The College Football Playoff kicks off New Year’s Eve with a pair of intriguing matchups as Clemson takes on Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl and Alabama meets Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl. For full betting previews for all bowl games in January head to OddsShark.com.
Orange Bowl: No. 1 Clemson (13-0) vs No. 4 Oklahoma (11-1)
A rematch of last year’s Russell Athletic Bowl will have much more on the line this time around when the top-ranked Clemson Tigers square off against the fourth-ranked Oklahoma Sooners in the first of two College Football Playoff semifinal games.
The Tigers upset the Sooners in a 40-6 rout last year as 6.5-point underdogs, which has motivated Oklahoma even more as a 3.5-point favorite here in the Orange Bowl.
Clemson has won 16 in a row straight up including that victory with an 8-8 mark against the spread. The Tigers have failed to cover the spread in four of their last five heading into this game and will be underdogs for the first time since they played the Sooners.
Oklahoma is riding a seven-game winning streak — going 6-1 ATS — and has gone 8-2 SU and 7-3 ATS in its previous 10 meetings with ACC schools. The Sooners are also 15-1 SU in their last 16 outings after losing the previous game in a matchup.
However, the underdog is 6-2 SU and ATS in the past eight Orange Bowl matchups.
Cotton Bowl: No. 2 Alabama (12-1) vs No. 3 Michigan State (12-1)
The third-ranked Michigan State Spartans hope to repeat what another Big Ten team did to the second-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff semifinals a year ago when they meet this week.
The Ohio State Buckeyes upset the Crimson Tide 42-35 as 7.5-point underdogs en route to winning the national title last year, and the Spartans have an even tougher task ahead of them as 9.5-point betting underdogs in the Cotton Bowl.
Michigan State lost 49-7 to Alabama as an eight-point underdog in the 2011 Capital One Bowl but has gone 7-0 SU and 6-1 ATS in its last seven after losing the previous game in a matchup. The Spartans have won four in a row SU and gone 3-0-1 ATS after suffering their lone loss of the season to the Nebraska Cornhuskers 39-38 as four-point road favorites on November 7.
The Tide have rolled to 10 straight wins with a 6-4 mark ATS since losing 43-37 to the Ole Miss Rebels as nine-point home chalk on September 19. The favorite has covered the spread in six of the past nine Cotton Bowl matchups.