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College Football Playoff / New Year’s Six point spreads and analysis

Lines, trends and analyses for eight important games

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Today’s analysis of the opening lines comes from Scott Cooley at

New Year’s Six

Florida State vs. Michigan (-7)

We wanted to be a bit conservative with this one and see where the action takes the number. Obviously, we have almost a month to see it shake out, but we’re expecting this number to move up before down. Jim Harbaugh can be darn good with extra prep time.

Western Michigan vs. Wisconsin (-7.5)

Most of the weekend bettors will be looking at this spread and scratching their heads. It will be interesting to see how the Broncos can hold up in the trenches against a powerful front seven. This spread will likely close north of where it opened.

USC (-6.5) vs. Penn State

The Trojans are already a public team, and over the course of the last month or so, the sharps pounded them almost every week. USC may have been the hottest team at the book during the second half of the season. I doubt this closes under a touchdown.

Auburn vs. Oklahoma (-6)

This feels like a good line, and I think we could see some smart money come in on the underdog when it’s all said and done. Oklahoma certainly has caught the eye of the public the last few weeks, but Auburn is a quality team that shouldn’t be overlooked.

College Football Playoff

Washington vs Alabama (-14.5)

We didn’t even want to mess around and give bettors an opportunity to get the flat -14 without incurring some extra juice. We’ve taken steady Tide money for the past two months, from sharps and squares alike, and I don’t see any way this number closes at two touchdowns or less. Don’t be surprised if this spread jumps to -17 at some point. (There was early action on Alabama, and the line moved to -15 within first half hour.)

Ohio State (-3.5) vs Clemson

We’re anticipating the classic sharp vs. square divide with the public bettors siding with Ohio State and the pros on the underdog. Adjustments in the odds are almost always predicated on sharp money, but this spread should stay around a field goal if we get the influx of Buckeyes action that we expect. (Heavy early action on Clemson, spread moved to -3 (-105) within first half hour.)