Editor’s note: The odds below are courtesy of Heavy’s partners at OddsShark. Click here for more college football odds and betting info at OddsShark.com.
Although the Clemson Tigers have the perfect record, the Alabama Crimson Tide of Nick Saban and Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry enter Monday’s College Football National Championship betting matchup as a big favorite.
Alabama, which is 5-1 SU over its last six games, is listed as a 6.5-point favorite against Clemson at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The Crimson Tide, which dominated Michigan State 38-0 in the CFP semifinal on Dec. 31, is bent on winning their fourth national title in the last seven seasons. Coach Dabo Swinney’s Tigers will enter University of Phoenix Stadium trying to bring the ACC program its first in 35 years.
The Crimson Tide, who are 13-1 SU and 8-6 ATS, have a decided edge in the tackle box. Alabama’s defensive front seven, with five senior starters including MLB Reggie Ragland and DE Jarran Reed, as well as a plethora of role players, has helped Alabama grade out as the country’s best defense in Football Outsiders’ estimation. The Crimson Tide, which also has a major asset in pass coverage with CB Cyrus Jones, allows an average of only 13.4 points, including 9.3 across their past three games.
Alabama will pose the toughest challenge that Clemson’s dual-threat sophomore QB Deshaun Watson and primary RB Wayne Gallman have seen in their two-year careers. The Crimson Tide are 7-3 SU and 3-6-1 in their last 10 games when they were favored by six to 10 points. Their economical QB, Jake Coker, has been a 73.2% passer with 5 TD and zero INT across the past three games. Henry is nearly automatic for a 100-yard rushing night.
Clemson, at 14-0 and 7-7 SU, should not be a pushover. The Tigers are 6-4 SU and 5-5 ATS in their last 10 games against the SEC, and their schedule includes wins against premier offensive teams (North Carolina, Notre Dame) and defensive squads (Boston College, Oklahoma). Between Watson, Gallman and other playmakers such as WR Artavis Scott and WR Charone Peake, the Tigers have the speed to counter Alabama’s size and strength.
The Tigers, who are 2-4 ATS in their last six games, are fifth in the NCAA in pass defense (166.9 against/game) due in large part to the pass-rush efforts of all-American DE Shaq Lawson and close coverage from CB Mackensie Alexander. The Tigers allow an average of 20.2 points and work best when they force three-and-outs and give their frontline defenders a breather. That might be easier said than done with the tireless Henry churning out yards after contact for Alabama. Overall, the Tigers are capable of making this a game.
The total for Monday’s Alabama vs. Clemson betting matchup is set at 50.5 points at the sportsbooks. The total has gone OVER in seven of Clemson’s 10 most recent games.
The OddsShark Computer is projecting a 40-38 Alabama victory.
Alabama vs. Clemson pick: Clemson ATS, Alabama SU
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