With conference championships and the 2020 college football regular season all wrapped up, bowl season is upon us and College Football Playoff look-ahead lines have been released. With no shakeup in the CFP teams after conference championship weekend, we have our national semifinal matchups set in stone for the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl.
Online sportsbook Bovada has released the CFP look-ahead lines and in the Rose Bowl between No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Notre Dame, it is the top-seeded Crimson Tide listed as 19.5-point favorites with the total set at 66 points.
Rose Bowl: No. 1 Alabama vs No. 4 Notre Dame
|Notre Dame||+19.5||+725||O/U 66|
Meanwhile, in the Sugar Bowl, a rematch from last year’s Fiesta Bowl has No. 2 Clemson coming in as a 7.5-point favorite over No. 3 Ohio State with the total set at 65 points.
Sugar Bowl: No. 2 Clemson vs No. 3 Ohio State
|Ohio State||+7.5||+260||O/U 65|
See Odds Shark’s Best NCAAF Sites
New to betting on college football? Be sure to take a look at our great college football betting guide to help you get in the action. Also, keep an eye on our college football odds page for the latest up-to-date betting lines.
Rose Bowl: Alabama vs Notre Dame
Alabama vs Notre Dame Matchup Report
The lone College Football Playoff team to lose its conference championship game was Notre Dame, taking a 34-10 beatdown from Clemson and leading some to opine that the Irish shouldn’t even be a playoff team. Of course, Notre Dame is the only team to secure a victory over Clemson this year, though the Tigers were without standout quarterback Trevor Lawrence for that game after he tested positive for the coronavirus.
As for Alabama, its SEC championship victory over Florida may have been closer than many (including the sportsbooks) thought it would be. The Crimson Tide won 52-46 but failed to cover the 17-point spread.
Alabama’s stars sparkled in that victory, with Heisman Trophy favorite wide receiver DeVonta Smith catching 15 balls for 184 yards and two touchdowns while running back Najee Harris had five total majors, with two on the ground and three through the air.
The Crimson Tide defense showed some cracks in the second half, surrendering 29 points, more than it gave up in nine full games during the regular season – but I guess that speaks to the Florida offense led by Kyle Trask. I don’t think Notre Dame has the firepower to keep up with Alabama so I like the Crimson Tide to cover the 19.5-point spread and cruise to the national championship game.
Sugar Bowl: Clemson vs Ohio State
Clemson vs Ohio State Matchup Report
There were plenty of stressful moments for Ohio State on the way to winning its fourth straight Big Ten championship and punching its ticket to the CFP. It was announced the morning of the Buckeyes’ game vs Northwestern that 22 players would be absent from the lineup, including starters on defense and No. 1 wide receiver Chris Olave.
The offense and defense looked out of sorts in the first half and the team headed to the locker room down 10-6. However, the defense didn’t allow a point in the second half and Oklahoma transfer running back Trey Sermon exploded to carry the team to victory.
Sermon finished with a record-setting 331 yards and scored two touchdowns in the victory. Some of the 22 players who were missing should be back for the Sugar Bowl, setting up a tremendous semifinal game.
While it was a stressful path for the Buckeyes, Clemson had a sweat-free victory over Notre Dame, exacting revenge for its early November defeat. Trevor Lawrence, projected to go first overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, completed 69.4 percent of his passes for 322 yards and two majors, while senior running back Travis Etienne toted the ball 10 times for 124 yards and a touchdown. The defense held the Irish to just three points heading into the fourth quarter while sacking Irish QB Ian Book six times.
Clemson and Ohio State staged an exciting semifinal game in last year’s College Football Playoff. The Buckeyes led the Tigers 23-21 with under two minutes to go but Lawrence marched Clemson down the field and secured the 29-23 victory. A pivotal moment came in the second quarter when Ohio State DB Shaun Wade was flagged for targeting and ejected with the Buckeyes up 16-0.
There are a lot of familiar faces from that game on both squads, including Heisman Trophy hopeful quarterbacks Lawrence and Justin Fields. I think this game will be very intense and an evenly matched battle, so I’ll take Ohio State +7.5 in a game that could be decided late.