Alabama faces a line that is smaller than its lowest winning margin of the season in its latest January rematch with Clemson. The Crimson Tide, led by quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, are five-point favorites on the college football odds against the Clemson Tigers with a 58.5-point total for Monday’s title game at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The contest at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California is the fourth consecutive postseason meeting between the teams. In the Nick Saban era, Alabama is 5-1 straight-up and 3-2-1 against the spread as a favorite of 7.0 or fewer points in postseason games, with the 2016 Tigers accounting for that one outright defeat.
Clemson has gone 14-0 SU and 8-6 ATS against a schedule rated as less difficult than Alabama’s docket of defeated foes. Offensively, freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence does not seem likely to be intimidated by the big stage, and the Tigers’ third-ranked offense stands a good chance of putting up some points against Alabama, which allowed 34 against the Oklahoma Sooners’ top-ranked attack in the Orange Bowl on December 29.
A bigger unknown is whether Clemson has a stout enough offensive line to negate nosetackle Quinnen Williams and the Crimson Tide’s interior push. The Tigers’ rushing game was a non-factor against Alabama in the 2017 playoff game, but leading rusher Travis Etienne is the type of edge runner that often poses difficulty for the Crimson Tide.
Alabama is also 14-0 SU and 8-6 ATS, with Tagovailoa serving as the linchpin of a No. 4-ranked offense that is also second only to Oklahoma in scoring. Clemson’s defense is also the fourth-best in the country statistically, and the Tigers, first in the country with 52 sacks, will likely rely on a four-man pass rush led by defensive tackle Christian Wilkins to slow down Alabama, since Tagovailoa is excellent when teams blitz with five or more defenders.
Thanks to myriad major touchdown threats such as wide receivers Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III and Devonta Smith, Alabama averages a nation-leading 11.3 yards per pass. Clemson allows 6.3 yards per pass, but did not face a team with a pro-style offense that ranked in the top 20 in the country in yards per throw.
The total has gone UNDER at online sports betting sites in seven of Alabama’s last 10 games when it was favored by 7.0 or fewer points. However, that sample spans eight seasons. The total has gone OVER in nine of Alabama’s last 14 games, with an average combined score of 63.93 points. Five of Clemson’s 14 games finished with 60 or more total points.
For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.