Ohio State Buckeyes (6-0) at Clemson Tigers (10-1)
College Football: Friday, January 1, 2021 at 8:00 pm (Mercedes-Benz Superdome)
The Line: Clemson Tigers -7.5 -- Over/Under: 65.5 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
The Clemson Tigers face off with the Ohio State Buckeyes Friday in New Year's Day college football action in the Sugar Bowl College Football Playoff Game from Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
Coming into this Sugar Bowl matchup, Ohio State is 6-0 so far. The Buckeyes have taken out Indiana, Michigan State and Northwestern in their last three outings. As for the Tigers, they’re 10-1 this season. Since their lone loss of the year, Clemson has beaten Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech and Notre Dame in succession. Check back all season long for free college football picks at Sports Chat Place.
Ohio State has been rolling along quite well this year, but they’ve got a couple of close escapes in the books. The Buckeyes started out with wins over Nebraska, Penn State, Rutgers and Indiana. A big 52-12 win over Michigan State kicked off the month of December, and Ohio State beat Northwestern 22-10 in their last appearance.
In the win over the Wildcats, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields managed just 114 yards and two interceptions off 12-of-27 passing. Julian Fleming led the receivers iwht four grabs for 53 yards, but the real star was Trey Sermon. He posted a mind-boggling 331 yards and two scores off 29 carries.
Over on the Clemson side, they have the one loss and one close finish, but otherwise haven’t really been challenged in 2020. The victories came against Wake Forest, the Citadel, Virginia, Miami, Georgia Tech, Syracuse and Boston College before a 47-40 overtime loss to Notre Dame. Since then it’s been wins 52-17 over Pitt, 45-10 over Virginia Tech and a 34-10 revenge win over the Irish.
In the December 19 victory over Notre Dame, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence posted 322 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Amari Rodgers was the high man in receiving with 121 yards and a score off eight receptions and Travis Etienne managed 124 yards and a score off 10 carries.
The Buckeyes are 4-0 ATS in their last four games in January and 20-8 ATS in their last 28 as an underdog. Ohio State is 1-5 ATS in their last six versus the ACC And 1-4 ATS in their last five on turf.
Meanwhile, Clemson is 10-2 ATS in their last 12 bowl games and 17-4 ATS in their last 21 neutral-site games. The Tigers are 7-2 ATS in their last nine after an ATS win and 23-11 ATS in their last 34 as a favorite.
PICK: I’m sticking with Clemson. Lest we forget, backup quarterback DJ Uiagalelei was under center in the close Boston College game and Notre Dame loss. The running attack wasn’t working at all in the first Irish matchup either (Etienne had just 28 yards on 18 carries). Outside of that, the Tigers have been pretty untouchable. Granted, Ohio State will be a formidable challenge, and Clemson will have to keep that Buckeyes offense in check. Northwestern coughed up 399 yards rushing to Ohio State but managed to minimize the damage on the scoreboard with just 22 Buckeyes points. This will likely be a high-flying and fun-to-watch game, and I think Clemson can bang out a cover late.