2018 College Football Playoff Early Betting Report

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David Schwab

Monday, December 4, 2017 2:30 PM GMT

Monday, Dec. 4, 2017 2:30 PM GMT

The smoke has cleared from an exciting college football season and this past weekend’s conference title games to leave four teams at the top of this list in the quest to win the 2017-18 College Football Playoff National Championship. The opening round will be contested on New Year’s Day in both the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl.

The following is a brief breakdown of some of the most important stats, facts and recent trends for each of these semifinal showdowns in an effort to jumpstart your handicapping efforts with the help of SBR Odds when it comes to betting on the games.

Rose Bowl- No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs vs. No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners

Georgia earned its spot in this illustrious field with Saturday’s 28-7 victory against Auburn as a two-point underdog in the SEC title game. This win avenged an earlier 40-17 loss to the Tigers as a 2.5-point road favorite, which was the only straight-up blemish on the 2017 resume against 12 victories. The Bulldogs have covered in their last three games to move to 9-4 against the spread and the total has stayed UNDER in eight of the 13 games.

Behind a power running game that averaged 263.5 yards a game and a shutdown defense that is ranked fourth in the nation in points allowed (13.2), Georgia has demonstrated the type of balance that could vault this team into the national title game. D’Andre Swift and Nick Chubb led the way on the ground in Saturday’s win with a combined 165 yards as part of the Bulldogs’ 238 rushing yards against Auburn.

Oklahoma blazed its trail to the CFP final four with a SU 12-1 mark that included a pair of victories against the second-best team in the Big 12 TCU both SU and ATS. The Sooners hammered the Horned Frogs 41-17 in the conference title game as seven-point favorites to cement their spot as the No. 2 team in the nation. They have gone 8-5 ATS this season with the total staying UNDER in four of their last six games.

This offense has gained most of its yards this season through the air behind Heisman frontrunner Baker Mayfield at quarterback. He has completed an impressive 71 percent of his 369 passing attempts for 4,340 yards and 41 touchdowns against just five interceptions. He threw for 243 yards and four touchdowns against TCU in the Big 12 title game. Marquis Brown has been his top target with 49 receptions for 981 yards and six scores.

Georgia is 4-1 ATS in its last five bowl games with the total staying UNDER in six of its last eight neutral-site games. Oklahoma has gone 4-0 ATS in its last four games against the SEC and the total has stayed UNDER in five of its last six bowl games.

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Sugar Bowl- No. 4 Alabama Crimson Tide (-2) vs. No. 1 Clemson Tigers

The Tide’s lone loss of the season to Auburn on Nov. 25 cost them a shot at winning another SEC title, but their overall resume was strong enough to land the No. 4 spot in the CFP rankings. Alabama backed up its SU 11-1 record with a less than stellar 5-7 mark ATS. The total stayed UNDER in seven of the 12 games. It has failed to cover five of its last seven games heading into this matchup.

Sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts threw for 1,940 yards and 15 touchdowns while only getting picked off once this season, but he is a much bigger threat running the ball as the team’s second-leading rusher behind Damien Harris. Alabama’s biggest strength still lies in a defense that was ranked first in the nation in points allowed (11.5).

Clemson is right where it wants to be in defense of last year’s national title as the top-ranked team in the nation this season. The Tigers’ only SU loss against 12 victories was a fluky 27-24 setback to Syracuse on Oct. 13 as heavy 23.5-point road favorites when they lost their quarterback early in that contest. Overall, they have gone 8-4-1 ATS with the total staying UNDER total on the NCAAF odds boards in eight of the 13 games.

In Saturday’s 38-3 victory against Miami in the ACC Championship as 12.5-point favorites, Tigers’ quarterback Kelly Bryant threw for 252 yards and a score while completing 23-of-29 passing attempts. Clemson is averaging 244.1 passing yards a game to complement a ground game that is piling up 204.1 rushing yards per game. The Tigers are ranked 21st in the nation in points scored (35.4) and second in points allowed (12.8).

This will be the third-straight meeting between these two football powers in a CFP matchup. Clemson covered in both contests with a 1-1 SU split and the total went OVER in both games.

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