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
Will Either Team Score in the first 5 1/2 Minutes of the Game: YES -115
While nerves could get the best of both teams early on, I’m expecting some points to hit the board in this matchup regardless of the fact that both Alabama and Clemson possess two of the best defenses in the country. Trevor Lawrence had no issues tearing apart what I thought would be a game Notre Dame pass defense in the Cotton Bowl by racking up 327 passing yards and 3 TD. We just saw Bama allow Kyler Murray pick apart its pass defense for 308 yards and 2 TD last week. As dominant Clemson’s defense was against Ian Book and the Irish passing attack, Tua and the Tide is a completely different animal. The Tigers pass defense was its Achilles Heel this season. Both squads have pass catching options for days. With that, I expect one of these teams to hit pay dirt right out of the chute.
Total Points Scored: 57-63 +375
I think linemakers got it right initially opening the total for the title game at 58. But instead of making a boring bet on the over that currently sits at 59.5 at the best online sportsbooks, why not have some fun instead and cash in on a near 4-1 payoff if in fact that combined score hovers in that range? Clemson had no shot doing much of anything with Kelly Bryant under center against Alabama’s defense last season. That’s far from the case with Lawrence who has the build and talent to really hang a crooked number on the Tide’s defense. I personally think Clemson wins this one handedly; more on that later. There are simply just too many fantastic offensive weapons to think the defenses will be able to contain them a full 60 minutes. With that, I’m hitting the over full game and will gamble for an even bigger score with this point range.
Margin of Victory: Clemson Win By 7-10 Points +1100
I’ve already got a Tigers +190 ticket in hand and took the 6 points the day after linemakers originally opened the betting line up for this National Championship Game. Clemson has been chomping at the bit to get back onto the gridiron to oppose the Crimson Tide once again after incurring that ugly 24-6 defeat as 3.5 point underdogs last season. The Tigers defense played great in that matchup holding the Crimson Tide to a grand total of 261 yards and only 17 offensive points. Mimicking that feat is going to be tough with Bama proving it’s much more lethal with Tua at the helm than Jalen Hurts. Regardless, I truly believe the Tigers offense sets the tone in this one.
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Travis Etienne is an exceptional talent. He set the tone for the offense last week with 109 yards and a TD on only 14 carries, and he will once again be instrumental in this matchup as well; especially in the late stages of the game. My final score prediction for this matchup is Clemson 38 and Alabama 28. Laugh at it all you want if a fan of the elephant. Clemson has impressed me the most of any team to this point, and I fully expect them to put a bow on an undefeated season at top rated sportsbooks with a handling of the defending champs in the title game.