College Football Playoff Betting: ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE vs. CLEMSON TIGERS (1/11)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL — January 11

National Championship @ Glendale, AZ
ALABAMA vs. CLEMSON

(America’s Bookie Line: Alabama -7, Total 50.5) — Yes, we have to concede that it is altogether possible that Deshaun Watson provides more of a challenge than any quarterback Alabama has faced this year. After all, he threw for 31 TD’s and had over 1000 yards rushing, and he has shown the ability to escape a pass rush, which is important here as Alabama has registered 50 QB sacks on the season. Clemson (at least 500 yards in ten straight games) will have a hard time running into the line with Wayne Gallman, so we’re not sure how effective Watson’s read-option stuff is going to be. And he will have a harder time stretching out the defense without freshman receiver Deon Cain (17.1 yards per catch), who is suspended.

The Tide, with so much depth and speed on defense, has been murder on opposing offenses, especially those who want to run. They have yielded just 2.3 yards a carry, and over the last six games they have given up just an average of just 60 rushing yards. What is interesting is that when they faced mobile quarterbacks like Joshua Dobbs and Dak Prescott, they rang up 14 sacks. In the last seven games they haven’t allowed more than 16 points, and of course there was that dominant 38-0 win over Michigan State, in which they allowed 29 yards on the ground, coming on the heels of surrendering 180 total yards vs. Florida.

There are only eleven teams in major college football who turned it over more times the Clemson did, so is there really a question as to which team is more likely to commit the big miscue? Only if Jake Coker blows up would that team be Alabama, and Coker has thrown one interception in the last six games. Clemson is very capable defensively, and their secondary has to be given a lot of credit, in addition to pass rushers like Kevin Dodd and Shaq Lawson (who is set to return from an injury suffered against Oklahoma). But the Tigers have allowed more than 150 yards on the ground to five opponents, which means that Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry should at least be able to make enough headway to keep Clemson honest.

Alabama has the best running back (Henry), the best receiver (frosh Calvin Ridley), the better defense, a less mistake-prone quarterback, the ability to create something on special teams (with Cyrus Jones – four punt return TD’s) and, of course, the experience on the coaching lines with Nick Saban, who has won four national titles already. And don;t be surprised to see a defensive battle for a while, because between these teams, they have permitted only 27% success to opponents on third down.

PLAYS BY JAY: ALABAMA -7 *** and UNDER 50.5 *

(All information is for news matter only; All games are graded on a scale of 1-4 stars. Lines are subject to change)