CFP Semifinal Betting Preview, Odds & Picks: Clemson vs Ohio State

No, you’re not experiencing déjà vu. Clemson and Ohio State will be facing off in the College Football Playoff Semi-Final for the second straight year and for the third time in the past five years. This time, the teams will be facing off in the Sugar Bowl as Clemson tries to advance to the National Championship Game for the fifth time in six years to face the winner of Alabama vs Notre Dame.

BetOnline has Clemson set as the 7-point favorite with the total set at 66.5.

Sugar Bowl Betting Odds & Information

  • Spread: Ohio State +7 (-105) | Clemson -7 (-115)
  • Total: OVER 66.5 (-115) | UNDER 66.5 (-105)
  • Moneyline: Ohio State +250 | Clemson -300
  • Location: New Orleans, LA (Mercedes-Benz Superdome)
  • Date: January 1, 2021
  • Time: 8:00 PM ET
  • TV: ESPN

Odds via BetOnline (12/30/20)

What can we Expect from Ohio State?

The biggest question heading into the College Football Playoff is just how good this Ohio State team actually is. A shortened schedule in the Big 10 followed by a handful of games being cancelled due to COVID-19 protocols means Ohio State enters the Sugar Bowl having played just six games. After originally not meeting the required number of games to play in their conference championship game, an exception was made by the Big Ten and Ohio State went on to defeat Northwestern to claim the conference crown.

Ohio State’s biggest scare of the season came against a tough Indiana team. The Buckeyes held off a fourth quarter comeback by the Hoosiers to hang on to a 42-35 win. While they managed to defeated their five other opponents with relative ease, questions have come up about just how good this team is.

Statistically they rank sixth in the country in points per game but just 28th in opponent points per game so their defense could prove to be a weakness as they prepare to take on the kings of the ACC.

A Chance for Clemson’s Defense to Shine

While defense has been a weak point for the Buckeyes this season it’s been a strength for Clemson as they rank eighth in opponent yards per game and 15th in opponent points per game. They avenged their only hiccup of the season when they allowed 518 yards and 47 points against Notre Dame in the regular season, but followed it up in the ACC Championship game by holding the Fighting Irish to just 263 yards and 10 points.

The most impressive part of Clemson’s defense is their ability to stop the run. Teams are averaging just 2.9 yards per carry against them which is the sixth best mark among all teams. This could mean trouble for Ohio State as 52.09 percent of their offensive yards come on the ground, the 21st highest mark in Division 1 football.

Trevor Lawrence Vying to be Number 1 Pick in 2021 NFL Draft

The focus of attention in this game, as well as the National Championship game if Clemson is able to advance, will be on Trevor Lawrence. The star QB for the Tigers has been hailed as the next big NFL superstar since he exploded onto the scene in 2018 when he lead Clemson to a National Championship. After falling short against LSU in the final game last season, a strong performance in this year’s Playoff could secure his spot as the number one overall pick.

Despite not many people talking about it, Lawrence is quietly having his best season to date. He had to sit out for two games due to COVID-19, most notably he sat out for Clemson’s only loss of the season, but he dominated the games in which he did start. He’s setting career highs in completion percentage (69.2 percent), yards per pass (9.6), and QB Rating (172.7). He’s also tied his career low in interceptions, throwing just four so far this season.

Lawrence has a great matchup in the Sugar Bowl as Ohio State ranks just 52nd in opponent yards per pass attempt and 104th in opponent passing yards per game, allowing teams to throw for an average of 260.8 yards. Expect Trevor Lawrence to have a field day against this Buckeyes defense.

Betting Advice for Clemson vs Ohio State est Bet: Clemson -7

If Ohio State wasn’t the blue blood school that they are it’s hard to imagine a world where they get into the College Football Playoff with just six wins. There are a lot of great points in the argument for expanding the College Football Playoff, but pointing to this season as proof that we need to do it wouldn’t be smart. This season is between Alabama and Clemson and you’d struggle to find many people who would disagree with that.

Despite Ohio State getting through their shortened schedule undefeated, a lot of their statistics are less than impressive heading into the Sugar Bowl, especially on the defensive side of the football. They allow 5.2 yards per play on defense which ranks 40th in the country and they’ve been torched through the air by many quarterbacks less talented than Trevor Lawrence.

If you’re looking to bet on the total in this game the OVER 66.5 could be the bet to make. Ohio State’s defense may struggle, but they have the talent on offense to put up enough points on Clemson to contribute to the total going over.

Expect yet another National Championship Game between Clemson and Alabama.

Best Bet: Clemson -7


Logan is based in Los Angeles and is an avid poker player having played in tournaments across the globe. He covers both poker & regulatory affairs.