CFB Picks 12/28: Fiesta Bowl

Here's our CFB expert's pick for Saturday's Fiesta Bowl game
Stephen Rodriguez
Wed, December 25, 10:26 PM EST

The wait is over - The College Football Playoff is officially here!

The best matchup of the CFP Semifinal takes place on Saturday night when the reigning national champion Clemson Tigers travel to Glendale, Arizona, and takes on the Ohio State Buckeyes.

#3 Clemson Tigers (-2) @ #2 Ohio State Buckeyes, 8:00 PM:

  • Clemson has covered the spread in each of the last seven night games.
  • Each of Ohio State’s last five night games against top10 AP ranked teams have gone UNDER the total points line.
  • The Tigers have a 9-2 ATS record as road favorites since 2018. Stats courtesy of Statschecker.

#3 Clemson (13-0) felt somewhat disrespected when the CFP seeds were announced after finishing undefeated and standing as the defending national champions. The lone downfall for the Tigers is the weak schedule and lack of competition faced due to the poor play of the ACC.

Clemson played only two ranked opponents this season, yet took care of business winning by an average of (29.5 ppg).

Sophomore quarterback Trevor Lawrence had a down season in terms of interceptions, turning the ball over twice as much in his sophomore season (8), but still managed to overpower the competition with 34 passing touchdowns which ranked fifth best in the nation.

Junior running back Travis Etienne claimed his second consecutive ACC Player of the Year, leading the nation in yards per carry (8.2 ypc), ranking seventh in rushing yards (1,500), and 10th in rushing touchdowns (17).

#2 Ohio State (13-0) finished out the season winning three consecutive games over top-15 ranked opponents, and won five total games against ranked opponents by an average of (21.6 ppg).

The Buckeyes had two Heisman candidates - one from each side of the ball. Sophomore transfer quarterback Justin Field has been elite, throwing for the third most passing touchdowns in the nation (40) with the fewest thrown interceptions (one).

On defense, projected top-two pick Chase Young has been an absolute force all season totaling the most sacks in the nation with (16.5).

Behind one of the best lines in College Football, junior running back J.K. Dobbins has also given opponents problems all season. He ranks third in the nation with 1,829 rushing yards on the fifth most carries in the FBS (283), and has scored the sixth most rushing touchdowns (20).

My pick is Clemson to cover the spread (-2), and the UNDER Total of 63 points.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney expressed after the season that he felt “everyone” is counting the Tigers out. Yet, the line of (-2) in favor of Clemson would reflect otherwise.

Neither the Buckeyes or Tigers have played in many close games this season, but I’m anticipating this matchup to be tightly contested to the finish.

Despite all the offense showcased on both sides, this Semifinal matchup is set to be a chess match between opposing defenses.

Both the Buckeyes and Tigers rank amongst the top two in the nation in points allowed. Clemson has allowed the fewest points in the FBS (10.4 ppg), while Ohio State is tied for second allowing (12.5 ppg).

This game will come down to the wire, and I’m going with the more experienced team of Clemson’s coaches and players to find a way to cover the spread (-2) and defeat Ohio State.

Final score prediction: Clemson wins 27-24

Picks: Clemson Tigers (-2) @ -109

Picks: Total Points - Under 63 @ -110

Stephen Rodriguez
TinoRodriguez__
Expert handicapper for both NBA and NCAAB with years of experience in the business
Mar 2020
Record
Wins
13
Losses
15
Push
0
ROI
-11.62%
0Betslip

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