National Championship Game Picks for Clemson vs. LSU
Clemson Tigers vs. LSU Tigers, Monday January 13, 8 p.m. ET
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
Clemson vs. LSU Implications
The ownership of the nickname Tigers is on the line. Or at least it should be. The loser should have to go by the Kittens going forward. But sports aren't quite that cool. Having two teams named the Tigers side by side in this game is going to lead both to some confusion and to some truly horrible puns during the broadcast. But we can get past that because this is one heck of a showdown between teams . Two unbeaten squads. One that knows everything about winning at this level, and another that has sure figured it out this year. And two quarterbacks who could be the top pick in the next two NFL drafts. This game is, top to bottom, pretty much as good as it gets. It's going to be a true gem.
Clemson vs. LSU Betting Storylines
There are so many things that are odd about the playoffs as they have played out over the last five years. Chief among them perhaps, though, is the struggles of the top seeds - which LSU is this year in the tournament. We have seen five years of playoff action before this year. The top seed has not won the bracket yet. They have lost three times in the title game and twice in the semis. Clemson is in some unfamiliar territory as well despite their familiarity - they have won both of their titles as a No. 2 seed and are the No. 3 this year. While LSU is up against it because of their seed, they are incredibly strong right now. Not only have they been the best team in the country all year, but their complete dismantling of Oklahoma in the first half in the semifinal was pretty much as impressive as a half of football can be played.
If you are a fan of defensive battles, you will probably want to find something else to do on Monday night. LSU has the top offense in the country, led by runaway Heisman winner Joe Burrow. And though Clemson got off to a slower start this year, they still wound up as the third most potent scoring offense nationally in the end. Their schedule wasn't as tough, but they looked thoroughly professional against a very good Ohio State team, so they are capable of stepping up when they have to. It's not going to be a one-sided affair, though - defense will have a little something to say. LSU's top-rated offense will face the top passing defense in the country. Given the levels of competition Clemson has faced, it seems a little easier to trust LSU in this matchup than Clemson when Burrow has the ball, but it is going to be fun to watch either way.
Clemson vs. LSU Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with LSU favored by five points. That quickly shifted to 5.5 points, and it has stayed at that level since . More than 70 percent of bets have been placed on LSU so far, so the movement makes sense, and we could very easily see a little more movement before game time - not likely up to a full touchdown without news, but perhaps a little bit more than it is now. The total opened at 68.5, and it has slid up as high as 70 in some spots.
The Tigers of the Clemson variety are at 10-1 ATS in their last 11 bowl games. They are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games against teams with winning records, and 5-1 ATS in their last six games played on Monday night. They are 5-2 ATS in their last seven nonconference games, and 20-6 ATS in their last 26 games overall. LSU is 4-0 ATS in their last four neutral-site games, and 5-1 ATS in their last six neutral-site games as favorites. They are 11-5 ATS in their last 16 games overall but just 1-4 ATS in their last five Monday night tilts.
Clemson vs. LSU Predictions and Picks
I long ago gave up on trying to figure out what is going on with Joe Burrow this year. All I know is that it is very real, and very, very impressive. Last year he was perfectly ordinary - and often not even that. Now he just keeps getting better. Trevor Lawrence is very talented and has found his mojo after a rough start. He has been here before, and he knows nothing about losing. He's exceptional. But he's second best in this one. And his team, while more experienced and probably better coached, is second best, too. The line is very tight in this one, which makes a tough call. In the end, though, I'll take the more explosive team with the older, somewhat more dialed in QB. LSU is the pick against the spread as long as it stays below a touchdown.
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