Wilson: Early Clemson-LSU Betting Thoughts and How I See the National Title Game Line Moving
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Ed Orgeron
The College Football Playoff Semifinals are complete as Clemson will travel to New Orleans to face LSU for the national championship. These two teams took two different paths on semifinal Saturday.
LSU brought a blitzkrieg of offense to get ahead of Oklahoma quickly. Four of the first five drives from the Sooners resulted in a punt, trailing 35-7 before the midway point of the second. Joe Burrow had seven touchdowns while the defense pitched in six passes defensed and two sacks.
LSU did not break a sweat, while Clemson took a beating in their semifinal, which is important for the title game. Tee Higgins was sidelined through the first half with a concussion. Justyn Ross also suffered an injury.
Trevor Lawrence took more pressure and hits than any game this season with three sacks. All in all, Clemson survived because of a Shaun Wade ejection, a roughing the punter call and a Jordan Fuller scoop and score that was called back.
Ohio State may have been the better team, but the failed red zone opportunities and game ending interception sent the Buckeyes home for the season.
Clemson now travels into the backyard of LSU to face Joe Burrow in New Orleans. The line opened around LSU -4 in many places with steam as high as -5.5 and -6.5.
Plenty of gamblers who rely on math to make power ratings will be backing Clemson. But considering LSU’s performances since the Ole Miss game, no power rating system may be able to accurately pinpoint how hot the Tigers are.
The point spread has steamed far beyond the Action Network power rating of a pick’em, an indication that bettors have no interest in fading LSU despite the math saying this line should be much smaller.
There are advantages for Clemson on offense. Trevor Lawrence leads an offense that is 24th in Standard Downs explosiveness, while LSU is 124th on defense in the same category.
That will be on display like it was in Clemson’s final scoring drive against Ohio State, when the Tigers hit big plays to Travis Etienne.
There are not many things to pick at regarding LSU’s statistical profile in comparison to Clemson, but the loss of guard Damien Lewis could prove crucial, as he is one of LSU’s best lineman in protection. LSU will also have the edge in special teams.
Wait for more LSU steam and try to grab Clemson at +6 or better. It’s available to DraftKings as of Sunday afternoon.
As for the total, I expect the opener of 69 to fall. I will be a buyer on the over at the key number of 67. My projections make the total 72.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire should be at full strength after just two carries in the Peach Bowl. These two teams rank second and third in finishing drives while LSU is expected to give up some big passing plays.
I expect the total this to steam down based upon the Fiesta Bowl score, but Ohio State left plenty of red zone points on the board.