Odds Preview: College Football Playoff, New Year’s Six bowl games

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Ohio State and Clemson each take some negative trends into the betting matchup for the Fiesta Bowl, the second College Football Playoff semifinal set for New Year’s Eve.

The Buckeyes are listed as three-point favorites on the college football bowl game odds against the Tigers at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Ohio State is 2-6 against the spread over its last eight games. That is barely better than the 1-5 ATS mark the Tigers have in their last six games against teams with winning records.

Each team’s offense averages 40-plus points. The Buckeyes, led by QB J.T. Barrett and RB Mike Weber, have the more efficient attack. The Tigers, with star QB Deshaun Watson and TE Jordan Leggett, are more explosive. The game might come down to which defense is more disruptive. Clemson has racked up 46 sacks, while S Malik Hooker and the Buckeyes thrive at causing turnovers.

The storied programs met in the 2014 Orange Bowl, with Clemson winning. Ohio State is 11-1 SU after losing the previous game in a matchup.

The Alabama Crimson Tide are favored by 16.5 points against the Washington Huskies in the other CFP semifinal, the Peach Bowl in Atlanta on December 31. Huskies QB Jake Browning, who struggled with reads against Colorado in the Pac-12 Championship Game, is facing OLB Reuben Foster and the No. 1-ranked scoring defense. Alabama QB Jalen Hurts could hurt the Huskies with his mobility, but Washington should not be written off totally.

The Michigan Wolverines are seven-point favorites against the Florida State Seminoles on the Orange Bowl odds, with that game taking place on December 30 in Miami. The Seminoles’ 8-0 SU streak will be on the line as superstar RB Dalvin Cook faces Michigan’s No. 2-ranked defense. Michigan, presuming QB Wilton Speight is healthy, should be able to put up some points against FSU, which allows 24 points per game.

The Wisconsin Badgers are 7.5-point favorites against the Western Michigan Broncos in the Cotton Bowl, the early New Year Six’s game on January 2. The speedy Broncos are 4-0 ATS in their last four games against the Big Ten and have great catalysts such as WR Corey Davis and DE Keion Adams. Wisconsin, with OLB T.J. Watt and CB Shelton Sojourn, can play lights-out defense.

The USC Trojans are favored by seven against the Penn State Nittany Lions in the Rose Bowl. Penn State is 8-0 ATS over its last eight games but hasn’t seen a passing game like Southern Cal’s, which is led by QB Sam Darnold and future NFL WR JuJu Schuster-Smith. Penn State QB Trace McSorley is hard to shut down, but LB Michael Hutchings and Southern Cal’s defense has been very solid for the last two months.

The Oklahoma Sooners are 4.5-point favorites against the Auburn Tigers in the Sugar Bowl. Auburn is 7-2 ATS over its last nine games and will trot out an efficient pass defense against Oklahoma’s irresistible combo of QB Baker Mayfield and WR Dede Westbrook. The Sooners’ major weakness, pass defense (119th nationally in aerial yards allowed), might not matter much against the Tigers (112th in passing yards).