College Football Picks: End Of The Year Most Profitable O/U Plays

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, December 30, 2015 8:56 PM GMT

There have been some interesting bowl games thus far, but let's be honest: things finally start to matter on Thursday with the two semifinal games and one other great matchup.

No. 18 Houston vs. No. 9 Florida State
The New Year's Eve action kicks off at noon from the Georgia Dome with this Peach Bowl matchup. Not sure how much this will mean to the Seminoles considering they were in the national championship mix the past two seasons, winning in 2013 over Auburn (the final year of the BCS) and then losing to Oregon in last year's Rose Bowl semifinal. That ended FSU's bowl winning streak at six straight. One guy you won't see in this game is Florida State quarterback Everett Golson. He didn't even make the trip because of personal reasons so his collegiate career is over. Golson started eight games, winning seven, but had lost the job to Sean Maguire. So Golson's absence shouldn't be an issue unless Maguire gets hurt. This bowl game is a huge deal for Houston under first-year coach Tom Herman. The Cougars were the Group of Five representative and American Athletic Conference champions. Their only loss came in the one game star dual-threat QB Greg Ward Jr. didn't play. That was to UConn. Ward threw for 2,590 yards with 16 touchdowns and ran for 1,041 yards and an additional 19 scores. Houston ranked 11th nationally in scoring at 40,6 points per game. FSU averaged 32.3. The teams did have a common opponent: Louisville. UH beat the Cards 34-31 on Sept. 12 and FSU did 41-21 on Oct. 17.  FSU has a Top-10 defense but Herman is one of the best offensive minds in college football.

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College Football Pick: Over 55.5
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

No. 4 Oklahoma vs. No. 1 Clemson
The Orange Bowl semifinal from Miami is at 4 p.m. ET and should be a very entertaining offensive game featuring two of the nation's top quarterbacks in Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield, who probably should have been a Heisman finalist, and Clemson's Deshaun Watson, who was one. The weather looks good in south Florida. The Sooners have been on a different gear since somehow losing to Texas in Dallas on Oct. 10. They have blown every team out since then except a one-point win over TCU. And OU has scored at least 44 points in every game since other than also vs. the Horned Frogs. Will Clemson's defense be the best OU has see this year? No question. Not a lot of defense played these days in the Big 12. Clemson is the only unbeaten team left. Watson is probably your early favorite for the 2016 Heisman. That offense can be contained, however. The Tigers were held to 24 points by Notre Dame and 23 by Florida State. The Clemson Top-20 defense did look a bit shaky at the end of the season in allowing 32 points at South Carolina and 37 to North Carolina in the ACC title game. The coordinator of that defense is Brent Venables, who formerly held the same position at Oklahoma. Each team has had eight games go 'over' the total during the regular season.

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College Football Pick: Over 63
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

 

No. 3 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Alabama
The Cotton Bowl semifinal from AT&T Stadium in Arlington closes out Thursday's action at 8 p.m. ET. It's the third Big Ten team that Alabama will have faced in the past calendar year. The Tide lost last year's Sugar Bowl to eventual national champion Ohio State. Those Buckeyes also were pretty sizable underdogs like the Spartans are if that matters. Alabama opened this year in this same AT&T Stadium against Wisconsin and won 35-17. Michigan State didn't face the Badgers this year. Really  no surprise this total is so low as it's two teams who win with defensive-minded head coaches in Alabama's Nick Saban and Michigan State's Mark Dantonio, who used to be an assistant under Saban when he was head coach in East Lansing. Both guys want to pound the ball and control the clock. Sparty certainly has the edge at quarterback on Connor Cook, but Alabama has the Heisman Trophy winner in running back Derrick Henry. He's going to be the key here. If Sparty shuts him down, it can pull the upset. Alabama has the No. 3 scoring defense in college football (14.4 ppg). Michigan State is 19th at 20.5 ppg. The Spartans' defense was shaky early in the year but really came on in the final month. The Tide's defense is always good. 

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College Football Pick: Under 46.5
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle