Alabama vs. Clemson Playoff Pick

Sugar Bowl Predictions: Will Alabama Avenge Loss to Clemson? 1/1/18

Will Alabama avenge its loss to Clemson in last year's national championship game when the teams meet tonight in the Allstate Sugar Bowl at 8:45 p.m. ET?

ODDSMAKERS LIKE: Alabama. According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv, the Crimson Tide are 3-point favorites to beat the Tigers after Clemson opened as a 2-point underdog. The total, meanwhile, hit the board at 47 points and that's where the number currently sits at most sports books.

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THE PUBLIC LIKES: Clemson. As of Monday morning, 52% of betting tickets are on the Tigers to cover the point spread but 53% of the money is on Alabama.

INJURY REPORT: Brandon Kennedy (ankle) is questionable for Alabama while Shaun Dion Hamilton is out with a knee injury. For the Tigers, Tre Lamar (back) is probable and so is cornerback Mark Fields (foot). Judah Davis, a reserve linebacker, is out with a knee injury suffered in mid-December.

WHO WE LIKE: Alabama. Honestly, I think Clemson is the best team in the nation and had the strongest resumes in college football. The Tigers deserved the No. 1 seeding and if they come out and hand the Crimson Tide another loss, I wouldn't be shocked.

That said, there are a few reasons why I'm taking 'Bama. For starters, when these two teams met the last two years, Nick Saban had to prepare for Michigan State and Washington, respectively, because those teams were Alabama's first playoff opponents before getting to Clemson. This time around, Saban has had nearly a month to prepare for the Tigers and for as good as Dabo Swinney is, nobody tops Saban from a preparation standpoint.

This is also the healthiest the Crimson Tide have been in a month. Granted, nothing having Hamilton is detrimental because he set the defense. But the Tide has played multiple games without him so they're at least in better position to hold up defensively despite his presence.

Finally, for as good as Kelly Bryant has been this season, he's not Deshaun Watson. When the Tigers nearly beat the Tide two years ago in the national championship, Watson was incredible in the second half. Had it not been for Waton's heroics a year ago in the fourth quarter, then Bama would have been crowned back-to-back title winners. Thus, without Watson, I'm fading Clemson in a game that should absolutely live up to the hype.

 

ALLSTATE SUGAR BOWL PREDICTION: ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE -3

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