For the third time in four years, the Clemson Tigers will tangle with the Alabama Crimson Tide for the College Football Playoff National Championship. With Alabama beating Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl and Clemson crushing Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl Classic, these college football power programs will meet in San Francisco on January 7.
Oddsmakers have set sports bet odds on the Crimson Tide as 6.5-point favorites and early money has trimmed a half a point off that spread with bettors siding with the Tigers. Here’s a quick look at the spread and total for the national title game:
The fact that this line is under a touchdown is showing that books have plenty of respect for Clemson. The Tigers are undefeated and dominant on defense, giving up just under 13 points per game and stiffed the Fighting Irish to only a field goal in the Cotton Bowl.
The Tigers allow only 281 yards against and, outside of a 56-35 wild win over South Carolina, have held opponents to 16 points or less in their last eight of their last nine contests. Clemson is 7-2 against the college football pointspreads in that span and brings an 8-6 ATS record on the season into the National Championship Game.
As for Alabama, its defense is not up to the normal Tide standard. But, the offense has made up for that and more, putting up 47.7 points per game – second most in the country – and plowing through opponents for almost 528 yards a contest.
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa returned from an ankle injury in the Orange Bowl and put up 318 passing yards and four touchdowns. He gives Bama the edge in the QB department up against Clemson freshman Trevor Lawrence. Alabama failed to cover the 14.5 points in the Orange Bowl, and is 1-3 ATS in its last four games with an 8-6 ATS count on the year.
The total for the CFP National Championship opened at 60.5 points and early money has taken the Under, again showing respect to this Tigers stop unit. The Crimson Tide, while owning a solid stop unit, is ranked 12th in yards allowing and giving up an average of only 16.2 points on the season. However, Alabama has allowed scores of 21, 28, and 34 the past three outings.
Bama is 8-5-1 Over/Under on the season and knows its best shot of knocking off Clemson is to get out to an early lead and force Lawrence to put the game on his inexperienced shoulder. The Tigers did have trouble versus the offenses of South Carolina, Syracuse, and Texas A&M this season and the Tide are easily their toughest challenge.
Clemson takes a 6-8 Over/Under record in the CFP title game, leaning on its run offense to chew up gains, putting up 257.5 average yards on the ground. Yet, despite that, the Tigers boast an average time of possession of just 29:02 on the season and will need to play a methodical pace to keep Alabama’s offense off the field.
Clemson and Alabama played Over the total in their previous two championship game meetings, however, those totals were in the 50-point range. The Tigers covered as underdogs of +6.5 and +6 in those meetings.