TheLines provides a breakdown and analysis for the NCAA’s National Title Game on Monday night. We’ll look at the odds and see why they’re moving a certain way, along with breaking down the matchup and providing the week’s best prop bets.
The top two college football squads in the nation clash at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, California on Monday night to decide which will hold the mantle of top team in the nation for the just-concluded 2018 season. Alabama and Clemson both forged perfect 14-0 records during the regular season.
The Crimson Tide was 8-0 in the Southeastern Conference, defeating the Georgia Bulldogs in the conference title game by a 35-28 score Dec. 1. They earned their way into Monday night’s championship game with a 45-34 victory over the Oklahoma Sooners in the Orange Bowl semi-final at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.
The Tigers were 8-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, defeating the Pittsburgh Panthers in the conference title game by a 42-10 score Dec. 1. They earned their way into Monday night’s championship game with a 30-3 victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the Cotton Bowl semi-final at AT & T Stadium in Dallas.
National title game betting odds and analysis
The line has fluctuated at DraftKings Sportsbook within a point over the last week, but the Crimson Tide has never been less than five-point favorites. The apex was a six-point spread in favor of Alabama a week ago. Substantial money clearly came in on Clemson at that point, enough to move the line a full point down to five late in the week last week. There’s been additional fluctuation since, with the Tide bouncing back to 5.5-point favorites Sunday, reverting back to a five-point number earlier Monday, and then landing on 5.5 yet again as of early Monday afternoon.
The projected total at DraftKings Sportsbook has been much more volatile. At 59 points a week ago, the total reached a high point of 60.5 by the middle of last week. A downward slide then ensued, one that eventually saw the total sink as low 57.5 earlier Monday before jutting back up to 58. As of this writing early Monday afternoon, the number had hit a new low of 57 before dropping again to 56.5 two hours before kickoff.
National Title Game matchup
The battle of college football’s juggernauts is a familiar one. The series between the schools has a 118-year history, but the most recent games have been particularly high-stakes affairs. The Crimson Tide and Tigers have met in the National Championship Game after both the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Alabama notched a 45-40 win in the first game, while Clemson countered with a 35-31 victory in the second. The third meeting, in January 2018, wasn’t for all the marbles. However, it determined which of the two teams would advance to the biggest game of the season. Alabama won that rubber match by a 24-6 margin in the Sugar Bowl.
Monday night’s matchup is a vintage strength vs. strength affair. The Tide checks in scoring the second-most points per game (47.5). The Tigers aren’t far behind, ranking as the fourth-most prolific team (44.0). Then, no team in major college football was stingier than Clemson — they allowed just 13.4 points per contest. That includes a top-ranked 11.4 points per road game. Alabama counters with the fourth-fewest points per game surrendered (16.2). That includes 12.5 points per home contest, second fewest in the country.
The Crimson Tide compiled the seventh-most passing yards per game (322.2). In turn, the Tigers allowed just 192.5 passing yards per contest, including 157.3 per game on the road. The latter figure is the fifth-lowest away total in the nation. Then, the Tigers’ offense often relied on their elite running game. Clemson rushed for 256.8 yards per game, 10th-most in the country. Yet, Alabama was among the best at stopping ground attacks. The Tide allowed a modest 109.2 rush yards per contest, 11th-fewest in the nation.
National Title Game betting breakdown
The Tigers were 8-6 (57.1 percent) versus the spread this season. Monday’s game marks the first instance this season in which the Tigers are underdogs.
The Crimson Tide were also 8-6 (57.1 percent) against the number this season. As is the case Monday, Alabama was a favorite in all of those games.
The Crimson Tide is considered the home team in Monday’s neutral site. Alabama is 4-3 (57.1 percent) against the spread as a home favorite this season, with all of those contests day games, as is Monday’s.
The Tigers were 4-1 (80.0 percent) versus the number as a road team this season. That includes a 3-0 mark against the spread in road day games. The Tigers have also covered the spread in eight of their last nine bowl games.
The average margin of victory for the Crimson Tide this season was 31.5 points. The average margin of victory for the Tigers was 31.4 points.
The Crimson Tide exceeded their projected total in eight of 14 games this season (61.5 percent), with one push. That includes exceeding their projected total in five of seven home day games (78.6 percent), with one push.
The Tigers went under their projected total in six of 14 games this season (42.9 percent). However, the Tigers exceeded their projected total in all three road day games. Each of Clemson’s last four neutral-site games have gone under the projected total.
Sportsbook promos and props
DraftKings, FanDuel and BetStars are offering value for Monday night’s Alabama vs. Clemson game in the form of odds boosts. Have a look below for the options in the New Jersey sportsbooks:
To make things more interesting, DraftKings Sportsbook is offering the chance to earn two times your winnings on your first live bet. Here’s how it works:
- Place a live (in-game) singles paid bet on the game.
- If it wins, DraftKings will double your winnings with a free bet (up to $25).
FanDuel Sportsbook is adding a little excitement to the biggest game of the season with its double your winnings promotion. Here’s how it works:
- Opt in to the promotion
- Bet the over (58 points)
- Win pays double your winnings (up to $100 in site credit)
- Amount equal to site credit must be wagered before winnings can be withdrawn
- Bonus expires seven days after receipt
There are several odds boosts available for Monday’s College Football Playoff National Championship Game:
- Joshua Jacobs and Travis Etienne to score a touchdown (now paying +135)
- Damien Harris to score a touchdown and Alabama to win (now paying +130)
- Joshua Jacobs to score a touchdown and Alabama to win (now paying +140)
- Travis Etienne to score two or more touchdowns (now paying +140)