Will Clemson cover the 7 points?
Is a touchdown too much to lay on Alabama when it takes on Clemson at 8:30PM ET in tonight's National Championship Game?
Oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv currently list the Crimson Tide as a 7-point favorite to beat the Tigers in tonight's title matchup. The total, meanwhile, has been bet down from 53.5 to 51 and our friends from ATSSportsline.com recommend that bettors take the under.
But what about the side? Is there value in Clemson or will Alabama cruise to another lopsided victory like it did versus Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl on New Year's eve day?
With the line at 7, there is plenty of value in the underdog. For starters, Clemson didn't run the table this season by accident. From quarterback Deshaun Watson to running back Wayne Gallman and defensive end Shaq Lawson, the Tigers are loaded with talent. They also beat talented foes in Oklahoma, North Carolina, Florida State and Notre Dame this season, so Dabo Swinney and Co. are more than tested.
But the biggest reason to back Clemson tonight is Watson. With all due respect to this year's Heisman winner Derrick Henry, Watson could turn out to be the most valuable player on the field tonight. And while Watson hasn't faced a front seven like Alabama will bring to the table, the Tide also haven't faced as talented a quarterback this year than the one it will see in Watson.
Watson and the Tigers also resemble the type of opponent that has given Nick Saban's teams trouble in the past. Whether it was Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M, Nick Marshall at Auburn, or Jordan Jefferson at LSU, the Tide have had their troubles with spread offenses that use a mobile quarterback. Alabama wants to win in a phone both, not be forced into a space game.
Could 'Bama roll tonight? Of course they could. Henry is a beast, Jacob Coker is playing his best ball of the season, and that front seven is the best in college football. Oh, and the Tide have a meticulous game-planner in Saban, who usually pushes all the right points. If Bama's defense shuts down Watson then Lane Kiffin could turn tonight into a game of "keep away" with Henry and force Clemson to throw to win.
But in the end, there's too much value in getting seven points with a team as talented as Clemson and that has a quarterback like Watson. This should be a fantastic title game.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP FREE PICK: CLEMSON TIGERS +7