And then there were four! The 2019 College Football Playoff (CFP) gets underway today and night beginning with LSU (1) taking on Oklahoma (4) followed by Ohio St. (2) verses Clemson (3) tonight.
What angles can we gather that the majority of the public may not be aware of before these games kickoff? Interestingly enough, according to Pro Football Focus (PFF) Clemson has the best chance of hoisting the Dr. Pepper CFP trophy. “Wait, not LSU?! But they have the Heisman Trophy winner and won the SEC.” PFF give Clemson a 42.4% chance of winning the CFP, LSU (39.8%), Ohio St. (17.2%), Oklahoma (0.7%). So why exactly does Clemson have the best odds of winning if they are not the 1st ranked team in the country, nor even the 2nd ranked team? Of the four QB’s, T. Lawrence has not necessarily had the best overall season, but has been performing at a superior level down the stretch. If Clemson faces off against the LSU Tigers in the National Championship, The orange and purple Tigers would have a 56.5% chance of claiming victor over the yellow and purple Bayou Bengals. This favoritism stems from more playoff experience and a better coaching staff in Clemson. In addition, the PFF numbers indicate that although LSU has greater individual athletes; Clemson, however, possesses the greater overall team.
Notes to keep in mind:
LSU: 9-4 ATS this season.
OKLAHOMA: Lincoln Riley is 3-1 ATS as an underdog.
OHIO ST: The Buckeyes are also 9-4 ATS this season.
CLEMSON: 9-1 ATS in its last 10 bowl game appearances. (76.9% ATS this season – NCAAF best)
A lot of NCAAF Bowl Mania match-up’s require consideration when looking at each team’s motivation level(s) going into any particular game. However, in the CFP motivation levels should not be a factor when trying to acquire handicapping edges. All parties/teams involved in the CFP should have monumental levels of motivation; hence, cancelling that factor or edge out of the handicapping equation. Where we can find the most significant edge(s) in CFP match-up’s are based on strength of schedule, playoff experience, strengths/weaknesses on offense and defense versus the opponent, and their last few games performances (ie. how is this particular team performing as of late). For whatever it’s worth, I believe that the winner of the Clemson, Ohio St. game will win the CFP.
Best of luck this Bowl season and stay tuned for NFL postseason sports gambling angles.