Despite being the nation’s top-ranked team and only unbeaten program in the FBS this season, the Clemson Tigers have been installed as shocking bowl pick underdogs to take down the Oklahoma Sooners when they square off in their College Football Playoff semifinal showdown in the Capital One Orange Bowl on Dec. 31 at 4:00 PM ET, live from Miami Gardens, Fla. Now, let’s find out if the Tigers can either win or cash in against a fourth-ranked Oklahoma squad that won seven straight games to close out the regular season.
How To Bet the Tigers vs. Sooners 2015 Orange Bowl Odds, TV & Game Info
When: Thursday, December 31, 4:00 PM ET
Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
LINE: Oklahoma -3.5
The Oklahoma Sooners are favored to beat the Clemson Tigers by 3.5 points after opening as 4-point faves. The game’s O/U Total is sitting at 65.5 after opening at 64.5. The Sooners are a -170 pick against the Moneyline while the Tigers sit at +150.
— Clemson Football (@ClemsonFB) December 29, 2015
Why Bet The Clemson Tigers Odds at +3.5
Because they’ve answered the bell every single time and have an elite quarterback! Clemson has answered the bell every single time this season and have one of the nation’s best quarterbacks leading them in dual-threat signal-caller Deshaun Watson. The Tigers’ elusive leader finished third in the Heisman Trophy balloting after passing for 3,512 yards with 30 touchdowns and rushing for 887 yards and an additional 11 scores. “I think he’s exceptional,” Sooners coach Bob Stoops told reporters of Watson. “What a great athlete – thrower, runner, everything. I really have a great respect and appreciation for what a quality player he is.”
Sophomore running back Wayne Gallman has had a fine, if underrated season in rushing for 1,332 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, Gallman is now just yards shy of surpassing the school mark set by Raymond Priester in 1996. Thanks mostly to their two most exceptional offensive players, Clemson averaged a stellar 38.5 points per game to rank 16th in scoring.
Clemson also has an elite defense that limited the opposition to 20.2 points per game (20th). The Tigers are led by a sure-fire future NFL star in junior defensive end Shaq Lawson. The athletic big man has recorded 9.5 sacks and leads the nation with 22.5 tackles for a loss.
Why Bet The Oklahoma Sooners Odds at -3.5
Because they can score the ball like crazy and have plenty of talent! Not only have the Sooners won seven straight games coming into this contest, but they’ve averaged a stunning 52.0 points per game during the stretch. Quarterback Baker Mayfield finished fourth in the Heisman voting after passing for 3,389 yards and 35 touchdowns while rushing for an additional 420 yards and seven scores.
The Sooners also have one of the nation’s best running back in sophomore Samaje Perine complement Mayfield’s prowess. And an elite wide receiver in senior Sterling Shepard. Perine has rushed for 1,291 yards and 15 touchdowns this season to move his career total to 3,004 rushing yards to join Adrian Peterson (2004-05) as the only Sooners running backs to top 3,000 in their first two seasons. Shepard has caught 79 passes for 1,201 yards and 11 touchdowns and ranks second in school history in catches (226) and receiving yardage (3,395).
Thanks to their bevy of skill position players, the Sooners ranked third in the nation in scoring (45.8 ppg). Defensively, Oklahoma also was solid in limiting its opponents to just 20.8 points per game to rank 22nd in the country. Senior linebacker Eric Striker has a fine campaign in racking up a team-high 16 tackles for losses to go along with 7.5 sacks. Cornerbacks Zack Sanchez (six interceptions) and Jordan Thomas (five interceptions) combined for 11 interceptions.
“They’re playing as good as anybody in the country right now, maybe the best of anybody in the country, so we know they’ll be fired up to play us.” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney told reporters.
Expert Pick & Final Score Prediction
57 percent of the betting public like Clemson to cover the spread and I say that I’m surprised that figure is so low. I know the Oklahoma Sooners have plenty of talent, particularly on the offensive side of the ball, but for me, there is no containing Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and that will be the difference in this contest.
Despite their 1-4 ATS mark in their last five games, Clemson has gone 2-1 SU and ATS in their last three games as an underdog of four points or more. I know Oklahoma is 8-2 ATS as a favorite of four points or more, but in the end, I just can’t bring myself to go against the unbeaten Clemson Tigers and ‘virtually unstoppable’ quarterback Deshaun Watson.
I like Clemson to cover the spread as slight underdogs by getting the outright win!
My final score prediction: Clemson 35, Oklahoma 31