CFP Fiesta Bowl: Revenge of the Dissed
Share this article
Let's get the facts straight.
The actual quote -- from the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup -- is, who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?
Turns out that the sportsbooks didn't believe the Selection Committee's own eyes. That crowd ranked Ohio State No 2 and defending champion Clemson No 3, but the dudes who hold the chalk have reversed that order, for this game anyway.
This Fiesta Bowl clash opened as a pick 'em. Ten minutes later, the paying public pushed it to Tigers by 2. Now, a hook's been added.
Here's where the computer's multiple simulations wound up:
Why Ohio State will win ...
Without question, the Buckeyes have had an ultra-dominant season. Dudes went 13-0 SU and 9-4 ATS. They averaged 48.7 points per game, which ranked first in college football. They allowed 12.5 points per game on average.
Ohio State has the best defensive player in college football in Chase Young. They also have one of the Top 5 quarterbacks in college football. Although Justin Fields gets overlooked, he's thrown for 2,953 yards with 40 TD passes against only one interception. Fields and Young will be the two best players on the field.
Why bet on Clemson ...
Dabo Sweeney is a master coach who gets his team to peak at the perfect time.
It seems like every season, the Tigers played their worst football early. Early in the season, the dudes edged North Carolina, 21-20, as a -26 favorite. Since that scare, though, Sweeney’s crew has dominated.
Clemson went 7-1 ATS in the final 8 games. Dudes scored 40 points or more in 7-of-8. They scored 50 points or more in 4-of-8. The Tiger defense held their final 8 opponents to 14 points or less in 7-of-8. Safe to say, they're ready to roll.
Instant analysis ...
Clemson is hot. No opponent has touched the Tigers since the Tar Heel game. The Tigers play in a down-year conference, though. Not counting Clemson, only 5 of 13 teams finished over .500 and none were more than 4 games above.
The Buckeyes rallied from 14 down in the Big Ten Championship, outscoring Wisconsin, 27-0, in the second half.
The nagging detail here is Ohio State being careless with the ball. They've lost fumbles 13 times this season, with 5 of them coming in their last 8 games. Contrast that with Clemson forcing 28 turnovers this year, claiming 2 or more in 4 of their last 5 games and 6 of their last 8.
As well, a deep dive into the Michigan game showed the Wolverine receivers getting open too easily. Too bad they dropped a lotta balls. Clemson won't do that, and Trevor Lawrence is a level better -- at least -- than Shea Patterson and his WRs' 17 yards per catch average against the Buckeyes.
In what should be a close and entertaining semi-final, turnovers and Tiger accuracy could be the difference. We think that's the way it'll play out, and as evenly matched as these teams are, scoring will be more difficult than the computer thinks.
ATS pick: Clemson -2½
Total pick: Under 63
Result: Clemson 29 Ohio State 23 ... Tigers cover ATS and Total
Sportbet Columnist: Josh Bailey
Aspiring to become the Mark Twain of sportswriting, Josh has been labelled as the up-&-coming sportswriter of the year by absolutely nobody and the new heavy hitter in sports handicapping by his mother.