Week 16 College Football Opening Odds Analysis
Santa Claus is coming to town, and college football is going into its final week for many teams of this COVID-affected 2020 season. FanDuel luckily has some odds posted on matchups for this weekend’s college football madness that I’ve highlighted below. It is CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK!
University of Florida vs. University of Alabama
Odds: Alabama -17; Over/Under 74
The SEC Championship takes us to Atlanta to see the No. 6 Gators against the No. 1 Crimson Tide.
Nick Saban’s Alabama seemingly effortlessly went 10-0 this year record behind quarterback Mac Jones and star running back Najee Harris, in addition to potential first-round draft picks Alex Leatherwood, Devonta Smith, and Patrick Surtain. Their games haven’t been close, and this one at the Mercedes-Benz Dome doesn’t project to be with the Crimson Tide favored by 17 and the over/under, suggesting 74 points to be scored. This is in line with how Alabama has now played: They’ve scored under 40 points one time this season. Once. In a full 50% of their games, they’ve put up 50+ points. They are a juggernaut, and rightfully the No. 1 ranked team: they are the best team in the country.
The Tide will face Dan Mullen’s Gators, who now have their backs against a wall for a College Football Playoff berth after being upset by the LSU Tigers last weekend in Gainesville, largely because of defensive back Marco Wilson getting penalized on a third-down stop for throwing an opponent’s shoe 20 yards downfield and allowing LSU to march down the field and kick a game-winning field goal. The Gators will still have Heisman front-runner Kyle Trask and get back consensus best tight end in college/sure-fire first-round pick Kyle Pitts back for this game. Florida hasn’t been a slouch themselves in the offensive department, never putting up less than 31 points themselves and averaging into the 40s each game. The game should feature a lot of scoring and brilliant quarterback play between Jones and Trask and be an exciting one on Saturday!
University of Notre Dame vs. Clemson University
Odds: Clemson -10.5; Over/Under 61
What? You think we’d skip the one that is being run back after a 2-overtime outing last time that came down to the wire, this time for the ACC Championship? Especially when in the first matchup, Clemson was missing consensus No. 1 draft pick, Trevor Lawrence? On Saturday from Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, the Fighting Irish will look to upset Dabo Swinney’s Tigers again after winning in double overtime in their first matchup in South Bend.
There’s been so much written about Clemson that at this point, everyone knows: Swinney’s teams produce loads of NFL talent at all positions on the field: a quick look around the NFL on Sundays will show loads of Clemson linemen, running backs, and (especially) wide receivers, and this year is no different. This writer being a Jets fan, I’ve made Clemson appointment viewing this year, so I can get a jump on watching quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Running back Travis Etienne has been the best rusher in football for at least the past two years, and most scouts were quoted as saying he’d have been the first back taken in this past year’s draft if he were eligible.
Love them or hate them: Rudy, Touchdown Jesus, “Shake down the Thunder from the Sky,” Joe Montana, and so on, Notre Dame is still the No. 2 team in the country led by coach Brian Kelley. Quarterback Ian Book, wide receiver Javon McKinley, and running back Kyren Williams have scored points in bunches behind what is arguably, at least by Pro Football Focus, as the best offensive line in football. This game shapes up to be as exciting as the first, at 4:00 p.m. EST on Saturday!
Northwestern University vs. Ohio State University
Odds: Ohio State -20.5; Over/Under 57.5
After some controversy about scheduling requirements and Ohio State, the No. 14 Wildcats and No. 4 Buckeyes will be battling for the Big 10 Conference Championship this weekend at noon on FOX.
Northwestern, for years a doormat in the Big 10, has come alive under head coach Pat Fitzgerald, playing games that are stylistically, Big 10 classics: a LOT of linebacker-heavy defense and a strong run game with complementary passing games. Quarterback Peyton Ramsey has provided a nice balance for the Wildcats, keeping defenses honest with solid, if not spectacular, quarterback play.
The Buckeyes, likely irritated off a cancelled Big Game with Michigan, will look to unload on the Wildcats, and the spread reflects this. Head coach Ryan Day, quarterback Justin Fields, cornerback Shaun Wade, and wide receiver Chris Olave lead a Buckeye team that is projected to have over 10 players drafted in this year’s NFL draft: the team is absolutely loaded with talent.