The college bowl season has officially kicked off, highlighted by the College Football Playoff semifinals, so we are looking ahead and making CFP predictions!
This year, the CFP is made up of the Peach Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl as the four best teams in all of NCAA football battle for the sport's ultimate prize, a national championship.
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2020 College Football Playoff Schedule
Both CFP Semifinal games, which take place in the final week of 2019 as the year closes with the two most important games of the season thus far. Here is the schedule:
- Fiesta Bowl (Glendale, AZ): Clemson vs Ohio State - Saturday, December 28 at 4:30 PM EST
- Peach Bowl (Atlanta, GA): Oklahoma vs LSU - Saturday, December 28 at 8 PM EST
- CFP National Championship (New Orleans, LA) - Saturday, January 11, 2020 at 8 PM EST
For the first time in College Football Playoff history, which now spans six years, Alabama is not included among the final four teams. In its place at the top is SEC rival LSU, along with three other elite programs. The final 2020 College Football Playoff rankings go as follows:
- Ohio State
Peach Bowl Picks: Oklahoma vs LSU Predictions
As huge favorites, LSU should reach the 2020 CFP National Championship. This team has dominated some of the best competition college football can offer, including a statement wins against Alabama and owning Georgia in the SEC title game.
Oklahoma is explosive as well and will score, but it won't be enough to keep up with the Heisman Trophy winner. The spread, however, has grown large enough to seriously consider betting against Burrow and the Tigers, though they are 8-5 against the number this season.
But then you remember Oklahoma's identity. An outstanding offense featuring players like QB Jalen Hurts and unreal talents like WR CeeDee Lamb. At the same time, this is a porous defense that LSU is going to dice through incredibly easily. This flies in Big 12 play where only offense matters, but not against elite SEC programs.
It's not as though LSU's defense is on the level of the previous units in recent history because it isn't. Hurts and the Sooners will move the ball and score points, but the Tigers are far more capable of delivering an occasional stop, which makes all the difference. The Sooners' offense makes giving away two touchdowns pretty difficult, but the combination of the Tigers' potent offense with Burrow and Oklahoma's shoddy defense makes us feel like LSU may put up 40-50 points on their own in this one.
Oklahoma is only 5-8 against the spread and needed a miracle comeback to beat Baylor the first time, and barely beat Iowa State and TCU, while losing to Kansas State. Maybe none of that matters now, but LSU's offense with Burrow is capable of doing so much more damage than any group the Sooners have seen.
Pick: LSU Tigers -13.5 (-110), Over 76 Points (-110)
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Fiesta Bowl Predictions: Clemson vs Ohio State Betting Lines
Clemson enters the playoffs as slight favorites over Ohio State at -2 (-110), with the total set at 63 (-110) points, according to NJ betting sites like SugarHouse. Oddsmakers see a matchup between the ACC champs and the Big Ten winners as a pretty close game, hence the small spread.
With QBs like Trevor Lawrence (Clemson) and Justin Fields (OSU), there will undoubtedly be points scored in this game. No team has put up more offensive touchdowns than Ohio State (86), and Clemson isn't far behind (81), while both rank top-five nationally in yards per game.
Both defenses also rank in the top five in fewest touchdowns allowed to opponents, with Clemson being No. 1 in the nation (16). For what it's worth, Ohio State DE Chase Young won the 2019 Chuck Bednarik award for the country's top defensive player and is the best defender on either roster.
Don't let Clemson's unimpressive schedule completely fool you, this team is one of the four best in the country. At the same time, Ohio State's competition level throughout the season has prepared them for a team like Clemson, while that may not go both ways. Clemson's schedule ranks 33rd at Team Rankings, which rated the Ohio State's Big 10-laden schedule as the strongest in the country.
Clemson's defense is the toughest Ohio State will see all season, but the Buckeyes have seen and dominated several defenses that rank in the top 25 in yards per play. The offenses will move, but Ohio State's represents the first dangerous one Clemson will see since the end of September, and the Buckeyes will finish drives unlike some of the previous competition. Include Ohio State and the small line as part of your CFP betting picks on December 28.
Pick: Ohio State +2 (-110) or Moneyline (+106)
College Football Playoff Best Bets For Oklahoma-LSU, Clemson-Ohio State
Other than making College Football Playoff predictions on the moneyline or against the spread, there are alternative ways to build bets for the biggest Saturday of the college football season. Our suggestion is looking into exotic bets like parlays and teasers, and combining elements of both games into one bet.
CFP Predictions 2020: Two-Team Teaser For Semifinal Games
Teasers involve multiple sides (spreads and totals) and allow bettors to modify the point spread in a direction of their choosing. These bets are for those who may not be totally comfortable with the line as-is and want to move it a few points one direction or another.
When it comes to college football, most online sports betting sites will allow you to alter spreads by 6.5, 7, or 7.5 points, with the odds adjusting based on the number of teams in the wager and the amount of points being added to each side.
On SugarHouse Sportsbook, one of the most popular NJ and PA betting sites, using two teams and modifying the spread by 6.5 points comes with +106 odds. For the 2020 College Football Playoff, our choices are LSU and Ohio State. The Tigers were giving 13.5 points to Oklahoma, but a 6.5-point teaser makes this number a much more manageable -7. For Ohio State, the modified spread gives them much more leeway as the line goes from +2 to +8.5 for the CFP semifinals.
This way, LSU doesn't need to win by two whole touchdowns and the Buckeyes can survive a close loss while making your CFP betting picks correct! For information and advice leading up to the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship, visit our college football betting guide!