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Buckeyes enter College Football Playoff as underdog to Clemson

Justin Fields-Ohio State-Ohio State football-Buckeyes
Justin Fields and the Buckeyes will have another crack at Clemson. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State Football

Buckeyes enter College Football Playoff as underdog to Clemson

COLUMBUS — The rematch is for Ohio State.

Just 370 days after a heartbreaking, last-minute loss in an epic College Football Playoff semifinal at the Fiesta Bowl against Clemson, the Buckeyes have earned their shot at redemption; they’ll face the Tigers in New Orleans, in a rematch of last year’s semifinal.

Ohio State doesn’t need motivation for this game. It’s Clemson, the thorn in the Buckeyes side for the last decade on the national scene, and it’s a national semifinal that would move Ryan Day and Ohio State one step closer to capturing a national title. There’s no need to sweeten the stakes for the Buckeyes. And the score of last year’s loss to the Tigers has been pasted in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center since it happened.

But to top it all off, Ohio State opened as a 7-point underdog to the second-seeded Tigers, according to the folks at VegasInsider.com.

It doesn’t matter who the oddsmakers in the desert favor for the clash at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. The Buckeyes are confident in what they can do on the sport’s biggest stage.

“I tell you what, this is one of my favorite teams that I have ever been around,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said after the Buckeyes defeated Northwestern on Saturday to claim their fourth-straight Big Ten title. “And maybe not because of what’s going on all the time on the field, but more importantly that this team is so tough. They’ve been through so much, and they just don’t flinch. And I cannot give this team enough credit. And I’ll say this:

“If we had to play one game against anybody in the country, I’ll take the Ohio State Buckeyes.”

Day will have to take those Buckeyes as a slight underdog.

Ohio State gambling trends

  • Ohio State is 3-3 against the spread this season. But the Buckeyes are 1-3 in their last four games against the spread.
  • Clemson is 5-6 against the spread this season. The Tigers are 2-1 against the spread against ranked opponents this season.
  • The Buckeyes are 9-1 under Ryan Day against ranked teams straight up. The lone loss was to Clemson last year.
  • Ohio State is 0-4 all-time against Clemson, including the 29-23 loss to the Tigers in their last meeting at the College Football Playoff.
  • Ohio State is 2-2 all-time against the spread in the College Football Playoff.
  • The total for the semifinal matchup is set at 65. The total has hit the under in three of the Buckeyes four College Football Playoff games all-time.
  • The total has hit the over in six of Clemson’s 11 games this season; three of Ohio State’s six games this season have gone over the total.
  • The favorite is 9-9 all-time against the spread in College Football Playoff games, but is 8-4 all-time against the spread in the CFP semifinal games.
  • The under is 7-5 all-time in CFP semifinal games.
Spencer Holbrook

Spencer Holbrook covers Ohio State football and basketball for Lettermen Row. A graduate of Ohio University's Scripps School of Journalism, he's in his second year covering the Buckeyes. He was previously the sports editor at Ohio's student newspaper, The Post, where he covered Ohio University football and men's basketball.