The College Football Playoff is entering its sixth season, and Clemson and Ohio State are the only two recent champions in this year’s edition. The Tigers have won two national championships in the last three seasons, and they are favored to beat Ohio State by the college football betting odds despite being a worse seed.
The Buckeyes won the first ever CFP national championship back in 2014, but they haven’t been back to the title game since that point, while LSU and Oklahoma have title droughts lasting longer than a decade. That will create an interesting dynamic of the old guard versus the new guard in the title game even though all four teams involved are blue bloods at this point.
LSU Tigers -13.5 vs. Oklahoma Sooners, O/U 76
Oklahoma will be very short handed entering this game, and that’s not a good sign for the Sooners considering they are underdogs by almost two touchdowns per the college football betting odds. Defensive end Ronnie Perkins, running back Rhamondre Stevenson, and wide receiver Trejan Bridges have been suspended for failing drug tests, while safety Delarrin Turner-Yell is out with a collarbone injury.
The Sooners were already behind the eight ball considering what we’ve seen from LSU. Joe Burrow was the runaway winner in the race for the Heisman Trophy, and he led the Tigers to six victories over top ten opponents. Burrow has shredded every defense he has faced in 2019, so he is likely to have similar success against the Oklahoma Sooners. The Sooners’ defense has improved in Alex Grinch’s first year as defensive coordinator, but there’s still a lot to work on in the offseason, and problems on this side of the ball nearly led to Oklahoma dropping multiple games.
There are no such worries on offense. Oklahoma hasn’t missed a beat with Jalen Hurts at the helm, and he was one of the Heisman Trophy finalists after posting eye-popping numbers with the Sooners. Lincoln Riley’s offense can drop 30 points or more on most teams, but they don’t have the depth at running back they did earlier this season after the Stevenson suspension and Trey Sermon injury. Kennedy Brooks and Hurts have combined to run for more than 2,200 yards and 23 touchdowns though.
LSU boasts two excellent receivers in Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase. Chase has caught 73 passes for 1,498 yards and 18 touchdowns, averaging 20.5 YPC. Chase has 88 receptions for 1,207 yards with 14 touchdowns, and Terrace Marshall Jr. has been targeted in the red zone with 37 catches for 545 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire is questionable to play due to a hamstring injury though, potentially depriving LSU of its best running back. Edwards-Helaire has 1,290 yards and 16 touchdowns on the year, and he has thrived with Burrow slinging the ball everywhere.
— College Football Playoff (@CFBPlayoff) December 23, 2019
Clemson Tigers -2 vs. Ohio State Buckeyes, O/U 63
People have been doubting the Tigers all year, but no one is doubting Clemson now. The oddsmakers have made them favorites over Ohio State according to the college football betting odds, and Trevor Lawrence has been on fire after a slow start to the season.
Lawrence and Clemson have shredded every opponent they faced after September. Their smallest margin of victory was 31 points, as this offense scored at least 38 points on every opponent. The defense has yet to allow more than 20 points in a game despite losing one of the most talented defensive lines in this history of college football, and that’s not a great sign for Ohio State.
The Buckeyes have looked more vulnerable in recent weeks after appearing to be the best team in the country for most of the season. Ohio State was punched in the mouth by Penn State, Michigan, and Wisconsin in consecutive weeks, and that has many believing the Buckeyes are vulnerable.
Ohio State has two excellent players in Justin Fields and Chase Young though. Fields has had an incredible season at quarterback, and Young is the best defensive player in the country. The key for the Buckeyes here will be winning the line of scrimmage.
Check out the latest college football betting odds.