It’s going to be a good old-fashioned cat fight to determine the college football national champion. Behind Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow, the LSU Tigers put a hurt on Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl with a CFP record point total in their 63-28 victory. The defending champion Clemson Tigers played their toughest opponent of the season and once again proved the doubters wrong with a thrilling comeback over Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. Clemson looks to become the first repeat CFP National Champion after knocking off Alabama last season as a 5-point underdog. The game kicks off at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, January 13, 2019, from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. ESPN will provide live television coverage.
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Clemson Tigers +4.5
LSU Tigers -4.5
Clemson vs. LSU Odds Analysis
After a thorough dismantling of Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl, the LSU Tigers are getting plenty of support. They opened as a 3-point favorite on the college football line and the number quickly jumped as high as -6 before some buyback brought it down to -4.5. With two weeks until game time you can bet there’s going to be more movement. Clemson closed as a 2.5-point favorite over Ohio State covering the spread in their 29-23 win. They’ve been favored in every game this season going 11-3 ATS with four straight covers. The last time Clemson played as a dog was in last season’s title game and they crushed Bama by 28 points. The total hit the board at 68.5 and the public bought the over pushing the number to 69.
Clemson hasn’t lost a game in two years winning 29 in a row since bowing to Alabama in a CFP semifinal game following the 2017 season. They were favored in 28 of those 29 games with the only underdog story taking place in last year’s CFP title game with Clemson winning outright, 44-16, handing Nick Saban his worst defeat as coach of Alabama. Though they are the defending national champions and were favored – usually by a lot – in every game this season, the Tigers felt they didn’t get the respect they deserved. When the initial CFP rankings were revealed Clemson wasn’t even among the top four.
Most of the criticism was directed at a schedule that wasn’t very difficult. Clemson played only two ranked teams during the season and they were fringe squads at that. They beat No. 17 Texas AM in Week 2 and hammered No. 23 Virginia in the ACC title game. Both teams weren’t even in the top-25 in the final regular season AP poll. But what Clemson did to their opponents was epic, outscoring the last eight 415-78 while going 7-1 ATS. They rallied to beat Ohio State, 29-23, in the semifinal, covering as a 2.5-point favorite.
Facing some hefty spreads throughout the season, LSU treated backers well by going 9-5 ATS with covers in the last three games. And you could argue that these Tigers had a much tougher schedule beating five teams that ended the regular season ranked among the AP top-10 going 3-2 ATS in those games. The latest was a thorough beatdown of Oklahoma in the semifinal with LSU easily covering the 12.5-point line in its 63-28 victory. The Tigers also covered against Georgia at a neutral site in the SEC Championship and on the road against Alabama.
LSU boasts the nation’s top offense averaging 564.1 yards and 48.9 points per game after the Oklahoma contest. They won their games by an average margin of 27.2 points with just two having a single digit margin. LSU scored a season-low in its 23-20 win over Auburn and toppled Alabama, 48-41, with the over going 9-5. The knock against LSU is a suspect defense, but that’s a myth after watching the group slow down OU. They held the Sooners to 322 yards, well below their average of 554.2 yards per game going into the game. Jalen Hurts was hounded all day throwing for 217 yards and running for an additional 43.
The matchup will feature the nation’s highest scoring offense against the lowest scoring defense. Whichever side performs better is likely going to win the game. LSU amassed 692 yards in the win over Oklahoma with Burrow completing 21 of 27 for 403 yards and seven touchdowns before halftime. And they did the damage without much help from leading rusher Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who played sparingly due to a sore hamstring. Clemson did not allow a team to compile 300 yards until Virginia eclipsed that mark in the ACC title bout. They were gouged for 516 yards by Ohio State with J.K. Dobbins rushing for 174 yards and Justin Fields throwing for 320. The unit buckled down in the red zone, however, holding OSU to three field goals that prevented the game from getting out of hand.
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