Clemson Football: Vegas lines continue to move in Bama’s favor

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09: Running back Wayne Gallman
TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09: Running back Wayne Gallman /

Clemson football is the higher-ranked seed in its matchup with the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl, but you wouldn’t know it if you looked at Vegas.

The No. 1 ranked Clemson football team will take on the No. 4 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff semifinals in the Sugar Bowl on January 1st.

The Tigers, for the second time in three years, finished atop the College Football Playoff rankings.

Alabama squeaked into the College Football Playoff after losing to Auburn on rivalry week. Despite the two team’s rankings, the Crimson Tide remain the favorite, according to Vegas.

The Opening Line:

The line for the game, according to SportsBookReview, opened at two points in favorite of Alabama.

Bama hasn’t opened as an underdog in a game since 2015 when they traveled to Georgia and that trend continues here.

Under Dabo Swinney, Clemson has been an underdog in the past seven postseason games they have played. That’s right, Tiger fans.

Clemson football is 7-0 against the spread and 6-1 straight-up in those outings.

In 2012, The Tigers were 6.5-point underdogs to LSU, which we all know how that turned out. The following year, Ohio State was favored by 2.5 points over Clemson in the Orange Bowl.

In 2014, Deshaun Watson had to sit out of the Russell Athletic Bowl against Oklahoma with a torn ACL. The Sooners were 7-point favorites, but Cole Stoudt lit them up that afternoon. In 2015, Clemson was 3.5-point underdog to Oklahoma before beating them in the College Football Playoff semifinals. The Tigers eventually lost the national championship to Alabama by a score of 45-40, but the spread was 7 points.

Last season, Clemson was a 1.5-point underdog to Ohio State before lighting up the Buckeyes 31-0 and then Tigers capped off the year with a 45-40 win over Alabama despite being picked to lose by 6.5 points.

The Line Moves:

If you’re a Clemson fan, you should like the Tigers’ chances as an underdog. Dabo Swinney and co. have thrived on being to play the “disrespect card” and that certainly will continue here.

The line has now moved from 2 points to favoring Alabama by 3 points.

I know it’s just a single point, but that spread is actually expected to grow as we get closer to New Year’s Day. By game week, I’d expect the Crimson Tide to be around a 4-5 point-favorite.

Next: Clemson vs. Alabama: Comparing Offenses

Overall, I think the narrative from national pundits will be how dominant Alabama has been. When it gets closer to time, I expect the vast majority of analysts to pick the Crimson Tide and that only plays into Dabo Swinney’s favor.

Vegas may not like Clemson, but people that pick the Tigers don’t seem to mind one bit.