Ohio State and Clemson can make the case that they’ve been disrespected heading into their College Football Playoff semifinal showdown.
The unbeaten Buckeyes (13-0) fell from No. 1 to No. 2 behind Louisiana State when the CFP field was announced Sunday and they’re underdogs to Clemson (13-0) — the defending national champion that’s ranked third.
The line opened at pick for their Dec. 28 matchup at the Fiesta Bowl. But the Tigers quickly climbed to 2-point favorites at the Westgate sportsbook and are 2½-point favorites at Station Casinos.
“There were people saying Ohio State should be the favorite, but I thought Clemson should clearly be the favorite,” Sunset Station sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “They’re peaking at the right time, and I think that game could potentially hit 3.”
LSU (13-0) opened as a 9½-point favorite over No. 4 Oklahoma in the other CFP semifinal at the Peach Bowl. But the Tigers quickly soared to 12-point favorites and are 13-point favorites at Station Casinos.
“Everyone was dying to bet LSU over Oklahoma,” William Hill sportsbook director Nick Bogdanovich said. “I’m a little surprised on the Clemson move. I don’t see why they should be favored over Ohio State.”
Clemson is a 1½-point favorite at William Hill.
The total for Ohio State-Clemson is 63, and the total for LSU-Oklahoma is 76½.
The Sooners (12-1), on a 2-7 spread slide, claimed the fourth seed by virtue of their 30-23 overtime win over Baylor in the Big 12 title game and Utah’s 37-15 loss to Oregon in the Pac-12 championship.
The Buckeyes beat Wisconsin 34-21 in Saturday’s Big Ten title game after trailing 21-7 at halftime.
LSU reclaimed the top seed after whipping previous No. 4 Georgia 37-10 in the Southeastern Conference title game, and Clemson crushed Virginia 62-17 for its 28th straight win.
“I did think LSU should be No. 1,” Esposito said. “Ohio State was a little bit exposed, especially in that first half. LSU dismantled that Georgia team and made a statement, and I think Clemson made a statement against Virginia.
“If LSU wins, I’m not so sure Clemson or Ohio State wouldn’t be the favorite in the national championship.”
The lines on the semifinals moved fast Sunday morning.
“We took a sharp bet on LSU at minus 10½, and I looked at the screen and it was up to 11,” CG Technology sportsbook director Tony DiTommaso said. “We’re at 12 right now, and I imagine someone’s going to lay 12 and push us to 13.”
LSU is the plus 140 favorite at the Westgate to win the CFP title. Clemson is 2-1, Ohio State is 3-1 and Oklahoma 16-1.
Here are some other notable bowl lines:
— Las Vegas Bowl: Washington by 3½ over Boise State.
— Citrus Bowl: Alabama by 6½ over Michigan.
— Outback Bowl: Auburn by 7½ over Minnesota.
— Rose Bowl: Wisconsin by 3 over Oregon.
— Sugar Bowl: Georgia by 7 over Baylor.
National semifinal odds posted at Station Casinos sportsbook:
LSU 13 76½ Oklahoma
Clemson 2½ 63½ Ohio State