|CFB Playoffs . . .
Clemson and Alabama advanced to college football’s National Championship game with double-digit victories Saturday . . . .
Clemson (-11) coasted past Notre Dame 30-3 in the Cotton Bowl, winning total yardage 538-248, yards-per-play 6.9 to 3.6, and third-down conversion rate 50% to 29%. All four of the Tigers’ touchdowns were on long drives (65-85-80-81). Clemson is now 8-2 against the spread in games finished by quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Six of those eight covers beat the market by double digits.
Alabama (-14.5) jumped to a 28-0 lead over Oklahoma 17 minutes into the Orange Bowl on the way to a 45-34 victory. The Crimson Tide was never in danger of blowing the game, but it did blow the cover. Alabama won total yardage 528-471, yards-per-play 7.5 to 6.8 yards-per-play, and third-down conversion rate 70% to 46%. Ultimately, the difference was ‘Bama’s ability to finish drives. Six TDs, one field goal, and no turnovers for the winners. Four TDs, two field goals and one failed fourth down try for the losers.
First numbers on the board for Alabama/Clemson (Monday, Jan. 7 in Santa Clara) were posted before the second half of the Orange Bowl even began as William Hill opened with Alabama -5.5 (-240 on the money line, +200 for Clemson). The number settled at -6 at a majority of Las Vegas books as the night ended.
Earlier Saturday . . .
Florida (+4) dominated Michigan 41-15 in the Peach Bowl. Florida’s previously inconsistent offense was supposed to be overmatched by Michigan’s elite defense. But the Gators won yards-per-play 6.7 to 4.9, while owning the point of attack with a 257-77 rushing edge. The Gators had TD drives of 44-63-75-75 yards as well as a pick six defensive score. Second straight squash for the SEC over the Big 10. Auburn (-3.5) pounded Purdue 63-14 Friday with a 7.8 to 4.0 edge in yards-per-play (586-263 total yards).
Virginia (+3.5) shut out South Carolina 28-0 in the Belk Bowl. Not a good showing here for the SEC. Virginia was in control the whole way with a 413-261 yardage edge, and a stunning 65% to 15% advantage in third down conversions.
Nevada (-1) beat Arkansas State 16-13 in overtime in the Arizona Bowl. Arkansas State won raw yardage by a huge margin . . . 499-285 on 5.4 to 3.9 in yards-per-play. Those edges were counter-acted by three giveaways, a horrible 2 of 17 conversion rate on third downs, a 2 of 5 mark on fourth downs (three more virtual turnovers), and only two made field goals in four attempts. Nevada was slightly less inept, with 3 of 16 on third downs and two giveaways.
Bowls return to the TV/betting schedule Monday with six attractions to close out 2018. Then, the New Year begins with five traditional contests Tuesday. Click here to see the latest odds.
Dave Tuley’s ATS report . . .
With favorite/Under in Clemson’s win & underdog/Under in Alabama’s win, the ViewFromVegas dogs went 3-2 on Saturday, Unders 4-1; overall, faves 18-9 SU but dip to 15-12 ATS, Under 14-12-1.
NFL Week 17
Tuley’s Takes/Take II: Dave goes over changes in the lines since Point Spread Weekly came out on Wednesday to see if he wants to change any of his “takes” on any of the games. (Answer: You bet he wants to change his takes.)
ICYMI: Brent makes the case for taking the Raiders and the points vs. the Chiefs. (Catch Brent on SiriusXM 204 with the play-by-play of the game, starting at 4:25 p.m. ET.)
Contest Corner . . .
The end of the Westgate SuperContest is here.
SuperContest Top 5 Most-Selected Teams (3-2 last week after 6 straight 2-3s, 41-39 overall) are IND -3 at TEN, CLE +6 at BAL, BUF -3.5 vs. MIA, PHI -6.5 at WAS, MIN -4.5 vs. CHI. Full list here.
SuperContestGold Top 5 (44-32-5, 57.9%) are BUF -3.5, MIN -4.5, CLE +6, IND -3, KC -13.5. Full list here.
SuperContest leader @Pigskin_Junkies (57-23, 71.3%) has CLE +6, BUF -3.5, DEN +6.5, SEA -13.5 and TEN +3 on #SNF in the race for the $1.4 million 1st-place prize; 2nd-place Rush YYZ2112 (56 points) has 1 common play in BUF -3.5, plus KC -13.5, GB -8, MIN -4.5, LAR -10. Every pick from every team here.
Catch an inteview with the proprietor of Pigskin_Junkies on Betting Across America today (10 a.m.-1 p.m. ET).
Brent, shooting to cash by finishing in the top 100, went with PHI -6.5, BAL -6, BUF -3.5, IND -3 and MIN -4.5.
In SuperContest Gold: leader There Can Be Only 1 (51-26-3, 66.2%) has CAR +8.5, HOU -6.5, ATL +1, DEN +6.5, IND -3 on #SNF in quest for $640,000 winner-take-all prize; 2nd place Danny Polo 1 (51.5, 1 point back) has NYJ +13.5, CLE +6, BUF -3.5, MIN -4.5, LAC -6.5.
Also in SuperContest Gold (because it’s winner-take-all), 3rd-place Lightning (1.5 points back) has slightly contrarian card w/ DAL +6.5, NO -8.5, ATL +1, CHI +4.5, TEN +3 while @pregame (2 points back) goes full-contrarian w/ NO -8.5, WAS +6.5, BAL -6, MIA +3.5, TEN +3. Every pick from every team here.
MMA . . .
Jon Jones and Amanda Nunes were the big winners at UFC 232 in LA.