds courtesy of SportsBetting.com)
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Alabama Crimson Tide will kick off the College Football Playoff this year, meeting in the Rose Bowl with a trip to this season’s national championship game on the line.
Alabama enters the College Football Playoff as the No. 1 seed for a reason. The Crimson Tide have been the most dominant team in the nation, boasting a perfect 11-0 record with wins over three top-10 teams. Alabama is particularly dominant on the offensive side of the ball where the Crimson Tide boast two Heisman Trophy finalists in quarterback Mac Jones and wide receiver DeVonta Smith. Alabama averages an eye-popping 49.7 points per game – good for second in the nation – and leads the country in scoring margin, winning all of its games by an average of 30.3 points per game.
Notre Dame is the only team entering the College Football Playoff coming off of a loss, and it was a lopsided one as the Fighting Irish fell 34-10 to the Clemson Tigers in the ACC Championship Game. Before that loss, however, Notre Dame had looked dominant. The Fighting Irish were previously undefeated, boast a top-10 scoring margin on the season and even beat Clemson earlier in the year.
Both of these teams earned their way into the College Football Playoff with stellar regular seasons, but at the end of the day, Alabama is just the far more talented team on both sides of the ball. Notre Dame simply won’t be able to match the Crimson Tide’s scoring and Alabama will pull away with a blowout win, easily covering the lopsided spread.
Pick: Alabama -19.5.
Sugar Bowl CFP Semifinal: #3 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. #2 Clemson Tigers
Betting Line: Clemson -7.5
Game Total: 65.5
(Odds courtesy of SportsBetting.com)
In a rematch of last year’s Fiesta Bowl College Football Playoff semifinal, the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Clemson Tigers meet in the Sugar Bowl with each looking to move one step closer to a national championship.
Though they’ve only played six games this season, the Buckeyes have showcased one of the most dynamic offenses in the country. Despite struggles on defense – particularly in the secondary – Ohio State’s offense is nothing short of prolific. The Buckeyes boast one of the nation’s top quarterbacks in Justin Fields and have arguably the top receiving duo in the country with Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, but the running game has actually been the Buckeyes’ strength this season. Through six games, Ohio State ranks No. 3 in the nation with 6.1 yards per carry with running back Trey Sermon coming off of a record-breaking 331-yard rushing performance in the Big Ten title game win over the Northwestern Wildcats.
Clemson enters this semifinal showdown as one of the most complete teams in all of college football. The Tigers are one of the few teams to rank in the top-15 nationally in both scoring offense and scoring defense, and they also rank No. 3 nationally in scoring margin, behind only the Alabama Crimson Tide and the BYU Cougars. Clemson’s strength is its offense, led by the likely No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft in Trevor Lawrence and one of the top running backs in the country in Travis Etienne.
Clemson has seen more action this season and is the more complete team, but Ohio State has the talent on its roster to hang with the Tigers. Even if the Buckeyes don’t come away with the win, this will be a close game from start to finish and Ohio State will get the cover as an underdog.
Pick: Ohio State +7
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