Oklahoma and Clemson return to the Sunshine State for the second straight year, although this time the stakes are certainly higher, as the teams met in the Orange Bowl, which is serving as one of the two national playoff semifinal games. The teams met in last year’s Russell Athletic Bowl and the Sooners couldn’t do anything right in a 40-6 loss, as Oklahoma made five turnovers and trailed 40-0 after three quarters.
In some ways, this game resembles last year’s Rose Bowl, where No. 1 Florida State was an underdog to Oregon in the playoffs, which is again the case here. The Sooners are favored by four points and the total on the game is 64.5
Friday 12/31/2015 4:00 PM
Oklahoma Sooners -4 -105
Vs Clemson Tigers +4 -105
Over 64.5 -105
Under 64.5 -105
Betting odds provided by 5Dimes
The Sooners definitely have revenge on their mind, but in a game of this magnitude, the revenge factor pretty much goes out the window, as Clemson will be out to prove it was no fluke and they can’t take too kindly to being an underdog in this spot.
The Tigers weren’t overly impressive down the stretch, having a few close calls, but not quite to the magnitude that Florida State did a year ago. Clemson finished the season on a 1-4 ATS run, covering only in the ACC championship game against North Carolina. The previously stated turnovers had a part to play in that, as did the fact that they were simply over-valued by the betting public and oddsmakers.
Since an inexplicable loss to Texas, the Sooners have played as well as anybody with the exception of their 30-29 win over TCU, who was without Trevone Boykin, although that can partially be explained by the loss of quarterback Baker Mayfield. Mayfield was injured in the first half and missed the second half after leading the Sooners to 23 points in the first two quarters.
Since the Texas game, the Sooners have averaged nearly 600 yards and 52 points per game. They scored 44 or more points in six of their last seven games, as Mayfield has developed into a solid two-way quarterback. As we’ve seen in the bowl season so far, a quarterback who can take off an run is a big advantage for the offense, as that is one thing defenses can’t really plan for with the extra preparation time.
For the season, both teams are well above their opponents’ defensive averages, as the Tigers score 38.5 points against teams that allow 25.1 points per game and the Sooners average 45.7 points against teams that allow 30.7 points per game. Oklahoma scores 44.5 points per game on the road and the Tigers average 42.2 points in road games.
The total is in the mid-60s due to both defenses holding opponents in the low 20s, but both also surrendered a number of points when they faced off against the better offenses they faced. Both were good at shutting down the weaker offensive teams, which won’t be the case today.
The winner of the game should score close to 40 points, so believe the over 64.5 is the way to go in this game between two potent offenses.
The Pick: Over 64.5 - Get it at 5Dimes
Guest Pick by: Allen Moody - About.com Sports Gambling Expert
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