2019 National Championship Betting Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets on Clemson-Alabama
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Quinnen Williams
- Our college football experts are giving out their favorite betting picks for the 2019 national championship game between Clemson and Alabama.
- After offering our favorite props, we wanted to share which side or total we fancy on Monday night.
For the fourth straight season, we will get a Clemson-Alabama showdown, as the Tigers will look to even up the College Football Playoff series at two apiece.
Can the Tigers keep it close with a true freshman quarterback, or will Nick Saban and The Tide assert their dominance to win a fifth national title in eight years?
We’ve enlisted our staff to tell you what they think, and what they’re betting. To see their favorite prop bets, click here.
Clemson vs. Alabama Staff Betting Picks
- Odds: Alabama -4.5 | O/U: 58
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
- Location: Santa Clara, Calif.
Collin Wilson: Alabama First Quarter -0.5
There is a game flow both of these teams have followed for most of the year.
Alabama has spent much of the season boat racing teams in the first half before taking its foot off the pedal in the second.
Alabama has scored on its first drive in every 2018 game except Georgia, LSU, and Auburn. Clemson has followed a much different pace, as they have failed to score on their first offensive drive in nine of 14 games. Much like the Cotton Bowl against Notre Dame, a few offensive possession are needed before the Tigers are an efficient and explosive offense.
That could come from a freshman quarterback or making adjustments to play calling in the second quarter. But whatever the case, an Alabama -0.5 first quarter wager is warranted, even though I’m on Clemson for the full game.
Also, if you have yet to get a stake in this game and have the ability to bet live, it may make sense to take Alabama before kick and Clemson before its last second quarter possession if the Tigers will receive the ball in the second half.
Stuckey: Clemson +4.5
As I talked about on our championship preview podcast episode, I have this game as essentially a coin flip between the two best teams in the country.
After a very anti-climatic bowl season (except for that thrilling Washington backdoor), I think we get an absolutely thrilling national championship. I simply have to take the points here with a Clemson team that might actually have the better overall defense — not sure I’ve ever said that before ahead of an Alabama game. I think we get Georgia-Alabama part deux.
I just hope we don’t need a field goal in overtime this year to cover because I do not trust Clemson’s special teams unit one bit.
BlackJack Fletcher: Clemson ML +180
These are clearly the two best teams in the country, and there’s really no question about it.
When it comes to handicapping this game, it is as difficult as it gets. These teams and coaches are extremely familiar with one another; there is no fear or intimidation. They know what they want to do and what the other wants to do.
Ultimately, I’m giving a slight edge to Clemson. With the exception of their Syracuse game, where Trevor Lawrence got injured early, the Tigers haven’t really been tested this season. We saw Alabama get pushed against Georgia and we saw them take their foot off the gas a bit against the Sooners.
I like Lawrence and the Tigers here, and at that moneyline price, it’s worth a shot.
John Ewing: Clemson +4.5
Math and history are on Clemson’s side.
The Action Network’s Power Ratings make Alabama a 3.5-point favorite and S&P+ has the Tide winning by one point on average. The models suggest the line is inflated and we’ve seen Dabo Swinney succeed as an underdog.
Swinney is 18-10 against the spread as a dog including 7-1 ATS in postseason games. In its past 10 games as an underdog, Clemson has won six outright.
Prediction: the Tigers not only cover, but win their second championship in three seasons.
Ken Barkley: Under 58.5
With Clemson now under +6 at most books, I’ll move off my discussion of the side, and towards the total.
The conditions in Santa Clara may be sub-optimal: it’s supposed to rain all day Sunday and all day Tuesday as of this writing, and winds are going to fluctuate wildly during those three days as well.
Monday might be the calmest of the period, but as we all know, weather can be unpredictable. The point is, this isn’t a dome.
What I also think is compelling for the total is the same thing I find compelling for the side: the extent to which these teams so rarely face competition up to par with their own talent and recruiting. Alabama got to face Georgia as a test, but Clemson had a horrific ACC group of opponents and then a Notre Dame team that was less talented and suffered seismic injuries during the game.
The expectation that these offenses will continue to light it up now that they face each other is, to me, unlikely, or at a minimum, unknown. Yes, these teams are great, and these offenses are great, but when they meet, I think scoring could be less likely than others expect. Combined with possible sub-optimal conditions, I would lean under at 58.5.
Steve Petrella: 1H Under 30
I would also lean Clemson in this game, but I have some doubts about its offensive line holding up against Alabama’s front seven, and we haven’t seen Lawrence in a game of this magnitude against a defense anywhere near this good. That’s led me to the under.
The field at Levi’s Stadium will likely to be a mess, as Ken mentioned, given its general lack of quality and the rain that’s supposed to hit Santa Clara all weekend. Athleticism will not be on full display.
Expect a slow start from Clemson while these two teams feel each other out. That’s been the script in the the past two national title games before they each exploded in the second half and fourth quarter.
Danny Donahue: 1H Under 30
With a total of more than four touchdowns, I really just need one of these teams to get off to a slow start. I happen to think that both will, so I’m happy to take the under at this number.
Alabama has been jumping on teams early all season, but Clemson will be the best defense it’s played to this point. The Tigers have posted their best marks in both yards per play and points per game this season, and should have a good shot at slowing the Tide’s roll at least a bit.
Clemson, on the other hand, hasn’t exactly been coming out firing. It could happen, but it’s unlikely that a national title stage against Alabama would be the game that allows a freshman quarterback to find an especially early stride.
And for what might be a useless stat that I’m going to include because it helps my case: First half unders between undefeated teams in the postseason (FBS or FCS) are 15-5 ATS in our Bet Labs database. In FBS games alone, that record is 3-1 ATS.
Sean Koerner: Under 59.5
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.