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CFP Semifinal Preview: Ohio State Buckeyes vs Clemson Tigers

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) throws a pass during the Atlantic Coast Conference championship NCAA college football game against Notre Dame in Charlotte, N.C., on Dec. 19, 2020.

The Clemson Tigers finished up their regular season on a 3-0 SU and ATS run to secure their spot in the College Football Playoff. The Tigers will try to end the Ohio State Buckeyes’ undefeated season with a win in the Sugar Bowl on Friday night.

Sugar Bowl CFP Semifinal: Ohio State vs Clemson
  • Date/Time: January 1, 8 p.m. ET
  • Stadium: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans
  • TV Coverage: ESPN
  • Opening Odds: Clemson -7 | O/U 65 (Line History)
  • Ohio State vs Clemson Matchup Report

Sugar Bowl Odds Analysis

Since opening as 7-point favorites, the Tigers have generated enough betting action to move the line up to Clemson -7.5. Bets on the OVER have moved the line from its opener at 65 points up to 66.5 points. Ohio State is 0-4 SU against Clemson in four all-time meetings between the two programs.

Ohio State News & Notes

The Buckeyes wrapped up their shortened season with a 22-10 win over the Northwestern Wildcats in the Big Ten championship game. Ohio State failed to cover the spread as a 16.5-point favorite to fall to 3-3 ATS on the year but did improve to 6-0 SU with the win to earn this spot in the College Football Playoff. Justin Fields had 1,521 passing yards, 15 passing touchdowns and five rushing touchdowns across Ohio State’s six-game schedule.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney provided the Buckeyes with some bulletin board material when he ranked Ohio State 11th on his coaches’ poll ballot, stating that they didn’t deserve to be higher because they hadn’t had to go through the rigors of a full season. It is difficult to accurately assess the Buckeyes’ season with only two of their six games coming against teams that finished the year above .500.

Clemson News & Notes

With Trevor Lawrence out due to COVID-19, the Tigers hit a bit of a rough patch in the second half of their season with a close 34-28 win over the Boston College Eagles as 26.5-point favorites and an overtime loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. But since Lawrence’s return, Clemson is 3-0 SU and ATS over its last three games and has outscored opponents 131-37.

Included in that winning streak is a dominant performance over Notre Dame in the ACC championship game. The Tigers cruised to a 34-10 win over the previously undefeated Fighting Irish as Lawrence collected 322 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, 90 rushing yards and one rushing major. With Lawrence healthy and Clemson’s elite defense dialed in, the Tigers are going to be tough to beat.

Betting Pick: Clemson -7.5

This could wind up being a close and competitive battle between two of the best quarterbacks in the nation. But in the end, Clemson’s clear edge on defense should lead the Tigers to a win and cover.

Shark Bites
  • Clemson is 19-1 SU in its last 20 games as a favorite.
  • Ohio State is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games vs ACC teams.
  • The OVER is 5-2 in Clemson’s last 7 games.