Oklahoma (12-1) vs LSU (13-0)
When: Saturday, December 28th 2019
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium,
Time: 4:00 ET | TV: ESPN
Opening Odds: LSU -9/75
The College Football Playoffs this year is basically the powerhouse three and Oklahoma. The Sooners are ready to prove to everyone that they not only belong, but can compete for a National Championship. While Ohio State and Clemson battle in the Fiesta Bowl, No. 4 Oklahoma will come in as almost two-touchdown underdogs against the top-ranked LSU Tigers in the Peach Bowl Saturday night in Atlanta. The Sooners are making their fourth appearance in five seasons in the playoffs but are still looking for their first win after falling in the semifinals to Clemson (2015), Georgia (2017) and Alabama (2018). The Tigers appeared in three BCS National Championship Games, including a win over Oklahoma in 2003, but are making their first appearance in the new playoffs format behind a rebuilt offense that is led by Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow. The list of awards is long and includes the Walter Camp Award, Maxwell Award, Davey O’Brien Award, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award as well as SEC Offensive Player of the Year. LSU beat five teams that were in the top 10 at the time of the matchup, including a 37-10 triumph over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. That win allowed the Sooners to sneak into the Playoff as the lone one-loss team among the four participants after knocking off Baylor in the Big 12 Championship Game. The winner will play for the National Championship on Monday, January 13th in New Orleans.
The offense has never been an issue under head coach Lincoln Riley and quarterback Jalen Hurts was invited to the Heisman awards in New York. He was part of three CFP teams with Alabama and served as the starting quarterback on the 2016 squad before transferring. Hurts is also the school’s third straight Heisman Trophy finalist after Baker Mayfield (2017) and Kyler Murray (2018) took home the last two awards. The offense ranks second in the country in yards per game (554.2) and sixth in points at 43.2 per contest behind Hurts, who also rushed for 1,255 yards and 18 touchdowns. NFL prospect CeeDee Lamb led the receivers with 57 catches, 1.206 yards and 15 scores. The defense is much improved from a year ago. The unit led the Big 12 with an average of 330.6 yards allowed after letting opponents record 453.8 in 2018.
Burrow finished second in FBS in passing yards (4,715) and led the way with 48 touchdown passes. His favorite target Ja’Marr Chase also took home some hardware with the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top wide receiver. The offense overall is ranked just ahead of Oklahoma at 554.5 yards a game and the running game is led by Clyde Edwards-Helaire (1,290 yards, 17 touchdowns). The defense is led by safety Grant Delpit, who won the Thorpe Award as the top defensive back. The unit is tough to run on, surrendering an average of just 120.3 yards a game and held their last two opponents to 17 total points.
This is a lot of points to lay in a playoff game. I wouldn’t be shocked if LSU won this by 20+ points, but I have to believe OU has enough offense to keep this one respectable. The Sooners defense is also better than years past and will have had plenty of time to prepare for Burrow and company.
Pick: Oklahoma +13.5 (Jay Cooper’s Free Bowl Picks)
Sooners are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 vs. SEC.
Sooners are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in December.
Sooners are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games as an underdog.
Sooners are 4-10 ATS in their last 14 games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game.
Sooners are 4-11 ATS in their last 15 neutral site games.
Sooners are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
Sooners are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games on grass.
Sooners are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
Sooners are 1-5 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
Sooners are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games after accumulating more than 280 yards passing in their previous game.
Tigers are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 vs. Big 12.
Tigers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games.
Tigers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game.
Tigers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games as a favorite.
Tigers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games.
Tigers are 7-2 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
Tigers are 9-3-1 ATS in their last 13 games in December.
Tigers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in their previous game.
Under is 4-0 in Sooners last 4 games overall.
Under is 4-0 in Sooners last 4 games following a straight up win.
Under is 4-0 in Sooners last 4 neutral site games.
Under is 18-3-1 in Sooners last 22 games in December.
Under is 4-1 in Sooners last 5 bowl games.
Under is 8-2 in Sooners last 10 vs. SEC.
Over is 6-2-1 in Sooners last 9 games as an underdog.
Under is 3-1-1 in Sooners last 5 non-conference games.
Under is 5-2 in Sooners last 7 neutral site games as an underdog.
Over is 15-6-1 in Sooners last 22 games on grass.
Over is 9-4 in Sooners last 13 games after allowing less than 275 total yards in their previous game.
Over is 35-17 in Sooners last 52 games following a ATS loss.
Under is 3-0-1 in Tigers last 4 games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in their previous game.
Over is 4-0 in Tigers last 4 vs. Big 12.
Over is 5-1-1 in Tigers last 7 games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game.
Under is 5-1 in Tigers last 6 neutral site games as a favorite.
Over is 5-1-1 in Tigers last 7 non-conference games.
Under is 5-2 in Tigers last 7 neutral site games.
Over is 11-5 in Tigers last 16 games after accumulating more than 280 yards passing in their previous game.