Here are our selections for the college football playoffs. All odds courtesy of Oddsshark.com. Both games takes place on Monday, January 1st, New Year’s Day.
Georgia vs. Oklahoma
Line: Georgia by 2½
Analysis: Oklahoma’s offense evolves around Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield. The senior quarterback is brutally efficient with the ball and is highly mobile in cases of play breakdowns. His favorite target is tight end Mark Andrews, who is second on the team in receiving and first in receiving touchdowns.
Of all four teams in the college bowl playoffs, Oklahoma has the worst defense. The Sooners are ranked 81st in the nation in yards allowed, however their defense has held opponents to a respectable 25 points per game. And although this unit will be scrutinized leading into the Rose Bowl, the Sooner defense has held ranked opponents to 20 points or less in three of four matchups this season.
As for Georgia, its offense is run-heavy, thanks to the combination of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Chubb and Michel, who are third and ninth in the SEC in rushing yards respectively, have combined for over 2,000 yards and 26 touchdowns. Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm was forced into starting duties, but the 19-year-old has been incredibly efficient as a passer.
Georgia’s defense is one of the best in the nation and has talent at every single position. However, the linebacker unit may be the most talented group in all of college football. Roquan Smith is coming off a Butkus Award-winning season that saw him lead the Bulldogs in tackles, sacks and quarterback hurries. The back end is stuffed to the brim with upperclassmen who understand their role in the defense and work as one complete unit.
Prediction – Mayfield will have his work cut out for him. If he can be effective in the air, the Sooners should be able to take the Bulldogs to task. But the Georgia defense is the key to the Bulldogs and if they can stop the Sooners, they should be able to play for their first national championship since 1980.
Smooth’s Pick – Georgia (47-25)
New Orleans, Louisiana
Alabama vs. Clemson
Line: Alabama by 3
Clemson might not have Deshaun Watson, Wayne Gallman and Mike Williams, all who have left for the NFL, but the Tiger offense can still score. Junior quarterback Kelly Bryant has stepped into the starting role left by Watson. In addition, the running back tandem of Travis Etienne and Tavien Feaster has combined for 1,403 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns.
Clemson’s defense is as good as ever with the Tigers sitting at the top 10 in the nation in yards allowed, passing defense and points allowed. Clemson has one of the best defensive lines in the country with Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant having put up at least 7.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for a loss. Both are shoe-ins to make the 1st round in next year’s NFL draft.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban has once again turned his team of five-star recruits on defense into arguably the best in the country. No team has allowed fewer yards or points this season than the Tide, plus the team has racked up 31 sacks and 20 turnovers.
The Crimson Tide returns several key players on offense last season. Quarterback Jalen Hurts has become an incredibly efficient passer as well as one of Bama’s best rushing threats. The only Tide player to catch more than 15 passes this season has been Calvin Ridley but finding a second consistent threat will be important in this game.
Prediction – Over the past two seasons, Clemson and Alabama have treated college football fans to two of the best national championship games of all time. This game also has the makings of a classic as well and the point spread shows it. This will be another war in the trenches. And one that will favor Alabama’s powerful defense.
Smooth’s Pick – Alabama (39-28)
Now with all of our picks, past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. If you have a gambling problem, then please seek help by going to gamblersanonymous.org.