If Dabo Swinney is really looking for respect, all he has to do is look at the betting odds for this game or ask a speculator. The Clemson Tigers are soon favorites against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Fiesta Bowl, although they are seed no. 3 in the eyes of the College Football Playoff Panel. Clemson has won every game since September by at least 31 points, expanding the lower teams in the ACC. That’s what Ohio State did against Big Ten rivals earlier in the season, but some of the Buckeyes’ shortcomings were exposed in their last three games.
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College Football Playoff Odds: Ohio State vs. Clemson
- Clemson Tigers -2 vs. Ohie State Buckeyes, O / U 63
There has even been action in this game with Clemson only moving from -1 to -2 over the past few weeks, while the total remained stable at 63. Only 52.9 percent of spread bets are on the Tigers, so this one the line should not move before kickoff. However, the total could rise as 63.4% of bets are over.
Ohio State vs. Clemson History
Clemson and Ohio State have met three times before this year’s Fiesta Bowl. Each of these meetings resulted in a win for Clemson and a crucial moment for either of the two programs. The Tigers win over the Buckeyes in the 1978 Gator Bowl that led Woody Hayes to kick after throwing a Clemson player to the sidelines. Clemson’s victory in the 2014 Orange Bowl marked the start for the Tigers, and their 31-0 win at the 2016 Fiesta Bowl paved the way for the school’s second national championship.
When Clemson has the ball
The Tigers have the most forward-thinking strategy in the country. Trevor Lawrence was a little sluggish through his first four outings in 2019, but shone through the first issues. Clemson has thrown every team that has faced ease since then, as Lawrence has completed 68.8 percent of his passes for 3,172 yards with 34 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Tee Higgins is one of the best deep ball threats in the country, delivering 52 receptions for 1,082 yards and 13 touchdowns. Justyn Ross has been steadily moving the chains and Travis Etienne is one of the most dangerous organisms in the country. Etienne has 1,798 total yards and 19 touchdowns, and has an average of 8.2 YPC.
Ohio State’s defense is the best in the country by SP +. The Buckeyes didn’t lose pace without Nick Bosa, as Chase Young got the opportunity and became the best defensive player in the nation. The youngster leads the nation with 16.5 sacks, and has forced six breaths this season.
When Ohio State has the ball
Justin Fields was excellent quarterback for the Buckeyes. Fields is exactly the quarterback Ryan Day wants to run this offense, completing 67.5 percent of his passes for 2,953 yards with 40 touchdowns and one interception. He is also a very good runner, averaging 6.7 YPC when adjusting for sack stairs, and this ground game could find success against Clemson.
The state of Ohio has two excellent backs in J.K. Dobbins and Master Teague III to help Fields move the chains. Dobbins and Teague have combined for 2,609 yards and 24 touchdowns, and Clemson’s seven front is not what it was last year. Although the Tigers allow 3.0 YPC (eighth in the FBS), they have yet to play an opponent who can test the running defense.
Clemson’s defense has yet to face an offense ranked in the top 30 of SP +. The Tigers have an excellent secondary, but the front seven has not seen an offensive line like that in 2019.
Betting trends in the Fiesta Bowl
- The Tigers are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games.
- Clemson is 19-7 in its last 26 games.
- Ohio State is 12-4 ATS in its last 16 games and 10-2 ATS in its last 12 games with winning records.
Ohio State vs. Clemson Forecast
This is a coin flip game, so go with the little outsider. Clemson hasn’t seen a team with that much talent all year, and the Buckeyes have an advantage after they’ve been tested.