In the moments following their 38-point blowout victory over Michigan State, the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide have steadily held a six to seven-point advantage over the undefeated No. 1 Clemson Tigers before Monday night’s College Football Playoff national title game.
Now, just hours before kickoff at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, the Tide are firm seven-point favorites to beat the Tigers and claim the 20th national title in their history and the fifth crown for head coach Nick Saban, according to VegasInsider.com.
The matchup, pitting the Tide’s third-ranked defense allowing 14.4 points per contest against a Tigers offense firing off 38.5 points a game, is expected to feature a decent amount of scoring with an over/under of 50.5 points.
Odds makers have seemingly handed Alabama the edge both due to its success on the field this season and in years past as well as Saban’s overall body of work in college’s postseason. Saban’s gone 9-8 in bowls all-time compared to Clemson’s Dabo Swinny and his 4-3 mark.
The Tigers’ defense, which wasn’t too far behind Alabama with just 20.2 points allowed per contest, could also be limited and it’s reflected in the point spread. Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson is expected to play despite suffering a sprained MCL in his left knee in the first quarter of Clemson’s 37-17 CFP semis victory over No. 4 Oklahoma, and though he’s practiced, how effective the sack artist will be is unclear.
There are some alternate point spreads, but all still put the Tide on top. According to Bovada.lv, Alabama is a 10.5, 14.5, or 3.5-point favorite, and one of the betting site’s three alternate point totals reaches 57.5 points.
The prop wagers are also in Alabama’s favor. A Tide victory by one to six points sits at +300 and a 13 to 18-point win is at +500, while the best outcome for the Tigers is a one to six-point win at +450.
In particular, there’s some doubt the Tigers two main weapons, quarterback Deshaun Watson and running back Wayne Gallman, can break through an Alabama frontline that led the nation in rushing defense. Watson’s chances of scoring a rushing touchdown is set at -115 and -125 that he won’t, despite rushing for 12 touchdowns this season. Gallman’s chances are much worse at +105 against a Tide defense that allowed 2.3 yards per carry and just six rushing touchdowns all year.
Check out the full list of prop bets at Bovada.lv.
Point Spread: Alabama -7
Over/Under: 50.5 points