Sportsbooks all over the globe are licking their wounds on Tuesday in the wake of Clemson's scintillating 35-31 comeback victory over Alabama in Monday's national championship game in Tampa as the Tigers won their first title since 1981.
I don't want to say that sportsbooks were rooting for that last-second Deshaun Watson touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow to fall incomplete, for the clock to run out and give the Tide a 31-28 victory, but that's exactly what they were rooting for. The books were going to lose big on Clemson covering the college football betting spread regardless but at least could have recouped some of that with Alabama on the moneyline.
At BetOnline, one of SBR Forum's top-rated sportsbooks, Alabama-Clemson was the most-wagered college football game in the site's history. The Tigers closed at +6.5 and took a huge amount of late action. Overall, 59 percent of bettors cashed on the spread. On the moneyline, a whopping 84 percent of bets were on Clemson at +195. It was the second-biggest moneyline decision ever for that book. The biggest for the public had been Holly Holm's upset over huge favorite Ronda Rousey at UFC 193.
Finally, on the total it went well 'over' 51, and 'over' took a 65 percent lean. The book had to be feeling good at halftime with the Tide up 14-7. Clemson outscored Alabama 28-17 in the second half as a 2.5-point second-half underdog and going 'over' the second-half total of 24.
Frankly, not a huge surprise the public hammered the 'over' 51 considering what Watson and Co. did to that Alabama defense in their first championship matchup. In two games against the Crimson Tide and the nation's top defense, Watson threw for 825 yards and accounted for eight touchdowns. He now moves onto the NFL and probably only helped his draft stock Monday night.
Alabama had won 26 straight games, and Coach Nick Saban had been 5-0 in national championship games dating to his first one at LSU.