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National Title Game: Clemson vs LSU 

Spread: Clemson +5.5

Over/Under: 69.5

It was a fumble. We get it, Buckeyes fans. We know you got jobbed on that call, but you’re full of shit if you think Trevor Lawrence lowered his head on purpose then played up how hurt he was to get the personal foul and targeting call. Now, please, get over it. Clemson is still the better team, but hey, what are you gonna do? Clemson punched their ticket and then things got weird really fast. 

The line opened -3 LSU and the betting public drove this one all the way up to 5.5 in less than 48 hours. Thank you, Joe Public. I love it when a game that should be between two and three points doubles over the course of the week. Oh, did I mention that around 91 percent of the bets are on LSU? There hasn’t been a side discrepancy like this since Super Bowl XLVIII when Denver was -2.5 over Seattle. We all know how that turned out. 

Look, if you’re on LSU, I totally get it. Joe Burrow owns.

Armed with a fantastic offensive staff, Ed Orgeron has unleashed the most enjoyable college football offense I’ve seen in years. They can run, they can pass, they can beat you two dozen ways. They went undefeated and beat Alabama at home (sans Tua) and only had maybe four competitive games all year while taking on six ranked opponents. They’re stacked on both sides of the ball and have a ton of speed. If they were playing OSU, I’d have them at around a five-point favorite. 

But don’t sleep on Clemson. They are one of the only teams, if not the only one, that can match LSU score for score. Their defense is hard hitting and mean. That game against OSU was one of the most physical college games I’ve seen in years and it was exactly what Clemson needed coming off a regular season that was almost a cake walk. They absolutely needed to be tested and even though they got some breaks, they still laid the wood to OSU.

Their offense needed over 20 minutes of game time to get on track, but after Lawrence got banged up (and yes, that was a cheap shot) they got off the mat and made Ryan Day pay for kicking field goals instead of going for touchdowns. If you’re an OSU fan and still bitching about the game, you can look at Day’s choice to not go for it once on three trips inside the Clemson 10. If you’re going to win a national title you can’t insist on kicking field goals when just one touchdown would have effectively put the game out of reach for Clemson. 

Ed Orgeron is not going to do stuff like that in the National Title Game.

He will aggressively go for the end zone and so will Dabo Swinney. I am truly expecting a bit of a shootout here and the thing is that Swinney is going to have spent the previous week telling his team day in and day out that no one believes in them and that the whole world is against them. They’re the defending national champs and they’re a dog by almost a touchdown. Trevor Lawrence is a front runner for the Heisman next season and Burrow won it this season. Both defenses match up well and get this, remember how I said Dabo will be relishing the underdog role? He’s 8-1 ATS and 7-2 SU as a dog. 

Which is why I am very happy that so much money is flowing to LSU.

People are coming in and putting in six-figure bets on them. Keep it up and please push the line to seven because I am all over Clemson in this one. I took them to win the title at +300 and getting six points or more is pretty good. I guess a blowout is possible, but it doesn’t seem like a realistic proposition. I think a lot of folks are pointing to LSU basically covering the over against Oklahoma by themselves and Clemson’s relatively weak competition in the ACC as reason enough to back LSU as a big favorite. 

I get it. LSU is a juggernaut on offense, but it’s not like Clemson suddenly forgot how to play football or were drained of all their talent. Tee Higgins and Travis Etienne can light you up and Isaiah Simmons won the Butkus Award. LSU can fully expect Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson to get theirs and Clyde Edwards-Helaire is going to make life difficult up the middle. I love both yeam’s defenses, but both teams have imaginative offensive staffs, so I am expecting a bunch of scoring. Not sure if they hit 70, but it’s not out the question. 

MY TAKE: Before you run to the window to bet LSU, though, ask yourself if you think they are going to run it up on Clemson. Seriously. People thought Alabama would run it up on Georgia and Clemson the last few years. These are quality teams out there and is the ACC that bad or is Clemson so good that they just cream their conference opponents? I can understand the LSU pick, but I’ve been on Clemson for the title all year and I haven’t seen anything to change my mind.

THE PICK: Clemson +6

***the line has moved to Clemson +5.5 at most online sportsbooks.

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