College Football Playoff Preview | Computer Picks

On Saturday we see two fascinating matchups with the LSU Tigers versus Oklahoma Sooners and Ohio State Buckeyes versus Clemson Tigers. In this article, we’ll provide you our College Football Playoff preview. We study the odds, players, and teams to give you our recommended College Football Playoff picks to beat the betting sites.

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Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl – College Football Playoff Semifinal

4 Oklahoma Sooners (+13.5) vs. #1 LSU Tigers – Total: 75

Saturday, December 28, 2019 – 4:00 p.m. EST

Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl Computer Pick: Oklahoma to cover the spread

The best two offenses in the country get together at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta for the first spot in the College Football Playoff Final, aka the National Championship. It’ll be the Oklahoma Sooners facing the undefeated LSU Tigers. Our betting pick in this game is for Oklahoma to cover the 13.5-point spread. Let’s dive into the numbers to see why we’re rolling with the underdog.

Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl Betting Line: Oklahoma vs. LSU

This spread has been all over the place since opening. We’ve seen it all the way up as far as LSU -14, as low as LSU -11, and now finally back to LSU -13.5. Oklahoma will be missing a few players due to suspension, and that’s part of the reason why things have been moving around a lot. Nonetheless, we’re seeing 72 percent of public bets coming in on LSU and heading in the opposite direction. We believe Oklahoma will do enough to keep this game close.

Oklahoma Betting Form

If Oklahoma is going to have any chance to win, Hurts needs to be at the top of his game. LSU is going to score points, no doubt about it, so matching them tit-for-tat will be of the utmost importance. In the last two CFP matchups, both against SEC teams, Oklahoma lost to Georgia by the score of 54-48 in double overtime two seasons ago and lost to Alabama by the score of 45-34 last season. Oklahoma is also 23-11-1 ATS over the last 35 games versus teams with a winning record.

QB Jalen Hurts was outstanding this season, throwing for 3,634 yards and 32 TDs. In addition, he rushed for 1,255 yards and 18 TDs. Only one team had more total yards per game than Oklahoma’s 554.3 – and that was LSU, with 554.2. The Sooners also rank fifth in the nation with 43.2 points per game. This should be pretty damn fun to watch these two move the ball up and down the field. Oklahoma has scored at least 28 points in every game this season, so don’t expect that to change to tonight.

The one thing holding Oklahoma back in previous trips to the CFP has been its defense. Statistically, the Sooners’ defense has been slightly better or equal to the Tigers this season. As we mentioned, Oklahoma has a history of allowing tons of points against these talented SEC teams. However, they do a great job of keeping up with the pace.

LSU Betting Form

LSU is 8-4-1 ATS this season, with five outright wins (3-1-1 ATS) against Top-10 teams and two of the non-covers coming on spreads of 41.5 points or more. Under head coach Ed Orgeron, the Tigers are 5-2 SU/ATS in games at neutral sites. A lot of people are expecting LSU to completely dominate this game, but Oklahoma can certainly add some major excitement to the table.

This season, the Tigers led the nation with the 554.3 total yards per game and rank third with 47.8 points per game. QB Joe Burrow won the Heisman Trophy on the strength of throwing for 4,715 yards (second-most in the country) and 48 TDs (first in the nation). While many people don’t look at Oklahoma’s defense as one to fear, they’re probably right. However, in terms of covering this 13.5-point spread, we do believe its good enough to get completely embarrassed. LSU’s leading rusher, RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, is listed as questionable for this game with a hamstring injury. Although LSU boasts one of the deepest rosters in the country, that could have a significant impact on the final score.

The last time we saw LSU, they were destroying a somewhat-inept Georgia offense led by Jake Fromm. Oklahoma’s offense is much better than Georgia and the people will certainly see that in this game. We can look at them on the same level as Oklahoma, and we all know how exciting that game was.

Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl Computer Pick: Oklahoma to cover the spread

It’s certainly not the popular pick, but we’ve seen Oklahoma hold their own in these CFP matchups. Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley is looking at a possible job in the NFL next season, so getting his team over the hump will be something he wants to check off before leaving. Riley’s players know that and they’ll want to send him out with an inspired performance. We’re not saying Oklahoma will win this game, but keeping it close is certainly on our radar.

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl – College Football Playoff Semifinal

3 Clemson Tigers (-2.5) vs. #3 Ohio State Buckeyes – Total: 63.5

Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019 – 8:00 p.m. EST

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl Computer Pick: Clemson to cover the spread

The second College Football Playoff matchup features two of the most successful collegiate programs in recent memory, as the Clemson Tigers face the Ohio State Buckeyes at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ. Just as the case is in the first of these two matchups, we should see plenty of offense on display. Nonetheless, our betting pick is for Clemson to cover the 2.5-point spread. Let’s dive into the numbers to see why we’re going with the favorite in this one.

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl Betting Line: Clemson vs. Ohio State

Both of these teams were actually favored in every single one of their games this season – Clemson went 10-3 ATS and Ohio State went 9-4 ATS. The line opened at Clemson -1 and is now at a nice ripe number just under a field goal, essentially needing us to just pick the winner.

Clemson Betting Form

The Clemson football program has won 28 straight games under head coach Dabo Swinney. Although the month of September was a rocky time, the Tigers have been completely dominating the competition since then. In fact, the only time they didn’t cover the spread after September was a 47.5-point line against Wofford – Clemson won the game by 45 points.

This is a very impressive Tigers team that has won every game since October by at least 31 points. They rank fourth in points scored per game (46.5) and first in points allowed per game (10.6). Of course, this matchup against Ohio State is going to be the most challenging of the season. While we haven’t had the opportunity to see it much this season, Clemson has been more than capable of handling themselves in these marquee matchups.

QB Trevor Lawrence and RB Travis Etienne are as good of a 1-2 punch as you’ll find on a college football team. On defense, Clemson is led by All-American LB Isaiah Simmons that can make some game-changing plays. With these three guys at the helm, the Tigers are good hands. Simmons and the Tigers’ defense allowed the fewest first downs (12.3) in the nation this season.

Ohio State Betting Form

Ryan Day will look to keep his perfect 16-0 head-coaching record intact once the night is over. When Urban Meyer was suspended for three games last season, Day took over and filled in admirably for the Ohio State football program. This is the first time back in the CFP for Ohio State since losing to Clemson by the score of 31-0 a couple of seasons ago. While the Buckeyes were 9-4 ATS, they were 1-3 ATS over the last four games.

Ohio State leads the nation with 48.7 points scored per game and the defense ranks second-best in the nation with 12.5 points allowed per game. The Buckeyes are led by QB Justin Fields and RB JK Dobbins on the offensive side of the ball. Fields was quite remarkable this season, with 40 TDs and only one interception thrown. Dobbins was no slouch himself, with 1,829 yards and 20 TDs on the ground.

On the defense, Ohio State has future NFL-star DE Chase Young that can make life difficult on Lawrence. This will be a tough matchup, considering Clemson has only allowed 13 sacks all season.

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl Computer Pick: Clemson to cover the spread

Clemson has won twice against Ohio State in recent memory, 40-35 in the 2014 Orange Bowl and 31-0 in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl. Both of these games were Swinney vs. Meyer, the latter of whom is obviously no longer there. This will certainly be a close matchup, considering both teams have only committed 14 turnovers this season. The first quarter will also be important since both teams have dominated the competition in the opening frame. At the end of the day, we feel like Clemson has the better coach and support system in place. Not to mention, they’ve done it twice before in recent memory.

Al Walsh
Al Walsh Chief Sports Writer