Sugar Bowl Betting: Ohio State vs. Clemson Tigers Odds & Pick

January 1, 8:00 PM EST

Betting Odds

Point Spread: 
OSU +7/CLEM -7
OSU +240/CLEM -285

Despite some mid-level controversy, Ohio State secured a trip to the College Football Playoffs with a 6-0 SU record and Big Ten Championship. The Buckeyes had three games canceled this season due to COVID-19, which was on top of an already shortened conference only schedule. Many fans felt like the Buckeyes were untested this season, which seemed to show with their struggles against no. 14 Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship Game. The Buckeyes pulled out the victory thanks to a huge performance by running back Trey Sermon, but the victory hardly impressed college enthusiasts around the nation. Still, the Buckeyes will have a chance to silence doubters when they meet the no. 2 Clemson Tigers in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with a trip to the National Championship on the line.

The Clemson Tigers are trying to earn their 3rd straight National Championship appearance. The Tigers won their 2nd National Championship under Head Coach Dabo Swinney two years ago but failed at the chance for a repeat in last year's title game against LSU. The Tigers only loss this season came in a dramatic double-overtime loss to no. 4 Notre Dame at the mid-point in the season. Clemson did not have starting QB Trevor Lawrence available in that game as he was sidelined due to a positive COVID-19 test. However, Clemson and Lawrence exacted their revenge against Notre Dame in blowout fashion (34-10) in the ACC Championship Game to seal their trip to New Orleans. At 10-1 SU with one of the most potent offenses in the country, Clemson is in prime position to make another run at college football's grandest prize.

Ohio State vs. Clemson Betting Analysis

Admittedly, Clemson has been my National Championship pick all season. The offense is completely stacked. Trevor Lawrence is expected to be the number 1 quarterback in this year's NFL Draft following a 22 touchdown and four pick season. Meanwhile, Clemson running back Travis Etienne may be one of the most underrated elite players in the country. Collectively, the Tigers can attack on the ground, in the flats, and stretch the field vertically with elite talent at the skill positions. Needless to say, this is a difficult defensive match-up for anyone. The Buckeyes' defense has been solid against the run, but I think their pass-defense could be their biggest liability in this match-up against Clemson. The Buckeyes have allowed 260 yards per game through the air against mainly subpar passing offenses, which creates a huge opportunity for Lawrence to prove why he is the nation's best passer.

Ohio State vs. Clemson Betting Trends

  • Ohio State is 6-0 SU on the season.
  • Ohio State has hit the "over" in 4 of the last six games as a betting underdog.
  • Ohio State is just 1-4 ATS in the last five games against ACC opponents.
  • Clemson is 10-1 SU in the last 11 games.
  • Clemson has hit the "over" in five of the last seven games.
  • Clemson has hit the "over" in six of the last seven January bowl games.
  • Clemson is 6-1 ATS in the last seven non-regular season games (conference championships/postseason games).

Additionally, I don't like the Buckeyes match-up on the offensive side of the ball either. Despite what Buckeyes' fans may tell you, this is still a one-dimensional offense. QB Justin Fields has been decent, but he is far from the elite level passing threat that you would expect. Instead, the Buckeyes' main threat comes from their relentless ground attack. RB Trey Sermon exploded for 331 yards in the Big Ten Championship Game, which is nearly half of the yards he produced all season. The problem is that Ohio State is going to need a big performance from Sermon, Master Teague, or even Fields to provide enough firepower to match Clemson's scoring threat. Personally, I just don't see how Ohio State is going to be able to create such opportunities. The Tigers' defense has been strong against the run, and I just don't see Ohio State producing 250 plus yards of rushing offense to produce the scoring opportunities or the ball control needed to pull out this victory.

Clemson 7-1 SU in 1st round bowl games

Under Head Coach Dabo Swinney, Clemson has made a National Championship appearance in four of the past five seasons. The only season that the Tigers did not make a National Championship appearance was in 2017 when they were knocked out of the playoffs by Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. As a result, Clemson is 4-1 SU in College Football Playoffs semifinal match-ups and 7-1 SU in the last eight bowl games overall. Swinney has built a winning culture at Clemson, and it can be argued that this is one of his most talented teams since the 2017 championship. Not only is the match-up ideal against the Buckeyes, but this team is built for these moments. Expect Clemson's trends of bowl match-ups and semifinal victories to continue!

Ohio State vs. Clemson Tigers Prediction 1/1/21

Note that Jay's pick was made before it was annouced that Clemson Tigers offensive coordinator Tony Elliott will miss the game after a positive Covid test. 


Free Pick: 
Take Clemson -7