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CFP Championship: Clemson vs Alabama

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Clemson vs Alabama Meet for Fourth Time

The Clemson Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide in the CFP Championship Game on Monday night at Levi’s Stadium. This is the fourth time that the teams have met in the past four years in the playoffs. Alabama hold a 2-1 edge over the Tigers.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Alabama -5.5; O/U: 56.5

Two stalwarts of the College Football Playoff era square off for a fourth consecutive year when No. 2 Clemson takes on top-ranked Alabama for the national title Monday in Santa Clara, California. They split a pair of championship-game matchups following the 2015 and 2016 seasons. The Crimson Tide dispatched the Tigers 24-6 in the semifinals last year.

The first two meetings, Alabama’s 45-40 win in January 2016 and Clemson’s 35-31 triumph in January 2017, were instant classics that went down to the wire. Both coaches expect a similar outcome between two evenly matched teams on Monday. “When you look at this game, I think both teams are kind of mirror images of each other, to be honest with you – really good defenses, dynamic quarterbacks, very talented running backs and explosive skill, and just kind of built in the trenches. We’re so similar,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney told reporters. “So it’s going to come down to just execution and mentally being sharp and making those two or three plays that you don’t know when they’re coming. So you just have to truly play every play like it’s the play.” Both teams rank in the top five nationally in total offense, scoring offense and scoring defense, while Clemson is fifth Alabama 13th in total defense.

Clemson will be without star defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence, tight end Braden Galloway and offensive lineman Zach Giella for a second straight game. The trio tested positive for ostarine prior to the national semifinal game. Galloway and Giella are reserves who play sparingly. Lawrence, on the other hand, is a critical piece of the Tigers’ dominant defensive line. Alabama suspended tight end Kedrick James, offensive linemen Elliot Baker and Deonte Brown for unspecified NCAA violations prior to the semifinal game. The latter (five starts) is the only one of the three who played a key role this season.

This, That, and a Dart Throw

The Unbeaten Clemson Tigers are 14-0 going into the matchup. Swinney made the bold decision to go with Trevor Lawrence as his starting quarterback four games into the season. The move has paid off as the freshman has piled up 2,933 passing yards with 27 touchdowns with only four interceptions. Lawrence’s big arm gives the Tigers a downfield threat on every play. Running back Travis Etienne has 1,572 yards and 22 TD’s. He is the workhorse on offense. Despite losing Dexter Lawrence, the defense still was dominant in last week’s 30-3 victory over Notre Dame and possesses four players who have recorded at least 10 tackles for loss. Clelin Ferrell leads the way with 18 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks.

The Alabama Crimson Tide also are 14-0 going into tonight’s matchup. The Crimson Tide have evolved from the team that was content to run the ball and slug out a low-scoring win. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa racked up 3,671 passing yards, 41 TDs, and only four interceptions on the year. He leads a high-powered offense. Alabama’s best shot at attacking the Tigers is through the air as five receivers have at least six touchdown receptions. Jerry Jeudy leads the way with 1,176 receiving yards and 13 TD’s. Alabama’s defense might be the most susceptible unit on the field. They have given up 454 and 507 total yards in its last two games. Getting stops in the red zone and forcing turnovers will be key against Clemson’s explosive offense.

PREDICTION: Clemson 37, Alabama 34

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CFP Championship Game Trends

Alabama Trends

  • Trend Over is 9-2 in Crimson Tide last 11 bowl games as a favorite of 3.5-10.0. Hit % 81.80% (11) O/U 9|2 Push 0 W/L
  • Over is 20-6-2 in Crimson Tide last 28 neutral site games as a favorite. 76.90% (28) 20|6 2
  • Over is 11-3 in Crimson Tide last 14 neutral site games as a favorite of 3.5-10.0. 78.60% (14) 11|3 0
  • Over is 9-2-2 in Crimson Tide last 13 neutral site games as a favorite of 10.5 or greater. 81.80% (13) 9|2 2

Clemson Trends

  • Trend Under is 5-2 in Tigers last 7 bowl games as an underdog of 3.5-10.0. Hit % 71.40% (7) O/U 2|5 Push 0 W/L
  • Under is 9-4 in Tigers last 13 neutral site games as a favorite. 69.20% (13) 20|6 2
  • Under is 14-6 in Tigers last 20 games as a favorite of 0.5-3.0. 70.00% (20) 6|14 0
  • Under is 6-2 in Tigers last 8 neutral site games as an underdog of 3.5-10.0. 75.00% (8) 2|6 0

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Dirty has been an employee or owner of some of the top online sports gambling forums since 1998. He worked at EOG.com from it's inception until 2008 when he left and opened GamblingIQ and then in 2012 opened Handicappers Hidaway. He has written hundreds af articles over the years and always has his "Dirty Dozen" College Football poll up starting the first week of October.
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