CFB Tournament Sportsbook: Cotton & Orange Bowl Picks

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: #3 Notre Dame (+12) vs #2 Clemson (-12) — O/U 56.5

  • Dallas, TX (AT&T Stadium): 4:00 PM EST on ESPN
  • Lets start off with the most recent big news: DT Dexter Lawrence is not going to play in this game because of a failed drug test along with TE Braden Galloway and OL Zach Giella.
  • Both of these teams come in undefeated after playing relatively weak schedules.  Clemson got Texas A&M early on but that is about it – the ACC was awful this year. Notre Dame on the other hand beat Michigan in week one but got caught in a down year for almost every other team on their schedule: Virginia Tech, USC, Stanford, Florida St.  Two of their “tougher” games were Syracuse and Northwestern.
  • Having said that, we don’t really know how either team is going to face adversity in a close game against another good team.  Yes, they both played close games but I think being a close game against Clemson is a little different then playing one against USC.
  • Since the 2013 National Championship game where Notre Dame got stomped by Alabama, they’ve been trying to shake off that stink and they probably won’t until they win a game like this.
  • Since that beat-down however, Notre Dame has beat LSU twice, they played Clemson very tough on the road a few years ago, and played Georgia tough as well last year.  I do think this team is better than what people have been saying but as I said in my College Football Tournament blog, I think Georgia and Ohio State are better teams than Notre Dame.
  • On the Clemson side of things, how the hell is Trevor Lawrence going to handle pressue late in this game?  A touted freshman but he hasn’t faced a defensive unit nearly as good as Notre Dames all year.
  • Clemson has a phenomenal run defense: 3rd ranked rushing defense. This game is going to rely on Ian Book making plays with his arms, and scrambling ability.
  • Clemson’s closest game this year was at Texas A&M going up against Kellen Mond. Ian Book is going to need to have that type of game if Notre Dame is going to pull this upset off.
  • For Clemson’s offense, RB Travis Etienne is a fucking stud. 1463 yards, 21 touchdowns and an 8.3 yards per carry average on the season.  Even if Lawrence has an off game, Clemson can turn around and hand the Etienne the ball over and over again.  Notre Dames rush defense isn’t as vaunted as Clemson’s.  This will be the difference in the game.
  • Side note: Clemsons kicker sucks, Notre Dames kicker is much better.
  • Both Red Zone offensive and defensive stats are comparable for these two. ND scores 84.331% of the time while Clemson scores 89.47% of the time. Defensively, ND allows scores 75% of the time while Clemson allows scores 75.86% of the time.
  • If this line was around 9 or 10, I’d probably roll with Clemson but 12 points is just too much. I think Clemson wins, but I’ll take Notre Dame to cover the points and for this game to be over 56.5 points.
    • 74% on Notre Dame & 78% on the Over.

Capital One Orange Bowl: #4 Oklahoma (+14) vs #1 Alabama (-14) — O/U 77

  • Miami, FL (Hard Rock Stadium): 8:00 PM EST on ESPN
  • Ole St. Nick gets to face his QB nightmare again in a running QB that can throw the ball well also.  Oh and Kyler Murray is going to be the fastest guy on the field.
  • This is the obvious match-up that everyone is talking about, OU’s offense against Alabama defense and how Alabama is going to stop the Heisman winner. Alabama dominates games because of their DL and getting to the QB.  The problem is, Murray is going to be able to run away from these guys and make plays downfield.
  • We have the #1 and #2 offenses in the country facing off here, Oklahoma averages 49.5 while Alabama averages 47.8. Alabama actually scores more points away from home, 50.0 while Oklahoma averages 47.2 PPG.
  • Defensively, Alabama gives up 14.7 PPG and 16.8 PPG on away.  Oklahoma on the other hand, gives up 32.4 PPG and 38.5 PPG away from home.
  • No fucking idea how Alabama doesn’t score every possession. Saban could put Jalen Hurts out there and have him just throw every down and Alabama would still score.
  • Lets look at Red Zone scoring percentage: OU is 88.89% while Bama is 80.95%.  Defensive Red Zone scoring? Bama is 66.67% while OU is a MISERABLE 93.62%.  Good thing Alabama’s kicker sucks, maybe he misses a FG is OU gets lucky and makes a stop.
  • JOKE: OU’s defense did play better in their biggest game of the year against Texas.
  • It looks like Hollywood Brown is going to play for OU, this is big for Murray.  Brown is his big play guy and favorite WR.
  • If Saban takes away Brown, or Brown is limited then alot is going to fall on the shoulders of CeeDee Lamb who also had over 1,000 yards and 10 TDs.  After Lamb though, you drop all the way down to Lee Morris you only had 457 yards receiving.
  • Look out for TE Grant Calcaterra, FB Carson Meier to make some plays in the passing game.
  • For Alabama, who knows if Tua is going to be 100% healthy.  When Tua plays, Alabama doesn’t actually run the ball as much as you’d think.  If Tua isn’t healthy, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jalen Hurts quite a bit and a emphasis on the running game.  Running the ball against OU keeps that offense off the field.
  • How about 3rd downs in this game. Alabama’s defense only gives up 30% of opposing teams 3rd downs.  OU’s offense converts 51.18% of their third downs.
  • We talked about OU’s WR’s.  Alabama has five players with over 500 yards receiving.  These guys are gonna have a field day if Alabama decides to throw the ball every down.
  • Just like the ND/Clemson game, I think OU can keep this game close and entertaining throughout.  14 points is too much for me.  I’ll take OU to cover but Alabama ultimately wins this game. I am also going to take the under in this one.
    • 55% on Alabama & 53% on the Under.

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