College National Championship Total NCAAF Betting Preview

Posted by Aaron . on January 8, 2016 in

The two College Football Playoff semifinals were not all that competitive to watch, particularly in the second half, as Clemson and Alabama showed they were a lot better than their lower-seeded foes, the Oklahoma Sooners and Michigan State Spartans. That was a change from the first year of the CFP, when the third and fourth seeds (Ohio State and Oregon) won the semifinals and met in the NCAAF betting championship. Clemson trailed by one at halftime but then ran off 21 unanswered points in the second half to rout the Sooners, 37-17. Alabama and Michigan State were fairly close at halftime, but the goose egg that the Spartans had on the board showed the struggle to come, as Alabama rolled to a 38-0 win.

In the finals, Alabama is a touchdown favorite to beat Clemson, and the over/under total for the game is 52 points. Let’s take a look at the matchup.

For the Tigers, Deshaun Watson is the engine of the offense. Against the Sooners, he struggled a bit in the passing game, so he effortlessly shifted to focus on the run, picking up 145 yards and scoring a touchdown. The Tigers run a spread offense that could take advantage of the Alabama secondary. If there is a weakness in the Crimson Tide defense, it is in their coverage schemes. Their big defensive contributors are up front, such as linebacker Reggie Ragland and defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson. These front seven were able to harass Spartan quarterback Connor Cook so consistently that he didn’t have time to find his targets down the field. Watson will be able to avoid the rush more easily with his quickness, but the Tigers will be playing a defense at another level when they take on the Crimson Tide. They will need tailback Wayne Gallman to produce as well, to take some of the heat off Watson in the passing game.

The Tigers run a spread offense that could take advantage of the Alabama secondary.
Clemson runs a spread offense that could take advantage of the Crimson Tide secondary.

The Tigers will be hoping that Shaq Lawson is able to go at close to full speed in the final. He came out of the Orange Bowl with a sprain to his MCL. He is expected to dress and play in the final, but speed and cutting ability will be a factor. He is a whirling dervish when he is at 100 percent, but he simply won’t be.

Jake Coker was a pleasant surprise in the CFP semifinal, going 25 for 30 in the Alabama passing game, gaining 286 yards and throwing for two touchdowns. Alabama had not emphasized the passing game much this year, That performance actually allowed Derrick Henry, the Heisman Trophy winner, to take a little bit of a break, as he had carried the ball 90 times in the two games before the semifinal. Coker has the athleticism to make plays up and down the field, rather than just handing the ball off and making closely scripted throws.

NCAAF Betting Pick and Final Score Prediction

I like the Crimson Tide to take home another national championship trophy, winning 24-20.