Reigning champions Alabama Crimson Tide have surged through the competition to win their place in the College Football Playoff National Championship, under the guiding hand of head coach Nick Saban, celebrating his tenth year with the team.
The team they beat to claim the 2015 title, University of Clemson Tigers, are still smarting from their 45-40 loss last year, but have they managed to sharpen their claws enough to steal the Tide’s thunder?
Many critics believe that Clemson will run the extra yards to redeem themselves after last year’s defeat to Alabama. However, the opposing view is that the Tide’s solid defence were not happy conceding 40 points in last year’s final and see this repeat as an opportunity to right that wrong, and win with an even stronger performance than in the previous match.
While sports analysts and critics are divided, believing that Clemson has the drive to take advantage of the upsets plaguing Alabama, bookmakers tell a very different story. NetBet has the Tide riding at 4/11, while the Tigers are receiving greater odds at 39/11. Betsafe also has Alabama pipped as the favourites, offering a moneyline bet of 2/5 on Alabama, while giving odds of 19/10 on Clemson to win.
With figures like that, the smart money would suggest that Saban’s Tide is a shoe-in to win, but the odds are tight, meaning that the bookies aren't expecting the game to be a cakewalk for Alabama. Clemson know Alabama’s game plan from the previous year, and they have one of the best players in the NCAAF, quarterback Deshaun Watson, along with two stud receivers, Mike Williams and Deon Cain, to help turn the Tide.
If they can somehow find a weakness in Alabama’s armour, then it could see Clemson in with a very real possibility of picking up the Championship. The odds are less decisive about how the game will be won, or the points that will be scored during it. NetBet is offering odds of 4/5 that the Tigers will score over 20.5 points by the close of business, and 10/11 that they will be under 20.5 points when the final whistle blows.
For the same bet with Alabama, the bookmaker has raised the limit to 27.5, suggesting it thinks the Tide may rise higher on the score sheet, but not by much. The odds for bagging more than 27.5 points is 5/6, and under that it is 20/23. The bookmaker is also offering the same odds for both teams at the half time spread of 20/23.
With the bookmakers' odds signalling that the game will be a tight race, it's unlikely that Alabama will manage to score more than 50.5 points, which is the line at which NetBet has set its Over/Under bets. It's offering odds of 50/59 that Clemson will score over 50.5 points, which is a risky proposition, but Alabama scoring under 50.5 could prove fruitful, as they've only scored over that in three of their fourteen games in 2016.
In the last game, the Semi-Final against Washington, Nick Saban’s side only managed to bag 24 points. The 'Total Ream Points for the 1st Half' is also a tight, yet potentially lucrative bet, with NetBet offering odds of 2/3 that Clemson will be under 10.5 by the midway point, although it's only offering odds of 1/1 that Alabama will be under 13.5 by the same mark. The bet carrying the best odds is whether or not the game will go into overtime.
NetBet seems sure it won't, by offering high odds of 12/1 in the event that it does. However, if Clemson are capable of holding their own against the Tide, then this could be worth a punt. So if you think you can tell whether the Tigers will get mauled by the Tide, or that Clemson will emerge as the victorious underdog in the College Football Championship, why not visit NetBet now? If you join today, NetBet is offering players a free bet worth up to £50!