The College Football Playoff committee made it official on Sunday, announcing LSU, Ohio State, Clemson, and Oklahoma for the four spots in this year’s semifinals.
Those four squads will play in three weeks for spots in the championship. LSU, the committee’s top seed, will play Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl. Ohio State, the No. 2 seed, and defending national champion Clemson will clash in the Fiesta Bowl. Both games will take place on Dec. 28.
Oddsmakers released their opening lines on the games just moments after the announcement, and then the lines started moving quickly.
LSU, led by Heisman Trophy mortal lock Joe Burrow, started off as a 10-point favorite at DraftKings and an 11-point favorite at Caesars. Within a couple hours, those spreads grew to 11.5 points at DraftKings and a dozen at Caesars.
Interestingly, as the spread widened, the moneyline shortened at DraftKings. LSU started at -385 before moving to -375. Oklahoma, led by former Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts, saw its odds shorten slightly from +290 to +285. At Caesars, the moneyline is -440 for LSU and +350 for Oklahoma.
With the two teams featuring prolific offenses, the sportsbooks expect a high-scoring affair. DraftKings has the over/under at 75.5, and Caesars set it at 76.
The Tigers were the committee’s No. 2 team in last week’s ratings, but they dominated then-No. 4 Georgia 37-10 in Saturday’s SEC Championship game. That game was held at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which will also host the Peach Bowl.
Georgia’s loss, coupled with No. 5 Utah losing Friday in the PAC 12 Championship, opened the door for the winner of Saturday’s Big 12 title game. The Sooners, ranked sixth entering Saturday, needed overtime to beat then-No. 7 Baylor 30-23.
Clemson-Ohio State Preview
The lines moved on Clemson-Ohio State in short time after the reveal. DraftKings initially posted Clemson as a 1.5-point favorite, and then the initial action bumped the Tigers spread up to 2.5 points.
At Caesars, the line moved the other way. Clemson started out as a 2-point favorites there before the spread dropped by a half-point.
Clemson routed Virginia 62-17 in the ACC title game Saturday. Ohio State, which was the committee’s top-ranked team last week, beat No. 8 Wisconsin 34-21, but had to rally from a 21-7 halftime deficit to do so.
Buckeyes coach Ryan Day knows quarterback Trevor Lawrence and his Clemson teammates will be a challenge for his team when they meet at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. It’ll be up to a defense led by Chase Young, perhaps the best player in college, to end the Tigers winning streak at 28 games.
They have a veteran quarterback now who has played a lot of football and is playing really good,” Day said Sunday. “Etienne is one of the best backs in the country. Tee Higgins and some of the wideouts they have are some of the best in the country, and what they do on defense and what Brent Venables has done year in and year out, they’re the best defense in the country.”
The moneyline at DraftKings is -127 for Clemson to +105 for Ohio State. It’s similar at Caesars, which offers -125 for the Tigers to +105 for the Buckeyes.
LSU Now Title Favorites
With the field now set, oddsmakers also updated the odds for the four teams left in the running for the college football playoff title.
LSU is the favorite at DraftKings at +120, with Clemson at +200, Ohio State at +225, and Oklahoma the longshot at +1200.
Caesars offers LSU at +150, Clemson at +200, Ohio State at +250, and Oklahoma at +1200.
FanDuel, which had yet to release its semifinal spreads, has Clemson and LSU at +180 each, Ohio State at +200, and Oklahoma at +1000.