College Football Semifinals Betting Preview

The road to the College Football Playoff National Championship goes through the Sugar Bowl and the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, as they get the distinction as this year’s playoff semifinals matchups.

First up in the Sugar Bowl the Alabama Crimson Tide face the Clemson Tigers, with Bovada Sportsbook listing the Crimson Tide as a 3-point favorite. This marks the third straight year that Clemson and Alabama have faced off in the playoffs, previously meeting up in the last two national championship games.

In the first title game two years ago, Alabama outlasted Clemson to win 45-40 but failed to cover as a 6.5-point favorite. In last year’s rematch, Alabama was a 6.5-point favorite again, but Clemson came out on top in a 35-31 upset win.

Entering the rubber match, Clemson has won six straight while going 4-1-1 against the spread. The Tigers are also very tough as an underdog, having gone 5-1 straight up in their last six and winning seven straight ATS. They were never listed as an underdog this season while going 12-1 SU and 8-4-1 ATS.

Alabama was also favored in every game this season and posted a record of 11-1 SU and 5-7 ATS. The Crimson Tide’s lone loss came in their last game, when they fell to the Auburn Tigers 26-14 as a 5-point favorite, snapping an 11-game winning streak. Alabama hasn’t lost back-to-back games SU in four years. Coincidentally, the last time they did lose two in a row, it was against Auburn in their regular-season finale and in the Sugar Bowl to Oklahoma. They were favored in both losses.

In the Rose Bowl the Georgia Bulldogs face the Oklahoma Sooners as a 2-point favorite. The Bulldogs were 12-1 SU and 9-4 ATS this season, which included going 8-4 ATS when favored. They head into this matchup having won three straight both SU and ATS.

Oklahoma was 12-1 SU and 8-5 ATS this season. The Sooners were the underdog twice this season and won both games SU. In their last seven games as an underdog, they are a successful 6-1 SU and ATS.

There is no recent matchup history between the Bulldogs and Sooners. In bowl games, Oklahoma is 29-20-1 in 50 appearances. They’ve only appeared in the Rose Bowl once, defeating the Washington State Cougars 34-14 as a 5-point underdog in 2003.

Georgia owns a lifetime bowl record of 30-19-3 in 52 appearances. Their only Rose Bowl appearance was way back in 1943 when they blanked UCLA 9-0. One trend that does favor Georgia: in the last nine Rose Bowls, the favorite is 7-2 SU.