Put Your Money Down On 'Bama To Win National Championship

Willie Bee

Thursday, January 7, 2016 5:40 PM GMT

If you're thinking about playing the moneyline in the CFP National Championship. SBR has your back with a preview and free college football pick in the Alabama-Clemson battle.

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College Football Pick: Alabama -250
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

 

#2 Alabama vs. #1 Clemson
Just two years into the College Football Playoffs, people are already clamoring to double the field to eight teams. As soon as that happens -- and it's coming, trust me -- they'll be hollering to make it 16.

Considering how long it takes to get in just two rounds with four teams, perhaps we'll hold the CFP National Championship Game during Spring Break at some point in the future.

The wait to crown this year's champion is almost over with the Alabama Crimson Tide and Clemson Tigers set to boot the pigskin next Monday at University of Phoenix Stadium. Broadcast at 8:30 PM (ET), and my focus here is a straightforward moneyline bet on the college football odds. Alabama is listed at -240 at 5Dimes, some shops as high as -270 less than a week before the contest.  Payback numbers for Clemson range from +210 to +230.

 

15 Meetings Have Produced 10 Shutouts
If you're inclined to lean with the series history, then a big wager on Alabama (13-1 straight up, 8-6 against the spread) is definitely in order. The schools have met on a gridiron 15 times, the Tigers winning the first three and the Crimson Tide the last 12. In Clemson's three victories (1900, 1904-05), Alabama never even scored; the Crimson Tide have done nothing but score on the Tigers since, tossing shutouts of their own in seven of the dozen triumphs.

We must, however, temper Alabama's dominance with the fact only one of the previous 15 meetings took place in the last 40 seasons, and that game was more than seven years ago. That matchup was the 2008 season opener for both teams and took place in Atlanta between a preseason No. 9 Clemson and No. 24 Alabama. Favored by 4 on the college football betting card, the Tigers were held to zero yards rushing by a Crimson Tide defense that ended second in the nation against the run.

This year's 'Bama bunch is first in the column this season, and coming off a 38-0 whitewashing of Michigan State on New Year's Eve while holding the Spartans to just 29 yards on the ground. The Tide will be facing a Clemson (14-0 SU, 7-6-1 ATS) side that has a much better ground game than MSU brought to the Cotton Bowl, the Tigers churning out an even 3,200 yards on totes to this point (228/game) and featurinmg a very mobile quarterback. Deshaun Watson went over the 1,000 yard plateau in Clemson's win vs. Oklahoma, running for a season-high 145 yards, his 5th-100 yard rushing effort in the last six games.

 

Who Wins In The Trenches?
Of course, the Alabama ground game ain't no slouch either, paced by Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry and tanked 29th in the nation. Henry & Company had a decent game against the Spartans, churning out 154 yards on the evening, more than a third of that on one long Kenyan Drake gallop with the game decided in the fourth quarter.

Statistically, Michigan State has a stronger run defense than Clemson, but not by much and the Tigers have a better overall defense than the Spartans brought into the Cotton Bowl. Clemson rolled up 530 yards against an OU defense that while not great, was still very respectable in 2015.

In case you were wondering, the surface is the same at U. of Phoenix Stadium as Alabama's and Clemson's home grounds (419 Bermuda). I'm assuming the roof will be closed due to an outside temp in the 40s despite the long-range forecast calling for clear skies.

When it comes to my free moneyline college football pick, a bit of a debate ensued between my limited brain and often foolish heart. I've got family ties to Clemson and let's face it, a lot of us root for an underdog going for just its second NCAA Football Championship against a team going for its fourth in the last six Januarys.

My mind, however, says this Alabama team is playing as well as any on the defensive side, and the Tigers won't be able to score enough to beat the Tide's efficient offense. Put me down for one final free college football pick on 'Bama.