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CFP Championship Game Betting Analysis - Clemson vs. Alabama

2017 NCAAF CFP Championship Game

The third edition of the College Football Playoff National Championship Game is going to look a heck of a lot like the second. The Alabama Crimson Tide won the title last season, and they're back for more once again. The team they'll have to go through for the second straight year is the Clemson Tigers, a group hungry for redemption after last year's near miss.

Clemson Tigers vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
Date and Time
: Monday, January 9, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
CFP Championship Game Odds at Alabama -7, 51.5
Clemson vs. Alabama TV Coverage: ESPN

Odds Analysis

It's not all that surprising that the Crimson Tide opened up at -6 and immediately rose to -7 on the CFP odds at Alabama is sure to be the public team in this game by a wide margin even though last season, it didn't cover when these same two teams played in a game that featured essentially the exact same point spread and total. Last year, the closing numbers were Alabama -6 and 50.5. This year's total is only marginally higher, and with the way both of these teams played defensively in the national semifinals, we could end up seeing precisely the same betting line when push comes to shove.

CFP Championship Game History

The playoff is only a few years old, and we've yet to have a favorite both win and cover the game. In Year 1 of the final, Ohio State upset Oregon a handful of days after pulling off an even bigger upset over this same Alabama outfit. Last season, Clemson trailed for much of the game, but it still was able to cover in a 45-40 thriller that could have ultimately gone either way.

Team and Coaching Bowl Game History

When you think of Alabama, you generally think of a team that has had a history of whooping up on foes. However, the victory over Washington in the Peach Bowl marked the first cover the Crimson Tide in a postseason game since winning the National Championship Game over Notre Dame back in 2012 when the BCS existed.

Clemson meanwhile, has been fantastic in bowl games, particularly of late under Dabo Swinney. The Tigers left no doubts in a 31-0 win over Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. Sure, they were beaten by Alabama last year in the big one, but they are still 5-1 in their last six bowl games and have covered each of those six.

Recent Games of Note

The best place to start is, of course, last year when these two teams met in the championship game. The Crimson Tide jumped out to a 7-0 lead but found themselves down 14-7 at the end of the first quarter and somewhat stunned by what Deshaun Watson was able to do offensively against what was once an impenetrable defense.

Every time Alabama threw a punch, Clemson found a way to counter. Even when the Crimson Tide went up 38-27 on a 95-yard kick return for a touchdown by Kenyan Drake that seemingly put the game away, the Tigers came back and scored with 4:40 left to make it 38-33. Alabama had to rally for one more touchdown drive, and even then, Watson brought the team back down the field for the TD that covered the spread. At 45-40, it was obviously an easy over contest.

Many of the names and faces are the same in this game as last year, and it would be easy to suggest that this would be a similar type of high scoring game. That said, you'd like to think that some lessons would have been learned from that title game last season.

If nothing else, we saw what these two teams were capable of in the national semifinals. Alabama scored just as many points on defense as it allowed – seven each – in a 24-7 victory in the Peach Bowl. Clemson meanwhile, shut out and Ohio State team that had the look and feel of a championship when it came into the playoff out in the Fiesta Bowl.