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Clemson 6.5-Point Favorites vs Ohio State in Opening CFP Semifinal Sugar Bowl Odds

John Perrotto

by John Perrotto in College Football

Dec 20, 2020 · 10:11 AM PST

Trevor Lawrence throwing
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) throws to an open receiver during the first half of the Atlantic Coast Conference championship NCAA college football game against Notre Dame, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
  • Clemson has opened as a 6.5-point favorite over Ohio State in a College Football Playoff semifinal in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans
  • Clemson downed Notre Dame 34-10 in the ACC Championship Game, avenging its lone regular-season loss
  • Ohio State got past Northwestern 22-10 in the Big Ten Championship Game to keep its record perfect at 6-0

Clemson has opened as a 6.5-point favorite over Ohio State in a College Football Playoff semifinal in the Sugar Bowl on January 1st at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

Clemson will carry a 10-1 record and three-game winning streak into the CFP. Meanwhile, Ohio State is 6-0 in the pandemic-shortened season.

Clemson vs Ohio State CFP Semifinal Opening Odds

Team Spread
Ohio State +6.5 (-110)
Clemson -6.5 (-110)

Odds taken Dec. 20 from  William Hill

Clemson Avenges Lone Loss

Trevor Lawrence had 412 yards of total offense as the MVP of the ACC title game, with Clemson rolling over Notre Dame on Saturday.

Lawrence completed 25 of 36 passes for 322 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. He also had a 34-yard scoring run among his 90 yards rushing on 14 attempts.

Among Lawrence’s highlights was this perfectly thrown 67-yard TD pass to Amari Rodgers for Clemson’s first score late in the first quarter.

That performance helped Clemson avenge its only loss of the regular season, 47-40 on the road to the Fighting Irish in double overtime on Nov. 7th. Lawrence did not play in that game after testing positive for COVID-19.

Clemson’s defense sacked Ian Book six times and held Notre Dame to 263 total yards. The Irish had 518 in the regular season matchup.

Uplifting Sermon

Ohio State running back Trey Sermon rushed for a school-record 331 yards, which also set the Big Ten title game record. The Buckeyes seemingly needed every one of those yards in Indianapolis.

The transfer from Oklahoma carried 29 times in breaking Eddie George’s record. Sermon’s three-yard touchdown run with 4:03 remaining sealed the win.

Sermon also put Ohio State ahead for good 13-10 on a 9-yard scoring run with 2:41 left in the third quarter.

Justin Fields had a rough day, completing just 12 of 27 passes for 114 yards. He was unable to throw in the latter stages of the game because of a sprained right thumb.

Ohio State’s defense forced three turnovers – two interceptions and a fumble – by Peyton Ramsey in the second half.

OSU Missing Many Players

While Fields’ thumb is Ohio State’s biggest concern coming out of the Big Ten title game, he will have nearly two weeks for it to heal before taking on Clemson.

Meanwhile, running back Master Teague left the game in the first half with an undisclosed injury and standout wide receiver Chris Olave did not make the trip for reasons Ohio State did not disclose.

Teague has 449 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 89 carries this season. Olave has 36 receptions for 528 yards and five TDs.

In all, the Buckeyes had nearly two dozen players on the inactive list, including linebacker Barrett Browning, defensive end Tyler Friday and punter Drue Chrisman.

Coach Ryan Day said only a few of those players might have to sit out the mandated 21 days for a positive COVID-19 test.

Wide receiver Joseph Ngata was the only significant Clemson player to the miss the ACC title game. He has caught seven passes for 83 yards this season.

Line Too High?

Clemson looked dominant Saturday and Ohio State did not.

Yet it is hard to ignore what the Buckeyes have done, even in  a six-game season. They have an average margin of victory of 21.5 points and five of their wins have been by at least 12 points.

The Tigers should certainly be favored but look for the line to drop at least a little bit.

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