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Orange Bowl Betting – Clemson Getting No Respect vs. Okla

Sascha Paruk

by Sascha Paruk in News

Updated Jan 17, 2018 · 9:39 AM PST

(1) Clemson Tigers vs (4) Oklahoma Sooners (-4, 69 o/u)

Despite being the no. 1 team in the nation, the undefeated Clemson Tigers (13-0, 8-0 ACC) opened as 1.5-point dogs to the no. 4 Oklahoma Sooners (11-1, 8-1 Big 12) for the Orange Bowl, which doubles as a national semi-final this season. Evidently, bettors didn’t think that was quite enough, and the Tigers enter tonight’s game (4:00 PM Eastern) getting four points against the Big 12 champs.

That line is due, in part, to some lackluster performances from Clemson, especially late in the season (see their narrow 37-32 win over the struggling South Carolina Gamecocks). But it’s mostly thanks to Oklahoma’s strong play down the stretch.

The Sooners closed the year with seven straight wins and beat three top-20 teams in their final three games: no. 6 Baylor (44-34, road), no. 18 TCU (30-29, home), and no. 11 Oklahoma State (50-23, road).

The Tigers have three top-25 wins on their resume, as well – 24-22 over no. 6 Notre Dame, 23-14 over no. 13 Florida State, and 45-37 over no. 10 UNC – but none of those came on the road.

It’s a bit nit-picky to criticize Clemson for its lack of quality road wins. After all, they can only play the schedule in front of them. But the reality is that Oklahoma, which plays a much tougher Big 12 slate, will come into the game the more battle-tested team and with more impressive wins to its credit.

A similar situation presented itself last season when the Pac-12’s Oregon Ducks faced the unbeaten Seminoles out of the ACC. And we all know how that ended.

Not only is Oklahoma’s recent play giving bettors confidence, the trends are in their favor, as well. The Sooners went an impressive 9-3 ATS on the year, while Clemson was a game under .500 (6-7 ATS).

Look for Baker Mayfield and his Oklahoma teammates to overpower Clemson as this game gets into the later stages, avenging last seasons’ 40-6 rout in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

Pick: Oklahoma (-4). 

(Photo credit: Julie Lazalier Harvey [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)

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