Clemson Tigers vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
Date and Time: Monday, January 7, 2018, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
Opening CFB Odds: Alabama -6.5, 58
Clemson vs. Alabama TV Coverage: ESPN
Many were of the belief that Notre Dame had a shot of keeping things interesting against Clemson in the Cotton Bowl with the betting line going the way of the Irish up until kickoff. While Notre Dame had an early shot to fire the first blow, an immediate turnover saw them fail to cash in. The Tigers took advantage and proceeded to turn a 3-3 game into a 23-3 laugher at the break. Even with Dexter Lawrence forced to miss the game, Clemson’s defense didn’t skip a beat holding Ian Book to just 160 passing yards and 50 percent completions. That bodes well for Clemson with Bama likely to look to the air quite a bit.
Not many gave the Sooners much of a shot of hanging within two touchdowns of the Crimson Tide with the betting line jumping from -13 to -14.5 per the closing college football odds at kickoff. Those that wagered on the reigning champs looked great with Bama up 31-0 early in the second quarter before taking a 31-10 lead into halftime. Inexplicably, the Tide went scoreless in the third quarter which allowed Kyler Murray and company to get back in the game. While Alabama was never in a position to lose the game, they ultimately failed to cover in winning 45-34 after allowing 24 second half points.
Player To Watch
Trevor Lawrence – The frosh hardly looked the part in his CFP debut in lighting a solid Notre Dame defense up for 327 yards and 3 TD while completing 27-of-39 passes. Looking the part of a bona fide NFL caliber quarterback, Lawrence must be even better in this win or go home tilt against an Alabama defense that had only conceded 30+ points only once in the regular season before doing so in the Orange Bowl.
Bama ranks out fantastic both against the run in allowing 109.2 yards per game ( No. 13 ) and the pass in conceding just over 202 yards per game ( No. 33 ). With Travis Etienne possibly having a tougher time running the pigskin, Clemson’s chances of coming out on top of this game will hinge upon their super frosh getting it done through the air while at the same time limiting turnovers.
2.4 – This is the average yards Clemson’s defense has allowed per carry heading into the title game at the best online sportsbooks. Nobody has run on the Tigers successfully or consistently this season. Heck, one of the best running backs in the country – BC’s AJ Dillon – only managed 39 yards on 16 carries in the regular season. In other words, Josh Jacobs and Damien Harris don’t figure to combine for 146 yards and 2 TD like they did against the Sooners last week.
With that, Tua Tagovailoa is going to need to rely upon both his arm and legs on QB scrambles to keep what I deem to be the best stop unit at the collegiate level from causing mass chaos. While Clemson has shown a penchant for giving up big plays through the air, they might not be in the offing should the defense keep the Crimson Tide behind the chains with long distances to cover on third down. Tua must shine for Bama to win let alone cover the pointspread in this game.
Bet the National Championship Game at BookMaker.eu
Bama initially opened as 8 point favorites to win this game. That was available for maybe 10 seconds. Since then, the number to beat had bounced between -6.5 and -5 with it currently situated at -5.5. I don’t care how many points the Crimson Tide is laying because they aren’t winning this game. While Clemson didn’t take on nearly the opposition Bama did in the regular season, it still buried all opposition on its way to yet another appearance in the CFP. Only twice were the Tigers seriously threatened and both games saw Lawrence get limited action. I can’t wait to see what this phenom has in store for us Monday night!
Tua is a fine player, but I question his killer instinct. Yes, he came in and led the Tide to a title last season but does he have it in him to do it again versus the absolute best defense he’s run up against to date? If he does, so be it – I’m betting against it!
CFB ATS Betting Pick: Clemson +190 at BookMaker.eu
CFB Score Prediction: Tigers 34 – Crimson Tide 24