No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. No, 2 Clemson Tigers
Saturday, Dec. 31, 7 p.m. (ET) ESPN
NFL Pointspread: Ohio State -3
Total Line: 59.5
The Big Ten’s Buckeyes had just one straight-up loss this season against 11 wins, but it was not an easy ride back to the College Football Playoff semifinals with an even 6-6 record against the spread. They survived more than a few close calls including extremely tight finishes against Michigan State and Michigan by a combined four points to close out the regular season. The total has gone OVER closing line in three of Ohio State’s last four contests.
The star power on this team revolves around JT Barrett at quarterback and Mike Weber as the lead running back. Barrett finished the season with 2,428 passing yards and 24 touchdown throws against just five interceptions. He was also the team’s second leading rusher with 847 yards on the ground. Weber ran the ball 177 times for 1,072 yards and nine touchdowns for an average of 6.1 yards a carry. Ohio State’s defense had just as much to do with the team’s success behind a points-allowed average of 14.2.
Clemson is another team making a return trip to the CFP semifinals with an overall record of 12-1. The Tigers were 7-1 SU in the ACC this season and it got past Virginia Tech 42-35 as 10.5-point favorites in the conference title game. That was just one of quite a few tight games this season that resulted in a 6-7 record ATS. They failed to cover in five of their last seven games and the total went OVERBetAnySports closing line in their last four games.
When it came to offensive firepower for Clemson as the 14th-highest scoring team in the nation (40.2 points), the primary weapon was junior quarterback Deshaun Watson. He has finished in the top three of the Heisman Trophy voting the last two seasons as one of the top players in the country. Watson threw for 3,914 yards and 37 touchdowns this season while also running the ball 129 times for 529 yards and six scores. The Tigers also relied heavily on a defense that was 12th in the country in points allowed (18.4).