There is a long history of douche-baggery within the BCS and the new playoff system doesn’t seem to be exempt: Enter two SEC teams –although I must admit, I don’t really see any other viable alternative … I mean really, did anyone want to see another year of Ohio State vs Clemson? And does anyone think that the result would have been any different? No— into the 2017-18 CFB playoffs.
Georgia Bulldogs vs. Oklahoma Sooners
The Rose Bowl opened up as a pick ’em which is just a pretentious betting term for a point-spread that has no actual point-spread … So, just a way to get Money Line or outright win with the standard 10-cent bookie vigorish. Anyhow, when you see these types of lines, it means that Las Vegas and offshore outlets think that it is an anything-goes kind of game that has a 50-50 shot of going either way.
Since the betting lines have been released, Georgia has been bet up to 2-point favorites. This doesn’t mean much since it is still under a field goal and essentially just means that the Bulldogs have been a little bit more popular with the public. This makes total sense since they are an SEC team and we know how the general public views the SEC.
So, let’s break it down. Oklahoma’s bomb-dropping offense has averaged 44.92 points per game this season. But now they face a ball-hawking Georgia defense led by Safety, Dominick Sanders, that allows just 13.23 points per game. The Georgia Bulldogs are putting up a healthy 34.92 points per game against the Sooners respectable but not great, 25.00 points allowed. What could really spell trouble for the Sooners is the Bulldog’s ability to control the game by grinding it out on the ground (#11 in rushing yards) … and unfortunately, Oklahoma is sporting a mediocre #40 run defense.
The most exciting thing about this game is that Baker Mayfield vs. Georgia secondary. Georgia boasts the #2 pass defense in the country, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are going to shut Mayfield down if Baker Mayfield gets the help of some great play-calling and starts finding spots with even one inch of space to drop the ball in, we could see a great game. The last thing Georgia wants to do is getting into a scoring shootout with Oklahoma.
My Pick for the Game: I am inclined to take OVER 60 as Both teams could easily score into the 30s, but that top-rated secondary versus the Oklahoma receivers is too big of a question mark for me. So, my pick is Georgia to win by 2 or more at Heritage Sports at just a 5-cent bookie rake.
Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Clemson Tigers
Again, the opening lines were set at a pick ’em … and can you guess who has been receiving all of the money to be bet into the favorite spot? Yup, you guessed it … Alabama. The Crimson Tide are now sitting at 3-point favorites. This is important to note because it is a key number. Unlike the Georga-Oklahoma game at 2 points, where one and two-point wins are few and far between and the favorite wins at a 64.08% rate, everything changes at a 3-point margin. 3-point victories happen all the time and over a 587-game sample-size, the favorite’s win percentage drops to 55.8 percent –which is down from nearly 2/3rds of the time to slightly better than a coin-flip (though still quite profitable over the long haul).
Both of these teams are a little bit beat up on the defensive side of the ball though it should be a non-issue as they are both loaded. Alabama is the #1 Power 5 Defense and Clemson is #2, but what concerns me in this Sugar Bowl is Clemson’s lack of super-dynamic players on the offensive side of the ball. They can still score and put up numbers, but they don’t have the big playmakers they’ve had over the last two seasons. Then you have to add in the Grudge-Match factor. Alabama holds a 2-1 advantage over their last three meetings, but we all remember that 35-31 Tigers win the last time around. The Crimson Tide remembers this and wants revenge.
My Pick for the Game is Alabama ( -3). Make sure to check Heritage Sports for latest odds on game. I figure the worst-case scenario is a push. If you are really in it to win it, you can buy the half-point and take Alabama -2.5 at (-127) but paying 27-cents on the dollar is a bit too pricey for my blood.