The Clemson Tigers deserve to be ranked the No. 2 team in the nation and demonstrated their prowess with a surgical dismantling of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the first CFP semifinal game by rolling to a 30-3 victory. Unfortunately for the Tigers, the one team in the nation that does just about everything better than they do is the team they will be facing on Monday night outside San Francisco in the national title game, the Alabama Crimson Tide. Many of the best online sportsbooks, found all in one place at Sportsbook Review, have installed Bama as a six-point favorite and that line could swell as kickoff approaches.
It was a little over a year ago that the Tide bounced the Tigers out of the CFP in the semifinal matchup with Jalen Hurts under center for Bama. When the final gun sounded, Alabama had rolled to a 24-6 victory and subsequently knocked off Georgia in an overtime thriller to become the 2017 national champs. This year, Alabama boasts a two-headed monster at the quarterback position with Tua Tagovailoa as the primary weapon and Hurts as his able backup should Tua get injured.
Nick Saban’s latest elite edition boasts a ferocious defense, typical of Saban’s Tide squads, that was tested mightily in the semifinals by the high-flying Oklahoma Sooners in the semifinal game that caused collateral damage to one of Saban’s headsets when the legendary coach smashed it in reaction to blown coverage. Nevertheless, the Alabama offense came to play and Tagovailoa scorched the Sooners’ secondary for four touchdowns and 318 passing yards en route to a 45-34 victory and a date with Clemson in the CFP Championship Game.
Perhaps the most important advantage the Tide will have is experience under center as both Tagovailoa and Hurts have been there and done that. However, Clemson’s signal caller, Trevor Lawrence, is gunning to be the first true freshman quarterback to win a national title since Jamelle Holieway carried Oklahoma to a 25-10 victory over Penn State during the 1985 season. There is a very good reason why this rarity occurs – inexperience.
Lawrence had it easy against a Notre Dame pass rush that was stymied in the trenches by the Clemson offensive line, which allowed him to fire at will to the tune of 327 yards and three touchdowns. It won’t be nearly that seamless against the edge rushers and interior chaos-makers that the Tide will be lining up on Monday night. Alabama can stop the pass and the run so for Clemson to try to exploit one or the other will be fruitless.
Let’s not discount the Clemson defense. The Tigers own one of only three in the nation that held opponents to fewer points per game than the Crimson Tide. Clemson allowed a paltry 13.7 points per game, tied for second in the nation with Fresno State, trailing only Mississippi State, while the Tide clocked in at No. 4 in surrendering an average of 14.8 PPG. But the fact remains that Clemson played only two ranked opponents during the regular season, but NC State and Boston College hardly qualify as anything remotely similar to the offense that the Tigers will see when they tee it up against Bama.
If you’ve got a hunch, bet a bunch because the best online sportsbooks, over at Sportsbook Review, have the Tide as less than a touchdown favorite. In addition to betting the side, you can also bet the total and player props in the game to add to the excitement. Alabama will defeat Clemson just as they did last season only the game won’t be nearly as close. Our prediction on Monday night is Alabama 37, Clemson 17.