NCAAF National Championship Preview Clemson vs Alabama – BetSheet.com
Clemson Tigers vs Alabama Crimson Tide
CFP National Championship Preview
Current Odds: Alabama -6.5, 51
Time: Monday January 9th, 8pm EST
College Football National Championship Preview by BetSheet.com
(13-1 SU, 7-7 ATS)
When the College Football Playoff committee selected their final four teams to compete in the playoff and a shot at the national title, it may have been set up for an Ohio State vs Alabama matchup. Ohio State was a questionable selection but in terms of historic significance, an Urban Meyer vs Nick Saban matchup would be music to the media’s ears. Clemson quickly reminded people why they are making their second straight trip to the National Championship game.
Clemson rolled past Ohio State, 31-0 on New Year’s Eve for a shot at redemption vs Alabama. The Tigers had no issues shutting down the Buckeyes offense and held Ohio State to just 88 rushing yards and 127 passing yards.
Deshaun Watson didn’t have a spectacular game vs the Buckeyes, throwing 2 interception, but he managed to throw 1 TD and rush for 2 more touchdowns. He proved he’s a winner. The main reason Deshaun Watson returned to Clemson was unfinished business after losing to ‘Bama last season and this team will get a shot at redemption.
Clemson’s Watson is among the few opposing signal-callers to have substantial success against the Tide. In last year’s title game, he totaled 478 combined yards and the four touchdown passes.
Clemson’s defense seemed vulnerable to the better offensive teams in the ACC this season but they were not fooled by the dynamic Ohio State offense. Clemson held the Buckeyes to just 215 total yards, nine first downs and forced three turnovers, helping offset two interceptions thrown by Watson.
Alabama Crimson Tide
(14-0, 10-4 ATS)
Alabama will once again look to make college football history by winning its fourth national title this decade and second back-to-back triumph under coach Nick Saban.
The Crimson Tide defense is the main reason why Alabama is back in the National Championship. ‘Bama allowed a first-quarter touchdown drive by Washington before blanking talented quarterback Jake Browning and his dangerous weapons the rest of the way. Washington was held to 194 total yards, while Browning threw for just 150 while being sacked five times and intercepted twice.
One area of concern was the offense behind true freshman QB Jalen Hurts. Hurts made very few explosive plays throughout the game but they were bailed out by RB Bo Scarbrough. Scarbrough ran for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns. We fully expect to see big Bo get fed more vs Clemson considering their susceptibility to stop the run. Making matters worse for Alabama was the highly publicized drama of Lane Kiffin.
Kiffin accepted the head coaching job at FAU and was expected to fulfill his job as Offensive Coordinator until the end of the season. Not so. Kiffin will not coach in the National Championship and the explanation is still not fully clear? Regardless, we know Nick Saban will have his team ready and understands his offense must be better vs Clemson who statistically was a better team offensively and defensively than Washington.
Clemson vs Alabama Line Movement
After the semifinals ended, sportsbooks were split across the key number of -7 as they posted their first numbers for the title game. Some oddsmakers, likely timid of all the big numbers the Crimson Tide have covered, opened on the high side with Alabama -7.5. Others, perhaps wary of the public’s short memory, opened as low as Clemson +6.
The two sides met in the middle after absorbing some early action. As of Wednesday afternoon, the consensus number was Alabama -6.5, a tad below the key number of 7.
The total has continually moved south in all markets. Some opened as high as 52.5 but, as of Wednesday afternoon, the consensus was 51, down a half-point from Tuesday. Likely due to the Alabama fielding the top defensive unit in college football and Clemson coming off it’s most impressive defensive performance all season.
In the 2016 title game, Clemson covered the +6 point spread and the Total went Over 50.5. We could very well see the Over/Under be close to this number by kick off.
Early Odds Analysis
The spread seems to be fairly accurate sitting at -6.5. This may adjust by kick off but most BetSheet handicappers feel the spread may need to be a full touchdown to back the Dog.
Both clubs are capable of scoring on defense and special teams, and one such score could help put the scoring pace on track for an Over.
Since 1992, Alabama is 13-8 on the Total in bowl games while Clemson is 6-16.
Since 1992, Clemson is 10-11 against the spread while Alabama is 12-9.
The last 3 seasons, Clemson is 4-0 ATS and 4-1 ATS as an underdog of +3.5 to +10 points. Alabama is 2-2 ATS and 7-6 ATS as a favorite of -3.5 to -10 points.