No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1 SU, 6-6-1 ATS) vs. No. 2 Clemson Tigers (12-1 SU, 6-7 ATS)
College Football Playstation Fiesta Bowl Preview
Date/Time: Saturday December 31st, 2016. 7:00PM (EST)
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium Phoenix, A.Z.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: OSU -3/CLEM +3
Over/Under Total: 60.5
In what promises to be one of the most epic College Football Playoff Semifinal games to date, the no. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes and no. 2 Clemson Tigers will collide in the Playstation Fiesta Bowl inside University of Phoenix Stadium on Saturday December 31st. Both teams have been amongst the National Championship discussion all season and are now just one win away from having the opportunity to play for the title. This semifinal has all the ingredients to be a tremendous spectacle and it may just be the best game on the entire 2016 bowl slate.
The reasons this game has all the ingredients to be epic is because both teams do so many things well. Both offenses are among the best in college football ranking in the top 15 in scoring averaging over 40 points per game. The only difference is Clemson does most of their damage through the air behind Heisman Trophy Finalist quarterback Deshaun Watson whereas the Buckeyes typically produce most of their big plays on the ground behind quarterback J.T. Barrett and running back Mike Weber. However, both teams have tremendous defenses to offset the opposing offenses. In fact, both defenses rank inside the top 10 overall with Ohio State ranking 5th giving up just 282 yards per game and Clemson ranking 9th allowing just 313 yards per game. Therefore there should never be a dull moment in this game with great matchups on both sides of the football.
I actually think this game will be one of those where people are on the edge of their seat for the entire 60 minutes. Both offenses have the capability to score on any single play but they also have the defenses that can come up with big opportunities as well. From a betting standpoint, the numbers are also very similar. Ohio State has a 6-6-1 mark ATS with Clemson holding a mirroring 6-7 mark against the number. Both teams have trended down during the latter part of the season with Ohio State going 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games and Clemson covering in just 2 of their last 7 games. The public has favored the Tigers and the points slightly with about 60% of all early action favoring the underdog. Still, even those numbers are pretty equivalent.
I have broken this game down in about every way imaginable and I still cannot find any clear edges. Clemson has some elite talent in their passing game and possibly one of the best receiving corps in the nation led by WR Mike Williams. However, Ohio State ranks 6th against the pass so I do not expect Clemson to find things to come easy down the field but I think they have to challenge down the field to give their talented receivers an opportunity to make big plays. Clemson running back Wayne Gallman is a solid rusher but I donít believe he is a guy that can take over in this game to open up the rest of the offense. Instead, I think Clemson has to hit plays down the field to open everything else up.
The same challenges will be on Ohio State when they have the ball in their hand only in a slightly different manner. The Buckeyes typically keep the football on the ground between Weber, Barrett, and Curtis Samuel. Ohio State relies on these rushing threats for the offense to strive. However, Clemson has established a great defensive unit especially among the defensive front line where they are extremely athletic and physical. The Tigers actually rank 22nd against the run and they do an even better job of getting pressure on quarterbacks. Therefore it is critical that Ohio State stays out of obvious passing situations to avoid Clemsonís relentless pass rush.
Overall a game like this where the teams are so equally matched may come down to some of the intangibles like penalties, special teams, and especially turnovers. If things stay the course, the turnovers may be an area that benefits the Buckeyes. Ohio State ranked 3rd in the FBS in turnover margin with the help of their 25 takeaways on the season. Watson has specifically struggled with interceptions (15) this year more than anyone would have expected. Clemson has also given 24 turnovers away as a team so keep an eye on the turnover war because it could have a big impact in this outcome.
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I stand by the fact I think this game features two very equally talented teams with matchups that will be difficult for both teams. However, I still feel like the Buckeyes are the better team. Therefore, I will take Ohio State -3!
Bet your Bowl picks at an online sportsbook where you can bet on games at -105 odds instead of the more expensive -110 price tag that your bookie is sticking you with! Making the switch to betting at discounted odds will save you TONS of cash! Find this great offer as well as 20 point teasers and parlays up to 25 teams at the web's best bookmaker: 5Dimes.
Editor's Picks - Each weekend our very own in-house All-American Editor makes his NCAA point spread predictions in an attempt to force fumbles, sack and intercept your bookie!
Expert College Football Picks - Free premium college foots plays against the spread from expert handicappers from around the web from week 1 through the National Championship.
Underdog of the Week Pick - We sort through it all and find out which University is getting "too many points" this week. If there was a Heisman Trophy for picking underdogs, we'd be a frontrunner. Expect a 57%+ winning percentage with these picks as we've got a keen ear for loud barking dogs.
Line Movement - NCAA football lines open early in the week and often times move up or down based on wagering activity, injuries to key players and weather. We decipher whether it's square or wiseguy action and predict the point spread winner based on value.
College Football Consensus Picks - We assess the public perception each week and let them pick the winners for us as we fade their selections which provides us with many trips into our bookies endzone.
Computer Picks - We enter them into the computer and the machine makes it's picks. This is a great guide especially when betting totals! These are available after the first few weeks of the season.
Trends - Despite what you have been told or read on tout sites, the trend ain't your friend. We however turn the tables and fade the almighty trend for what should be some great profits over time.
2016/2017 College Football Predictions - Bob gives his picks to win each major conference. At the end, he gives his prediction on who thinks will win the 2017 National Championship game at Raymond James Stadium on January 9th.
2016 Heisman Trophy Predictions - DeShaun Watson is favored to win the award at +575 with Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey (+575) and LSU RB Leonard Fournette (+850) close behind. However, the real value may be with Oregon Ducks RB Royce Freeman at 40/1.
2016-2017 College Football Championship Predictions - NCAA football experts have the National Championship as a 4-horse race which includes Bama at +665, Clemson +725, LSU +900 and Ohio State +1075. Teams on teh bubble include Oklahoma at +1200, Michigan +1300 and FSU at +1350. Jay gives his pick to win it all along with how his top 15 rankings for season's end. Get your bets in early before your favorite team's line drops!
MyBookie - Get a HUGE 50% bonus (up to $1000 FREE!) after making an initial deposit of $100 or more! Great at getting Visa cards to work for deposits.
Bovada - Boasts the highest credit card acceptance rate on the internet! HUGE menu of wagers for you to choose from! One of few online sportsbooks to offer Texas Hold'em! 50% bonus up to $250 in free cash!
5Dimes - 15 team parlays! 20 point teasers! Reduced juice betting odds! Buy up to 15 points! Most props on the web!
Bookmaker - Offers a HUGE 50% sign up bonus up to $300! Enjoy LIVE college football betting where you can jump into the action at any time during the game and place a bet! This gives you a huge advantage!
Heisman Trophy Betting Odds - Clemson QB DeShaun Watson will have the ball in his hands a TON and he plays on a good team so he's the obvious favorite to win the award this year at +575. Leonard Fournette at 8.5/1 looks like he could play in the NFL right now. Bama WR Calvin Ridley brings experience and big-time playmaking ability and will be featured on National TV a bunch, giving him a legit darkhorse shot. It's unlikely to happen as offensive players usually win this honor, but Michigan DB Jabrill Peppers (75-1) and Texas AM DT Myles Garret (110-1) could be in the running as well. It might be a good year to bet more than one prediction!
Odds to Win the 2016 College Football Championship - The Alabama Crimson Tide are favored to be repeat winners of the National Championship this year at +700 followed by Ohio St. at +750 and Clemson at +800. Things drop off a bit with the Michigan Wolverines, LSU Tigers and Oklahoma Sooners all coming in at +1200. Check out your favorite school's odds here!