Tua Tagovailoa TD passes 2½
- Over (+100)
- Under (-120)
Alabama’s main man under center, Tua Tagovailoa, tossed three or more touchdown passes in eight of the 14 games he has played this season, including four TD strikes against Oklahoma in the CFP semifinal. The abundance, or lack thereof, of Tua’s touchdown passes against a fierce Clemson defense, is exactly what we need discern as part of our college football picks.
The Clemson Tigers pass defense is sublime, having allowed just nine passing touchdowns in their 14 contests. Now consider that of those nine touchdowns, five of them came from one man in one game, Jake Bentley of South Carolina. That’s right, the Tigers won that game 56-35 but Bentley cracked the code and tallied five TD passes on 32-of-50 passing, for 510 yards and just one interception. Had you read those stats and didn’t know which defense melted in the wake of Bentley’s aerial heroics, it’s unlikely you would have chosen Clemson.
But there are outliers in every analysis and if we dwell on the exceptions rather than the rules then we would be in a constant state of paralysis by analysis. Although the college football odds concerning this prop may entice Bama fans, who bet with their hearts and not their minds, to take the plunge on Tua racking up three touchdown passes, I am inclined to go the other way. I don’t see a Jake Bentley performance in Tua’s future against the Tigers and let’s not forget that Jalen Hurts is waiting in the wings, and if Tua falters Saban will not hesitate to summon the best backup in the business. Go low here.
Free College Football Pick: Under 2½ (-120) passing touchdowns for Tua Tagovailoa
Damien Harris rushing yards 50½
- Over (+110)
- Under (-130)
Clemson checks in with the No. 3 ranked run-stop unit in all the land. The Tigers have allowed an average of 92.9 yards per game and held Notre Dame’s lead back Dexter Williams to a season-low 54 yards in the semifinals. Clemson owns a swarming pass rush and a relentless run defense and the Tide will have a tough time cracking their interior or swinging the run outside on an elite corps of edge linebackers.
Alabama’s Damien Harris has compiled the most rushing yards of Alabama’s three primary backs. The 5’11, 215-pound senior has 819 yards this season for an average of 58.5 yards per game. It is his lowest rushing output since his freshman year but it should be noted that his receiving yards have doubled and the immersion of Najee Harris coupled with Josh Jacobs in the backfield has cut into his workload.
In Alabama’s last outing, junior Josh Jacobs got the lion’s share of the carries against Oklahoma with 15 while Harris ran the rock on 13 occasions. Betting Damien Harris to go over what appears to be a rather doable 50 ½ yards looks easy for those who haven’t been paying attention but the oddsmakers are not dull blades by any stretch. As for us, we will watch Nick Saban deliver his unique brand of socialism in the Bama backfield as the law firm of Harris, Harris, and Jacobs will all get their time to shine against a ferocious Clemson defense. That will diminish Damien Harris’ carries and thus his rushing total. Let’s go low here.
Free College Football Pick: Under 50½ rushing yards (-130) for Damien Harris