On January 1, 2018, the NCAA college football playoffs begin as the two semifinal contests hit center stage, with Alabama taking on Clemson in the Sugar Bowl, and Oklahoma taking on Georgia in the Rose Bowl.
For Alabama, this will be their 66th the bowl appearance and will be the third season in a row that they will face Clemson in the playoffs. The last two seasons, these two teams battle for the national championship, with Alabama winning in 2016, and Clemson winning last season. This will be the 42nd bowl appearance for the Tigers.
Georgia will be appearing in their 53rd bowl game, with their last appearance being in the 2016 Liberty Bowl, where Georgia beat TCU 31-23. Oklahoma will be appearing in their 51st bowl game. Their last was last season versus Auburn where they defeated the Tigers, 35-19. These two teams have never faced each other in a bowl game before.
Crimson Tide vs. Tigers
Spread: Alabama -3 (-110); Clemson +3 (-110) Get the latest CBB odds direct from Las Vegas with WagerTalk Live Lines
Moneyline: Alabama -152; Clemson +132
Totals: Over/Under 47.0 (-110)
Why Alabama Will Win?
Alabama enters this game with a huge chip on their shoulder. There are many who don’t feel that this team belongs in the playoffs, considering that they did not win a conference title. Expect that to become a source of motivation in this game.
Alabama lost to Auburn, primarily because they could not stop the Auburn offense, which gained 408 yards. That was due to two of their primary defensive stars, Christian Miller and Terrell Lewis, both being out for that game. They both return, as does Mack Wilson, which should make a big difference defensively.
Quarterback Jalen Hurts has a lot to prove. The sophomore had an outstanding season and was considered as one of the Heisman Trophy candidates, but he lost to Clemson last year, plus has a loss versus Auburn. He needs a big game victory, and this one should be a huge motivation for him.
Why Clemson Will Win?
Last year it was Deshaun Watson who led the Clemson offense to victory, and he was sensational. Junior Kelly Bryant has stepped into his shoes and been phenomenal, and he will likely be the best player on the field on Monday.
The Tigers have one of the best defensive fronts in the country, led by Clelin Ferrell, Christian Wilkins, and Dexter Lawrence. These three helped Clemson to allow Miami just 104 yards rushing in the ACC title game.
The Tigers have played a much tougher schedule, with their only loss coming on a Friday night at Syracuse. They have proven they belong and are just better than Alabama.
Crimson Tide vs. Tigers Betting Lines
This may seem like blasphemy to SEC supporters, but Clemson is just a better team. They are more consistent offensively and have just as good a defense. Take the Tigers to win a hard-fought battle.
My Pick: Clemson +3 (-110)
Totals: Under 47.0 (-110)
Bulldogs vs. Sooners
Spread: Georgia -0.5 (-110); Oklahoma +0.5 (-110) Get the latest CBB odds direct from Las Vegas with WagerTalk Live Lines
Moneyline: Georgia -125; Oklahoma +105
Totals: Over/Under 30.5 (-110)
Why Georgia Will Win?
Georgia as one of the best rushing attacks in all of college football. Running back Nick Chubb is an absolute beast, rushing for 1175 yards and a 6.2 yards per carry average. Sony Michel rushed for 948 yards and a 7.2 yards per carry average. Both rushers scored 13 touchdowns on the ground the season.
The Bulldogs defense allowed just 13.2 points per game and 271 yards of total offense per contest. They are extremely difficult to move the ball against and should make it a very difficult day for this potent Oklahoma offense.
Why Oklahoma Will Win?
Baker Mayfield isn’t just the Heisman Trophy winner. He is the best offensive weapon in the country and should be a huge difference maker in this contest.
The Oklahoma defense is a lot better than many suspect. It is true that they are giving up nearly twice as many points as Georgia does per game, but that is because they play in a conference with a lot of high-powered offenses. Also, teams are having to throw by the end of the first quarter just to keep up with them.
Bulldogs vs. Sooners Betting Lines
They say that defense beats offense the vast majority of the time, but that is not going to be the case here. Oklahoma has not only proven that they can win big games this year, but they are the better team. Expect Mayfield to demonstrate exactly why he won the Heisman Trophy. Also, whoever set a total of 30.5 is absolutely ridiculous.
My Pick: Oklahoma +0.5 (-110)
Totals: Over 30.5 (-110)
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