Fiesta Bowl 2019: Latest Odds, Prediction for Ohio State vs. Clemson Playoff

Theo SalaunContributor IIIDecember 14, 2019

Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons (11) celebrates a stop against South Carolina during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019, in Columbia, S.C. Clemson defeated South Carolina 38-3. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
Sean Rayford/Associated Press

This matchup is just absurd. Ohio State and Clemson are undefeated powerhouses with stars on both sides of the ball.

This year's Fiesta Bowl is likely to go down to the wire, and Vegas is rightfully expecting a high-scoring, tight affair.

Caesars has Clemson as a two-point favorite and the game's over/under set at 63.5. They moneyline is tight too, as Clemson is set at -130 (wager $130 to win $100), while Ohio State is at +110 (wager $100 to win $110). Big money is big-brained this year, as those numbers sound spot-on for this half of the college football semifinals. 

Both teams have been dominant this season. Ohio State has outscored opponents by an average of 36.2 points while Clemson has by 35.9. Each offense has a star quarterback and running back, complemented by a potent duo of receivers. Each defense has a superstar playmaker. 

For Ohio State, that quarterback is Justin Fields, who has tallied 2,953 passing yards, 40 passing touchdowns (to just one interception) and added on 471 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground. Their back, J.K. Dobbins, has put up 2,029 scrimmage yards (on 300 touches, for a 6.8 average) and 22 touchdowns.

As for receivers, they have two with 40-plus catches and double-digit touchdowns: K.J. Hill (51 receptions, 569 yards and 11 touchdowns) and Chris Olave (45 receptions, 790 yards and 10 touchdowns).

Still, Ohio State's greatest playmaker may be their Heisman-nominated EDGE: 6'5", 265-pound Chase Young—who has 16.5 sacks and 44 tackles (21 for a loss) to go along with three deflected passes and seven forced fumbles this season.

Clemson has quarterback Trevor Lawrence's heroics and their own stars, though. Lawrence's stats may not be otherworldly but are still remarkable. He has 3,172 passing yards and 34 touchdowns (with a shaky eight interceptions) complemented by 407 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.

His running back, Travis Etienne, has piled up 1,798 scrimmage yards (on 211 plays, for an average of 8.5) and 19 touchdowns. Lawrence also has two receivers at 50-plus catches: Justyn Ross (55 catches, 742 yards and eight touchdowns) and Tee Higgins (52 catches, 1,082 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns).

On defense, Clemson is anchored by versatile, superstar linebacker Isaiah Simmons. The 6'4”, 230-pound phenom has done it all this season. He boasts 93 tackles (14.5 for a loss), seven sacks, two interceptions, six deflected passes, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

Ohio State has the tools to win this, but amid the chaotic nature of what should be a rambunctious Fiesta Bowl, we have to side with Lawrence's proven heroics and Simmons' versatility.

If Sunshine is able to avoid Young for long enough to take advantage of his weapons while Simmons is moved around, adapting the defense to OSU's looks, then the Tigers should be able to punch their way into the championship game.


Fiesta Bowl Prediction: Clemson 42, OSU 38