Clemson Tigers vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
Date and Time: Monday, January 9, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL
National Championship Odds at BookMaker.eu: Alabama -6.5, 51.5
Clemson vs. Alabama TV Coverage: ESPN
The Clemson Tigers were simply brilliant in last week’s 31-0 shutout of the Ohio State Buckeyes in the semifinal round. With the only blemish being Deshaun Watson’s two interceptions, much went right for Dabo Swinney’s kids who punched their ticket to the title game for the second year in a row.
Watson completed better than half his passes for 259 yards and a touchdown against a Buckeyes pass defense ranked No. 7 in the country. The offense also racked up 470 total yards and benefitted greatly from three turnovers forced by the defense. Speaking of the stop unit, it was relentless! J.T Barrett had one of his worst games of the season in throwing for just 127 yards and a couple picks, while the Buckeyes run game was simply shut down. That unit will once again have to rise to the occasion with Bama possessing a number of backs that can hurt them on the ground.
There was some uneasiness that settled into the Georgia Dome when Washington got out to a 7-0 lead nearly halfway through the first quarter. Those astute enough to see through the smoke and mirrors and hit Alabama on the live betting line got themselves a nice discount, and were then treated to a care free tilt the rest of the way after the Crimson Tide rattled off 24 unanswered points to reach the title game for the fifth time in the last seven years.
Jalen Hurts didn’t do much to impress throwing for just 57 yards and completing half his passes versus the Huskies No. 13 ranked pass defense. He’ll have another tough chore ahead of his in this one running up against Clemson’s pass defense that ranks out at No. 16. It didn’t matter though due to Bo Scarborough’s memorable outing. He gouged the weak link of U-Dub’s defense for 180 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. Derrick Henry destroyed Clemson in the title game last season for 158 yards and three touchdowns, but the Tigers look to have a better run defense at their disposal this time around.
Matchup to Watch
Watson had the game of his life versus the Crimson Tide in last year’s showdown throwing for 405 yards and a 4:1 touchdown to interception ratio. Still, it didn’t prove to be enough. With the Tide’s No. 1 ranked rush defense likely to shut Wayne Gallman down like it did for the most part last season, Watson is going to have to come up with a number of big plays either with his arm or his legs to allow for his teammates to avenge last season’s loss.
Clemson vs. Alabama Free Picks
Never in the history of the college football National Championship Game has there been a rematch of the same two teams the very next season. Besides the way these teams stack up on paper, that’s what makes this second go round so special. Clemson is out to return a national championship to Death Valley for the first time since 1981, while the Tide are out to win their fifth in the last eight years.
As much as I want to believe Clemson has a shot at winning this game, Alabama is simply just too good. It always comes up with the big play on either side of the ball to turn a competitive game into a laugher. The Tigers held a lead twice in last year’s meeting, yet Bama still calmly went about its business to reclaim the lead and go on to win the game. The Tigers must make it a point to stay out of third-and-long situations. If it doesn’t, it’ll be lights out baby! I don’t foresee this being the track meet on the total odds at BookMaker.eu like it was last January, so look for the defenses to come up with a number of stops. In the end, Bama will come out victorious but Clemson will give it another run for its money.
Clemson vs. Alabama ATS Pick: Alabama -18 at BookMaker.eu
Clemson vs. Alabama Score Prediction: Alabama 27 – Clemson 23