Best Player Props for Clemson-Alabama: How to Value Tua, Lawrence in 2019 National Championship


USA Today Sports. Pictured: Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawrence

Jan 08, 2019, 07:00 PM EST
  • Our experts have found seven props that offer betting value in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game between the Clemson Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide (Monday, Jan. 7, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN).
  • This piece will analyze prop bets for Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence, Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa and more.

It’s not quite the Super Bowl, but you’ll undoubtedly want some secondary action on Clemson-Alabama in the form of props.

Our staffers compiled their favorite props bets for Monday’s game, revolving around yardage over/unders, receptions, big passing plays and touchdowns.

Ken Barkley: Damien Harris, 50.5 Rushing Yards

The Pick: Under 50.5

Harris, Alabama’s “starting” running back, had 13 rushes for 48 yards against Oklahoma (and remember, that’s Oklahoma’s defense we’re talking about), and he’s been used as part of a platoon for the majority of the season.

Harris has fewer than 10 carries in eight of the Tide’s games this season. Josh Jacobs is more explosive and saw more of the work in the CFP semifinal.

I think Alabama will have a commitment to running the ball because it’s Alabama, but that doesn’t mean Harris’ effectiveness is a given; Clemson’s defensive line gets a lot of publicity — and for good reason.

But to me, the range of possible outcomes skews much lower than this number in a lot of the ways the game can play out.

Plus, you get the added bonus of trying to figure out who is in the backfield pre-snap on EVERY single Alabama offensive play to know if you have to sweat.

I’d be comfortable betting the under as low as 45.

Stuckey: Tua Tagovailoa, Longest Pass 42 Yards

The Pick: Over 42

I agree with Ken that Alabama is going to struggle to move the ball on the ground — just like every Clemson opponent has this season. This is a historically dominant run defense that allowed an FBS-best 2.4 yards per carry (only two teams have allowed fewer in the past 10 years).

Nick Saban knows this and I think he comes out firing, attacking Clemson relentlessly — and deep. On paper, Clemson ranks 16th in defending pass explosiveness, but the Tigers had a schedule filled with rushing teams and non-explosive passing offenses.

Alabama is the complete opposite, ranking No. 2 in IsoPPP+ and in the top 5 in pass explosiveness. The Tide have hit for 16 pass plays of at least 44 yards this year (two more than the prop) and have done so at least once in 11 of 14 games.

I like the chances of Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs or Devonta Smith breaking one for 45-plus yards — or maybe a back out of the backfield on a busted coverage, or even a trick play.

Despite that cake schedule, Clemson still allowed five completions of more than 40 yards this season.

I’d take this over at 45 or lower.

Collin Wilson: Trevor Lawrence 2 TDs, Travis Etienne 85.5 Yards