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Fiesta Bowl Betting Analysis - Ohio State vs. Clemson

Fiesta Bowl Betting Lines

The Clemson Tigers have been in this spot before. Last year, despite a perfect regular season, Clemson was an underdog heading into its game against Oklahoma, but came out strong and knocked off the Sooners 37-17 to set up a date in the national title game. Once again, Clemson finds itself in the role of the underdog in its game against the Ohio State Buckeyes. Ohio State is looking for its second national championship in the last three years and a win here would likely set up a match-up between the two best coaches in college football.

Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Clemson Tigers
Date and Time: Saturday, December 31, 2016, 7 p.m. ET
Location: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
Fiesta Bowl Odds at Ohio State -3 -115, O/U 59.5
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Clemson Tigers TV Coverage: ESPN

Odds Analysis

This line has hung around three since it opened and will likely close on the number as well. However, the total has come down a bit from the opener. The over/under started at 61.5 and has since slowly dropped to 59.5.

Ohio State has been favored in all of its games this season but the Buckeyes have had trouble covering recently. The Buckeyes have only covered twice in their last eight games, not even coming close to the number most of the time.

Clemson has scored at least 35 points in each of its last six games and that has meant a lot of overs. Five of the Tigers’ last six have finished over the total and all five went over by at least 10 points. This team is just 2-5 ATS in its last seven games.

Bowl Game History

Ohio State is happy that this game is in Phoenix instead of Atlanta and Buckeyes fans will travel well to fill the stands. Despite being over 1000 miles away, the Buckeyes consider this bowl a second home and have more Fiesta Bowl wins this century than any other team. Ohio State won a national title here against Miami in 2003 and also picked up wins over Kansas State in 2004 and Notre Dame in both 2006 and last season.

This will be the first time an ACC team has played in the Fiesta Bowl since Florida State lost a national title to Tennessee here back in 1999. Although Clemson has never played in a Fiesta Bowl, this was where the Tigers fell just short against Alabama in the national title game last year.

Team and Coaching Bowl Game History

During his tenure at Clemson, Dabo Swinney is a respectable 5-4 in bowl season with four straight victories before the loss to Alabama. The Tigers faced the Buckeyes in a major bowl game just a few seasons ago, defeating Urban Meyer’s squad in the Orange Bowl 40-35.

Meyer hasn’t lost a bowl game since succumbing to the Tigers a few seasons ago. Two seasons back, Ohio State upset Alabama and Oregon on its way to the school’s first national championship since 2002. In last year’s Fiesta Bowl, the Buckeyes overpowered a Notre Dame side that couldn’t stop a rushing attack led by superstar Ezekiel Elliott.

Recent Games of Note

Aside from dominant performances against Nebraska and Maryland, Ohio State has not looked good to end the season. The Buckeyes needed a second-half comeback and overtime to get past Wisconsin, lost to Penn State, and defeated Northwestern, Michigan State, and Michigan by a combined 8 points to reach this stage.

As for Clemson, this team had its share of struggles early on, but rallied as the season progressed. Despite a stunning home loss to Pittsburgh where he threw three interceptions, DeShaun Watson was fantastic down the stretch and might be the best passing quarterback in the country. Although he is facing one of the best secondaries in the nation, he should put up big numbers.