Sugar Bowl Predictions | Ohio State vs Clemson Pick

Ohio State v sClemson Odds

Sugar Bowl Predictions | Ohio State vs Clemson Pick: Dabo Swinney and Clemson have the most bowl game ATS wins (11-4) over the last 11 years going back to when Swinney was hired in 2009. The Tigers have covered the spread by an average of +6.6 points per game across every bowl game played in the Swinney era. On Friday night, the Tigers look to punch their ticket to their fifth national title game over the last six years, as they are -7 point favorites vs Ohio State in the rematch of last year’s semi final.

Sugar Bowl Ohio State Clemson
Opening ATS Line +7 (-110) -7 (-110)
Total Over 68 (-110) Under 68 (-110)
Where/When Mercedes-Benz Superdome Fri, Jan 1st, 8:00 PM ET

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day is 22-1 in his career as the Buckeyes’ coach, with the only loss being their 29-23 loss in the semi-finals to Clemson last year, a game that had the Tigers lined as -2.5 point favorites over Ohio State.

The Buckeyes have a 12-8 ATS record since Day came on as head coach at the start of the 2019 season, winning games by an average of +29.6 points, and covering by an average of +7.2 points per game. However, Ohio State has not had a great year against the spread in 2020, and are in fact 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games against teams with a winning record.

As mentioned, Clemson are 11-4 ATS since Swinney came on as head coach in 2009, which includes a 10-2 ATS run in their 12 games, and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 college football playoff semifinal games. The Tigers have been known to take their foot off the gas at times, which can be reflected by their 5-6 ATS record in 2020, but one thing is for sure, they do not take the foot off the gas in bowl games, and have won by a consistent margin in these scenarios over the last 11 years.

Match-Up and Trends

Team Record ATS O/U
Ohio State 6-0 3-3 3-2-1
Clemson 10-1 5-6 6-5

The Buckeyes are 3-3 ATS this season, with all six games coming as the chalk favorite. in fact, since 2017 when Ryan Day came to Ohio State as an offensive coordinator, the Buckeyes have only been an underdog twice, and have a 1-1 record when getting the points. Historically, however, this team has a rich tradition of covering the spread as an outright dog, going 20-8 ATS in their last 28 games as the underdog.

On the flip side, Clemson also comes into Friday night’s game being the ATS favorite in every game they’ve played in 2020, with a sub .500 record of 5-6 ATS. The Tigers were an average moneyline favorite of -1111 in their 11 games this year, with the only game seeing them lined as a favorite of any shorter than -400, was the game they dropped to Notre Dame back in November.

Measure of Expectation

Team ML Profit ML Fade Avg. Margin Avg. ATS Margin
Ohio State +$54 -$600 +21.5 -0.9
Clemson -$39 -$830 +27.4 +1.1

You kind of have to throw the measure of expectation out the window with this game. Ohio State has been slightly profitable on the moneyline in 2020, but with 5 less games played than Clemson. Apart from that, Clemson has won games by a higher margin than the Buckeyes, and have covered the spread by a higher average then them as well. As mentioned, Clemson has had a tendency to take their foot off the gas in throw away games, but will surely be up for the task at hand tonight.

Ohio State vs Clemson Pick:

The College Football Playoffs this year has followed a very simple formula. Alabama and Clemson are far and away the best teams in the country, Notre Dame is likely the 3rd best team, and Ohio State has been gifted a position in the playoffs with a six-win season.

This is a very similar set of circumstances that we saw last year, with Clemson and LSU being the far and away better teams, and it looked that way right up until the start of the Fiesta Bowl. Clemson got off to a tough start against the Buckeyes last year, and fell behind early and trailed 10-0 going into the 2nd quarter. If it wasn’t for such a slow start, both favorites last year would have pulled away by an even heavier margin, without a doubt.

With all that being said, Clemson is a far better team than they were last year, and Ohio State is not. Not to mention, Ohio State starting QB and one time Heisman candidate Justin Fields find himself on the Buckeyes’ long list of players on the injury report. Fields sustained a thumb injury in the Big-10 Championship game earlier this month, but told media that he would be ‘good by Friday night.’

It goes without saying, that if Ohio State doesn’t play to their full potential, this game will likely be a wash. The margin of error is very small for the Buckeyes in this game, and with their star starting quarterback nursing a hand injury, things may get dicey very quick.

As for the total, this game opened at 65.5 and has since moved to 68. These two teams have had an average point total of 62.95 points per game in a combined 17 games played. The way this breaks down is pretty simple. If Clemson covers, this game likely goes Over, if Ohio State covers, the game is likely very close and stays under. When considering all of these other intangible factors, along with the difference in overall talent. The best judgment given here is that Clemson wins by a sizable margin, somewhere along the lines of 42-27. Take Clemson and the Over.

Miami Orange Bowl

Ohio State Wins Sugar Bowl