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NCAAF: Ohio State, Clemson co-favored to win national title

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November 20th, 2019

The two co-favorites to win the College Football Playoff National Championship may come as a bit of a surprise, if you are just looking at the current rankings. The No. 1 team in the CFP rankings, LSU, is actually the third betting choice at +280. Ohio State and Clemson are both sitting at +200, although they are sitting at second and third, respectively, in the rankings. Let's look at each of the top four teams in the rankings and we'll make a pick to win based on the odds.

The top four

Ohio State (+200)

The Buckeyes are co-favorites because they are dominant week in and week out. They have yet to play in a game decided by fewer than 24 points. Ohio State is also first in the nation in both scoring offense and scoring defense. However, things are about to get tougher for the Buckeyes. This Saturday is a must win against Penn State, as the winner will take the Big Ten East. If Ohio State gets through this game, it will then have back-to-back weeks at Michigan and then either Minnesota or Wisconsin on a neutral field in the Big Ten Championship Game. At worst the Buckeyes will need to defeat Penn State and win the Big Ten Championship to make the playoff.

Clemson Tigers (+200)

The Tigers have become the dominant team they were expected to be over the past month and a half. After they struggled to defeat Texas A&M and North Carolina in the first half of the season, the Tigers have rolled with six consecutive blowouts. Clemson is fifth in the nation in scoring offense and third in scoring defense. The Tigers only have South Carolina and the ACC title game left on their schedule. A spot in the playoff is essentially a guarantee. However, not a single team on their schedule is in the current top 25 of the CFP rankings (although Texas A&M is ranked 24th in both the Coaches Poll and AP Poll).

LSU Tigers (+280)/Georgia Bulldogs (+700)

LSU remains No. 1 in the CFP rankings, mostly on the strength of its win over Alabama. However, the Tigers remain third choice in the odds, as they still have to win three SEC games to lock in a playoff spot. Arkansas and Texas A&M will not provide huge obstacles, but the SEC title game against Georgia in Atlanta will be a major test. LSU is second in the nation in scoring offense but is only 44th in scoring defense.
Georgia is No. 4 in the CFP rankings and has already clinched the SEC East. The Bulldogs cannot afford another loss, but they only have to defeat Texas A&M and Georgia Tech to get to a play-in game for the playoff against LSU. Georgia is second in the nation in scoring defense, but it is only 41st in scoring offense. Almost an exact opposite of LSU. It will truly be offense versus defense in the SEC Championship Game and the winner will almost surely find itself in the playoff.

Prediction

The LSU Tigers continue to prove every week that they are legit and the best team in the nation. They have the favorite to win the Heisman at quarterback. They also have an extremely versatile running back and two elite wide receivers. The defense may not be putting up elite numbers, but it is not because of a lack of elite talent. There are four defensive starters ranked in the top 100 NFL prospects for 2020. If the LSU Tigers can continue their offensive domination, they should be able to make enough defensive plays to roll through the season undefeated and come out on top in the College Football Playoff.




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