BlackJack’s National Championship Game Preview: Clemson Won’t Be Intimidated vs. Alabama
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Damien Harris
- BlackJack Fletchers gives out his favorite bet for the 2019 national championship game between Clemson and Alabama.
- He argues that these teams are mirror images of each other, which will create some betting value.
This is it, folks. This is our final college football game of the season.
While that’s surely sad, we also have to be grateful. We got the matchup we needed. Alabama and Clemson have been the best teams in the country all season. They have been destined to meet for the fourth time in the playoff era.
Unlike watching Warriors-Cavaliers IV, I’m not bored by these teams meeting again. This game could go either way and could be an instant classic type game. So, with that having been said, let’s find a winner.
Alabama heads into this game as a 5.5-point favorite as of early Monday afternoon. There’s no disputing how good Alabama has been this year. In fact, of all the great teams Nick Saban has had at Alabama, Tua Tagovailoa is likely the most talented quarterback he’s ever had.
Tua has been great, save his hiccup against Georgia, but the most devastating thing about playing the Crimson Tide is their balance. They run the ball very well — they throw it better. They defend the pass well (23rd in the nation) — they defend the run better (20th nationally). There simply isn’t anything that Alabama does poorly on offense or defense.
What makes this game interesting is that Clemson is the mirror image of Alabama. The Tigers defense is outstanding — they are third nationally against the run, second in points allowed and fifth in yards allowed. This defense is as good a defense as anyone has in the country. They showed that in stopping a fairly accomplished Notre Dame offense in the Cotton Bowl.
Clemson is also different offensively than they were a year ago when they fell to Alabama 24-6 in the Sugar Bowl. Last year, they had Kelly Bryant at quarterback, who completed 50% of his passes for 124 yards and two interceptions. Trevor Lawrence has been outstanding this season, including going 27-of-39 for 327 yards and three touchdowns against Notre Dame.
Travis Etienne only had four carries for 22 yards last year against Bama, as well. The point here is the offense should be much more productive and efficient this year for Clemson than it was last year.
Clemson might be the only team in the nation that lines up against Alabama and doesn’t just think they can win or believe they can win, but rather, they know they can win. They’ve been there and done it. There is no fear, intimidation and apprehension. We don’t have to worry about Dabo Swinney getting conservative or being unsure.
These two teams are incredibly closely matched, but I think the edge goes slightly to Clemson. The Tigers have been better offensively and defensively than the Tide this year. There is also a ton of value on Clemson right now. I won’t fault you if you want the 5.5 points, but I’m going to leave them on the table.
THE PICK: Clemson Moneyline (+176)
It’s TCB time, baby!