Last Minute Tips to Bet on the National Championship

Posted by Aaron . on January 11, 2016 in

If you’re still trying to figure out which side to bet on in the College Football Playoff championship between Clemson and Alabama tonight, here are some last minute things to think about. The Alabama Crimson Tide are favored by seven points in the game, showing that the oddsmakers and the bettors still don’t have a lot of respect for the undefeated season that Clemson put up this year, at least in comparison with the resume of the Crimson Tide.

Can Clemson Run on Alabama?

One of the reasons why some are choosing Clemson is the fact that they have both a tailback and a quarterback who can take off with the ball. It’s true that Georgia ran for 193 yards against the Crimson Tide, but it’s important to remember that 83 of those yards came on one rumble by Nick Chubb, who scored in the third quarter in the Tide’s rout. Tennessee also gained 132 yards. However, in the last two and a half games, Alabama has permitted 4.5 yards per quarter. So in the CFP semifinal against Michigan State, the SEC championship game against Florida and the second half against Auburn, the Tide gave up 45 yards on the ground TOTAL.

That’s why Alabama had the #1 rushing defense in the nation, permitting only 2.3 yards per attempt and six touchdowns on the ground. So what can Clemson do? They struggled against the nation’s #2 defense (Boston College), giving up only 112 yards. However, in the last three games, they have averaged 322 yards per game on the ground. Deshaun Watson and Wayne Gallman are the only teammates in any Power 5 conference who have each run for more than 1,000 yards and scored 10 touchdowns this season. Since November 1, Watson has run for 646 yards, the most by any quarterback at an FBS school. Alabama has not given up more than 29 rushing yards to any quarterback this season.

Clemson has both a tailback and a quarterback who can take off with the ball.
Clemson has a tailback and a quarterback who can take off with the ball.

Here Are Some Things to Remember About That Alabama Rushing Defense

No Power 5 team has missed fewer tackles (3.4 per game).
No Power 5 team has permitted fewer rushing yards after contact per rush (1.4) or per game (41.9).
No Power 5 team has permitted fewer rushes that featured 5+ yards after contact, with 15.
No Power 5 team except Washington has permitted as few 20-yard rushes; both teams have given up six of those this year.

Alabama Doesn’t Turn the Ball Over

Alabama has one loss this year — to the Ole Miss Rebels. In that game, the Crimson Tide had five turnovers. In all of their other games, Alabama had a +14 turnover margin, giving them +9 for the season. However, Clemson does give the ball away, posting a -1 turnover margin for the season, ranked #74 in the nation. Deshaun Watson has thrown 12 interceptions this year, good for #17 of the 18 ACC quarterbacks. Alabama’s secondary does feature holes now and then, but they also picked off 18 balls this year, good for #11 in the nation.