Monday, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN)
If You Must Bet: Under
Best Line Offered: BetOnline
Before the college football odds board released the line on the Clemson/Alabama national championship clash, I pegged the Tide as six-point neutral site favorites. Sure enough, after clicking on over to SBR Odds, most of the major online sportsbooks opened with Bama as six-point chalk but after the dust settled, Clemson saw early action and the line is now down to 5 ½ or even five at some shops. That makes this a hard pass for me even though there will be Bama zealots who would bet the Tide at double-digits because they tend to wager with Roll Tide in their hearts rather than making money on their minds.
However, what we will most definitely include in our college football picks is a play on the total. Despite the hysterics that Georgia and/or Ohio State should have had an opportunity to compete in the CFP while Notre Dame was not worthy, the fact remains that two more complete and talented college football teams cannot be found other than at Levi’s Stadium on Monday night.
With that said, let’s talk about the offenses. Alabama, known for their suffocating defense and ranked 4th in the nation, owns an offensive blitzkrieg which has averaged 47.7 PPG, second only to Oklahoma. However, they will be facing a different breed of cat when they line up against a Tigers’ defense that is tied for second in the nation surrendering just 13.7 points per game. This will be the only the second time this season that Bama takes the field against a statistically superior defense. Clemson’s offense is dazzling as well, checking in at No. 4 in the nation and averaging a whopping 44.3 PPG. So this is a pick your poison kind of total. Will the offenses click against mighty defenses or will the defenses rise and stymie these relentless offenses?
In my opinion, this is not a flip of the coin. The Tide faced statistically the mother of all defenses on November 10th when they met the Bulldogs of Mississippi State, allowing a paltry 12 points per game, and claimed a 24-0 victory. Clemson’s defense is only a click removed from that top spot and it was only a year ago that these teams met in the 2017 CFP semifinal where the Tide dispatched the Tigers 24-6, falling well short of the 47 posted total. On the flipside, Clemson notched 30 points against a stout Notre Dame defense but they ain’t seen nothin’ yet when they get down with Bama on Monday night. This will be a relatively low scoring game with a fairly high total for two defenses that are the best in the business. Go low here.
Final score: Alabama 31 – Clemson 25