College Football Playoff Championship Game Betting Preview: #2 Alabama Crimson Tide vs #1 Clemson Tigers

2016 College Football Playoff
Championship Game
#2 Alabama Crimson Tide vs #1 Clemson Tigers
University of Phoenix Stadium – Glendale, Arizona
Monday, January 11, 2016, 8:35 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Alabama -6 1/2 (-105)
Current Line: Alabama -7 (+100)
Opening Total: 53
Current Total: 50 1/2
Opening Money Line: Alabama -255 / Clemson +215
Current Money Line: Alabama -260 / Clemson +220

Alabama is a touchdown favorite against Clemson in the Championship game Monday night in Glendale.
Alabama is a touchdown favorite against Clemson in the Championship game Monday night in Glendale.

The 14-0 Clemson Tigers take on the 13-1 Alabama Crimson Tide in the second College Football Playoff Game in  Glendale, Arizona Monday night. Alabama leads the series 12-3 against Clemson and they have been playing since 1900. However, they have played only once since 1975 when they opened the season in Atlanta in 2008. Alabama won that game 34-10 and has won 12 straight games against Clemson. The Tigers haven’t beaten the Crimson Tide since 1905.

Alabama is coached by Nick Saban. Alabama won the SEC West Title outright at 7-1. The Crimson Tide beat Florida 29-15 in the SEC Championship game in Atlanta. Alabama is the #2 seed in the playoffs. The Crimson Tide crushed the #3 seed and Big Ten champion Michigan State 38-0 in the semifinal in the Cotton Bowl December 31.

The Crimson Tide have a home loss to Ole Miss 43-37. Alabama has a win over Wisconsin 35-17 in Arlington, Texas, road wins at Georgia 38-10, Texas A&M 41-23, Tennessee 19-14, Mississippi State 31-6 and Auburn 29-13, plus home wins over Middle Tennessee 37-10, UL-Monroe 34-0, Arkansas 27-14, LSU  30-16 and Charleston Southern 56-6. Alabama has won eleven straight games since the Ole Miss loss.

Alabama was a 10 point favorite against Michigan State and the total was 45.5. Neither team scored until 5:36 left in the second quarter. Alabama scored 10 points before halftime, and would score 28 points in the second half to complete the shutout. Michigan State had 239 total yards and 2 interceptions. Alabama is 8-6 ATS and the total is 5-9 this season.

Alabama is 36-24-3 all-time in bowl games The Crimson Tide are making their 12th straight bowl appearance. Alabama is looking for their 16th national title.

Clemson is coached Dabo Swinney. The Tigers won the ACC Atlantic Division with an 8-0 record and defeated North Carolina 45-37 in the ACC Championship game in Charlotte. Clemson is the only undefeated team in FBS. Clemson is the #1 seed in the playoff and beat #4 seed and Big 12 Champion Oklahoma 37-17 in the semifinal December 31 in the Orange Bowl.

Clemson has home wins over Wofford 49-10, Appalachian State 41-10, Notre Dame 24-22, Georgia Tech 43-24, Boston College 34-17, Florida State 23-13 and Wake Forest 33-13. The Tigers also have road wins over Louisville 20-17, Miami 58-0, North Carolina State 56-41, Syracuse 37-27, and South Carolina 37-32. Clemson has won 17 straight games dating back to last year.

Oklahoma was actually a 3.5 point favorite against Clemson and the total was 61.5. Oklahoma took an early 7-0 lead, but Clemson would score 13 straight. Oklahoma had regained the lead 17-16 by halftime. They would not score again. Clemson dominated the second half with 21 points. The Tigers had 530 total yards including 312 rushing yards. Clemson is 7-7 ATS and the total is 8-6 this season.

The Tigers are 20-18 all time in bowl games. Clemson is looking for only their second national title and first since 1981. The Tigers are also playing in a bowl for the 16th straight season, and have won 3 straight bowl games.

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Alabama is outscoring teams 34-13 this season. Alabama is #1 in points allowed and #33 in scoring.  The Crimson Tide average 424 yards per game on offense including 219 passing and 204 rushing yards. Alabama is #29 in rushing offense. On defense, Alabama is allowing 257 yards per game including 186 passing and 71 rushing yards. Alabama is #2 in total defense and #1 in rush defense nationally. Even the pass defense is #18 nationally. The Crimson Tide have forced 26 turnovers and have 17 of their own. Alabama averages 58 penalty yards per game and opponents average 48. Alabama is 83/220 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 66/233. The Crimson Tide have forced 50 sacks and allowed 20 this season. Alabama is 48/59 scoring in the red zone with 33 touchdowns and opponents are 20/25 with 11 touchdowns. The Crimson Tide have four pick sixes and five punt return for  touchdowns this season.

Quarterback Jake Coker has thrown for 2,775 yards with 19 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, along with 88 rushing yards on 66 carries and 2 touchdowns. Cooper Bateman has thrown for 291 yards with a touchdown and 2 interceptions.

Running back Derrick Henry has 359 carries for 2,061 yards and 25 touchdowns, plus 11 catches for 91 yards. He has a rushing touchdown in 19 straight games dating back to last season and won the Heisman Trophy last month. Kenyan Drake has 76 carries for 407 yards and a touchdown, along with 27 catches for 255 yards and a touchdown. Damien Harris has 46 carries for 157 yards and a touchdown, plus 4 catches.

Receiver Calvin Ridley has 83 catches for 1,031 yards and 7 touchdowns.  ArDarius Stewart has 61 catches for 637 yards and 4 touchdowns. O.J. Howard has 33 catches for 394 yards. Richard Mullaney has 37 catches for 361 yards and 5 touchdowns. Robert Foster has 10 catches for 116 yards and 2 touchdowns, but is out for the season with a shoulder injury. Chris Black is also out for the season with an ankle injury. Cyrus Jones has four punt returns for touchdowns

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Clemson is outscoring teams 38-20 this season. The Tigers are #16 in points allowed and in scoring. Clemson averages 512 yards per game on offense including 284 passing and 228 rushing yards. Clemson is in the top 26 in all three categories. The Tigers have allowed 302 yards per game on defense including 177 passing and 125 rushing yards. The Tigers are #9 or better in total and pass defense and #18 in rush defense Clemson has 26 turnovers and has forced 25 turnovers this season. The Tigers are averaging 48 penalty yards per game and opponents average 57. Clemson is 111/230 on third and fourth down conversions, and opponents are 61/223. Clemson has forced 43 sacks and allowed 16 this season. Clemson is 49/55 scoring in the red zone with 33 touchdowns. Opponents are 32/39 with 22 touchdowns. The Tigers have two pick sixes this season.

Quarterback DeShaun Watson has completed 68.2% of his passes for 3,699 yards with 31 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, along with 187 carries for 1,032 yards and 12 touchdowns. He finished third in the Heisman voting. Back-up Nick Schuessler has taken some snaps. He has thrown for 177 yards and an interception. Kelly Bryant has thrown for 27 yards and an interception, and also has 23 carries for 156 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Running back Wayne Gallman has 269 carries for 1,482 yards and 12 touchdowns, plus 18 catches for 152 yards and a touchdown. Zac Brooks has 40 carries for 230 yards and 3 touchdowns. C.J. Fuller and Tyshon Dye will also get some carries.

Receiver Artavis Scott has 89 catches for 868 yards and 5 touchdowns. Deon Cain has 34 catches for 582 yards and 5 touchdowns. He was suspended along with two other players for reportedly failing drug tests.  Charone Peake has 44 catches for 617 yards and 5 touchdowns. Jordan Leggett has 35 catches for 447 yards and 7 touchdowns. Hunter Renfrow has 26 catches for 404 yards and 3 touchdowns. Ray-Ray McCloud and Germone Hopper will also get some catches. Receiver Mike Williams is out for the season with a neck injury. Kicker Ammon Lakip and little used tight end Jay Jay McCollough were also suspended. Lakip is the kickoff and long field goal specialist for the Tigers. Star defensive end Shaq Lawson is probable with a knee injury.

Alabama is 4-0 ATS against ACC teams and on grass, 7-1 against teams with winning records, 6-1 after allowing less than 20 points, 5-1 after a straight up win, overall, and after allowing less than 275 total yards, 4-1 after allowing less than 100 rushing yards, 5-2 in bowl games, 11-5 in neutral site games, 4-9 after failing to cover, and 3-10-1 in non-conference games.

Clemson is 6-0 ATS in neutral site games, 4-0 in bowl games, and allowing more than 280 passing yards, 4-1 against teams with winning records, 5-2 in non-conference games, and 3-7 after gaining more than 450 total yards.

For Clemson to win this game, Watson will have to have an almost perfect game. The thing that worries me about Clemson is they turn the ball over way too much for an elite team. Both these teams have top 10 defenses, but I think this game will be pretty high scoring. The Tigers hang around for awhile, but the Crimson Tide simply are better. Alabama wins their 16th national title.

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