Alabama over Clemson by 3

A rematch of last year’s title game in Glendale, Arizona which saw the Tigers score a late back-door cover (lost, 45-40, as 6.5-point dogs) shifts to Tampa but we don’t need any financial advisors telling us who to back tonight in Raymond James Stadium. Not when we have our all-knowing database reminding us that the dog is now a jaw-dropping 13-1 ATS in Clemson’s last 14 bowl games following the Tigers’ dominating win last week over Ohio State. In fact, that number tightens to 7-1 SU and 8-0 ATS since 2010. Thus, it should come as no surprise to learn that the striped ones are 5-0 ATS as bowl dogs versus SEC opposition. Speaking of the SEC, they’ll need a ‘Bama victory just to even this year’s bowl record (5-6 SUATS to date). Meanwhile, the ACC is 8-3 SU and 9-2 ATS this bowl season, including 2-0 versus the SEC (NC State over Vandy, Georgia Tech over Kentucky). Now, this is no knock against the Tide as they are for all intents and purposes in a ‘league of their own.’ (On a side note – if we manage to land Tom Hanks in the role of a drunk Steve Sarkisian, who in the world is going to play Nick Saban?) Getting back to reality, it will be fun to see how Sarkisian reacts (a few F-bombs, perhaps) after getting chewed out by Saban after the fi rst three-and-out! And in a matchup of Top 10 defenses, there will be more than a few of those. As for Saban, if he has one Achilles heel, it is this: a career 1-3 SU and 0-4 ATS mark in postseason games versus a foe off a SU underdog win. He is also a mortal-like 5-5 SU and 4-6 ATS as a post-season favorite of 6 or more points. In addition, teams with the better record are just 2-4 SU and 0-6 ATS in the last six BCS title games. Nonetheless, the Tide are still 44-5 SU under the ‘Nic-tator’ when they are ranked No. 1. That has us believing that Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney will improve to 7-1 ATS in his career as a dog against undefeated opposition – but still remaining win-less against Alabama since 1905 (0-13). Can you say overtime?



PITTSBURGH over Miami by 14

Talk about bad timing for the Dolphins. Way back in mid-October, 1-4 Miami played host to the 7-point road chalk Steelers. Thanks to a mistake-free outing by QB Ryan Tannehill and a 200-yard rushing outburst by RB Jay Ajayi, the Fish dominated Pittsburgh, 30-15. Now Miami must travel to Heinz Field with Matt Moore at QB instead of Tannehill, and while Moore may be a 9-year NFL veteran, he has never taken a snap in a playoff game. Enter Big Ben Roethlisberger, a Hallof-Famer for sure, who stands a perfect 4-0 SUATS in the playoffs when avenging a same-season loss from an earlier meeting. Even worse for the visitors and their No. 29-ranked defense, dual-threat RB Le’Veon Bell is healthy enough to make his playoff debut after being sidelined by injuries the previous two years. As for Miami’s Ajayi, expect the proud Pittsburgh rush defense to make serious amends for their no-show in October and shut down the Dolphins RB today. Still, laying doubles in an NFL playoff game is not for the faint of heart but our tireless database tells us not to worry here. Pittsburgh is 4-0 ATS in playoffs with revenge versus a foe off a SUATS loss and same-season revengers like the Steelers are a profi table 25-12-3 ATS when playing at home in Wild Card round showdowns. Meanwhile, Miami is just 1-7 SU and 2-6 ATS away in the postseason since 1991, and matches up poorly in terms of playoff experience. However, we’ve saved the best for last: the Dolphins are only 1-14 ATS in playoff games when they lose straight up. Another warmweather challenger goes belly up in the frigid west-Pennsylvania winter