CFP Odds: It’s LSU vs. Clemson, Tigers vs. Tigers, for the National Championship
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It is a sad but joyous time for college football fans. While dealing with the joy of the upcoming matchup between two undefeated giants, fans also have to come to grips with this being the last college football game for a few months. The end of the season is never a pleasant reality.
At least it should be an incredible ending.
No matter who wins, it is going to be a pretty epic finale to the season. Whether LSU or Clemson comes out on top, the champion is going to finish the season with an undefeated record, 15-0. A win for Clemson will mean keeping a 30-game unbeaten streak alive and a third national title in four years.
For LSU, a win will be the perfect ending for a season that has seen their quarterback named the best player in college football and its head coach, the coach of the year. It will also be LSU’s second outright national title of the century (2007; and third shared, 2003).
So—yeah, these guys have something to play for.
But who is going to win this epic matchup? Will Clemson be able to use their underdog status (+5.5 points via DraftKings) as fuel to give them an edge? Can the favorite, LSU, continue its dominant run and finish the season with a big win on the most important stage?
We will all find out Monday night when they face off in New Orleans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
CFP National Championship Odds: Should Anyone Really Be Favored In This One?
With two teams like this facing off, it is fair to wonder if there should be a favorite. Not that LSU hasn’t earned the right to be considered the favorite, but it almost minimizes the quality of Clemson’s game throughout the season.
Has Clemson not looked great at times? Yes. Did they almost lose to an unranked North Carolina team? Yes—but they didn’t. While that game does not look great for them, it could also be seen as proof of how good they are.
Not many teams can find a way to win after playing such a lackluster game. But they did, and they do deserve some credit for that.
Near loss aside, Clemson is one of the most complete teams in recent history with an impressive level of dominance on both sides of the ball. They have one of the top offenses in the country (No. 3 in total offense—538.4 yards/game; No.4 in scoring offense—45.3 points/game).
But they also have one of the best defenses in the country (No. 2 in total yards allowed/game—264.1; No. 1 in points allowed/game—11.5).
Clemson also has something that should concern Ed Orgeron a lot as he prepares his team—the toughest secondary in college football this season (No.1 in passing yards allowed/game—151.5). The LSU offense (No.1 in total yards/game—564.2) is built largely off its success in the passing game (No. 2—397.2 yards/game).
If Joe Burrow can’t throw against Clemson, does LSU have a chance? Probably not. But at the same time, does Clemson have the game to stop or at least slow down Joe Burrow? Yes, they appear to have an incredible secondary on paper. But most of the passing offenses they have faced have not been very good.
Where Will the National Title Game Will Be Won: LSU’s Pass Offense vs. Clemson’s Pass Defense or LSU’s Defense vs. the Clemson Offense?
Most of those passing offenses ranked 60th in the nation or higher with three coming in outside of the top 100. The best passing games the Clemson D faced all season belonged to North Carolina (25th), Wake Forest (24th), Florida State (34th), and Virginia (33rd).
They don’t exactly compare to LSU’s passing attack.
However, it isn’t going to be just about whether LSU can score on Clemson. It is probably safe to say they will put up some points. But can they stop Clemson from putting up more?
Trevor Lawrence had a slight fall from grace this season, but that could be in part to the unreasonably high expectations fans and the media had for him. Clemson still had an incredible passing game (No. 19; 292.2 yards/game). Maybe if the Tigers let Lawrence air it out, his stats could be a lot better.
But since they also had an excellent run game (No. 11; 246.1 yards/game), they didn’t need to.
LSU’s defense was good this season (No. 29 in total yards allowed/game— 339.9; No. 29 in points allowed/game—21.6). Will they be good enough to keep Trevor Lawrence and the Clemson offense in check?
Ohio State had one of the best defenses in the country this season, and even they couldn’t do it for a full game.
So—how in the world do you bet on this one? An argument could be made for either the favorite (LSU) or underdog (Clemson) blowing the other out. But at the same time, it is not hard to envision this one being close, making taking the points (5.5) and Clemson an intriguing option.
However, a close game will not necessarily benefit Clemson. If anyone is going to be able to strike fast late in a game, it is Joe Burrow and LSU.
As for the over/under (69 points via DraftKings), it is not hard to imagine this one being a high scoring affair. Both offenses certainly have that capability. But both defenses also have it. With a point total that high, it will only take one side, not holding up its end to miss covering the over.
This is certainly a tough game to bet on, but it is also going to be an incredible one to watch.