LSU vs. Clemson Betting Guide: College Football National Championship Odds, Preview, and Prediction

LSU’s Joe Burrow and Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence (photo credit: USA TODAY Sports)

The College Football National Championship is set, as No. 1 LSU takes on No. 3 Clemson on Monday, January 13, 2020. The game will take place at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, which is very much in LSU country. Let’s take a look at the College Football National Championship betting odds and preview what’s to come.

Monday, January 13, 2020, at 8 p.m. ET
Mercedes-Benz Superdome
New Orleans, LA

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College Football National Championship Betting Odds

In Las Vegas, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook opened the top-tanked LSU Tigers as the betting favorite to win the College Football National Championship, priced at -180 on the moneyline and -3.5 on the point spread. On the other side, Clemson was +150 and +3.5. The over/under for the game opened at 71 at Westgate.

Not too long after open, those lines shifted, but things eventually settled down. As of Monday, January 13, at 4:45 p.m. ET, the Westgate SuperBook had LSU -210 on the moneyline and -4.5 on the point spread. Clemson moved to +180 on the moneyline and +4.5. The over/under had dropped to 67.

DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook also had LSU as the favorites at open, and in similar fashion the lines shifted to favor LSU more. As of Monday, January 13, at 4:45 p.m. ET, the over/under had dropped to 66.5 at FanDuel and 67 at DraftKings.

No. 3 Clemson+4.5 / +180 ML+5 / +170 ML+5 / +170
No. 1 LSU-4.5 / -210 ML-5 / -195 ML-5 / -200

*Odds updated on Monday, January 13, at 4:45 p.m. ET and subject to change.

How the Two Teams Got Here

If you read SharpSide’s College Football Playoff 2019 Preview, you’ll know that the LSU Tigers reached the College Football Playoff as the No. 1 seed with a 13-0 record behind their Heisman-winning quarterback, Joe Burrow. Notably, LSU defeated Georgia in the SEC Championship, cruising to a victory by a score of 37-10.

Burrow has been incredible all season long. Entering the SEC Championship, Burrow had a completion percentage of 77.9%, 4,715 passing yards, 48 passing touchdowns, and 6 interceptions. He also added 289 rushing yards and 3 rushing touchdowns. As if those numbers weren’t good enough, Burrow went out and put on an absolute show in LSU’s College Football Playoff Semifinal against the Oklahoma Sooners. In that game, Burrow went 29-for-39 for a completion percentage of 74.4%. He threw for an outstanding 493 yards and 7 touchdowns. He didn’t throw an interception and also ran for a touchdown, as LSU thumped the Sooners 63-28.

If Oklahoma was going to have a chance against LSU, the offense needed to be able to stay with Burrow and company. The LSU defense did its part to shut down the Sooners, though, holding Oklahoma to 322 total yards. Jalen Hurts couldn’t get much going at all, going 15-for-31 for 217 yards, 0 passing touchdowns, and 1 interception.

If you didn’t think LSU was the best team in the country and very much deserving of the No. 1 seed entering their game against Oklahoma, it’s hard to debate their positioning after the performance in the Peach Bowl.

The other College Football Playoff Semifinal featured No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Clemson, and it was a much more competitive game than the one between LSU and Oklahoma.

Facing off against LSU comes the defending national champions, No. 3 Clemson. Like LSU, Clemson finished the regular season with a perfect 13-0 record, and they also very much crushed their competition all season long. The big question surrounding Clemson was if they were battle tested enough, as many pointed to their strength of schedule, or lack thereof, as a knock on the defending champs. In the ACC Championship, Clemson faced off against a ranked Virginia team and easily beat them by a score of 62-17.

Clemson is led by standout quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who operates behind a very powerful offensive line. In the regular season, Lawrence threw for 3,172 yards, 34 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions. His completion percentage was 68.8%, and he added 407 yards and 7 touchdowns on the ground. Against Ohio St., Lawrence threw for 259 yards and 2 touchdowns, but it was what he did with his legs that really helped Clemson to get the win. Lawrence ran 16 times for 107 yards, including a 67-yard breakaway touchdown.

There’s little doubt that both of these teams are college football powerhouses, but one may be a little bit more powerful than the other. Let’s get to our preview of the big game and give a prediction.

CFB National Championship Preview and Prediction

LSU and Clemson will have just about two weeks off to get prepared for the CFB National Championship. With the way the Tigers have been dominating teams, it’s hard to bet against LSU. The crushing of Oklahoma was the most recent example of their dominance and will undoubtedly be in the forefront of everyone’s mind entering the National Championship game.

Burrow and the LSU offense have been electric, stud running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire played sparingly against Oklahoma and will get two weeks to rest up, and the defense looks as good and aggressive as any in the nation. Coming out of the game against Oklahoma, it might be LSU’s defense that we’re most impressed with. Although Oklahoma scored 28 points, they were absolutely dominated, especially early on. It was very clear right from the start that Oklahoma had no answer for LSU’s defense. Other than a couple of big plays to star wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, it’s hard to remember anything the Sooners did on offense to open your eyes.

After their bruising, hard-fought game against Ohio State, Clemson is going to need all of the time off they can get. Clemson and Ohio State beat the heck out of each other in a game that came right down to the wire. In that game, players were smashing each other left and right, plus several went in and out of the game with injuries. LSU didn’t look like they had to lift much of a finger against Oklahoma, and a lot of the starters got to rest early due to the blowout, so one would think that LSU will be much less banged up than Clemson will be.

Another big aspect of this game is its location. New Orleans is less than a two-hour drive from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. That’s where LSU is located. so we have to figure LSU will have quite the home-field advantage for the CFB National Championship. That’s something that should lend favor LSU come January 13.

In addition to more banged-up players and having to play in a place where the opponent should have a distinct home-field advantage, another thing working against Clemson is how they looked against Ohio St. Against the Buckeyes, Clemson seemed like they needed a lot of things to break their way.

There was a questionable targeting call that got one of the Ohio State defenders ejected and Lawrence didn’t have to go into concussion protocol on the play. Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins was thought to be in the concussion protocol early and sat most of the first half on the sidelines, but he was allowed to return after halftime. There was also an Ohio State fumble recovery that was returned for a touchdown, but upon review the play was ruled an incomplete pass. This was very questionable. We also can’t forget that one of the best running backs in the country, Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins, left the game for a bit of time due to a lower-leg injury. Had that injury not taken Dobbins off the field for a chunk of plays, who knows the damage he couldn’t kept delivering to Clemson.

There was more, too, including a dropped touchdown, maybe two, by Dobbins and a fairly obvious missed pass interference call, but you get the point. Knowing how much broke Clemson’s way, it’s hard to imagine they were truly the better team against the Buckeyes.

Early betting action quickly moved the point spread, too. After the spread opened at -3 or -3.5 at most sportsbooks, it was quickly moved to -5 or -5.5 with the early action that came in. Plenty of sharp action can often come in early, so this should be a bit telling. Most of the public tends to wait until much later to bet, often right up until game time.

We know that Clemson has a very good defense, but Justin Fields was able to move the ball through the air against them and Dobbins, even despite leaving the game for some time with an injury, ran for 174 yards on 18 carries. Burrow isn’t the dual-threat QB that Fields is, but Burrow can certainly scramble around the pocket or outside of it with the best of them, and he’s got amazing ability to throw accurately on the move. Even for an aggressive and athletic defense like Clemson, Burrow figures to be quite much to handle. At running back, if Edwards-Helaire is able to get closer to 100%, he’s a very, very good running back. Let’s not forget how great LSU’s pass catchers are. Justin Jefferson is an awesome wide receiver and Thaddeus Moss, the son of Randy Moss, is a beast of a pass-catching tight end.

As we said earlier, Lawrence looked good with his legs, and he can certainly cause problems for a defense with his rushing ability. There’s also no doubting the talent that Lawrence has as a quarterback, but he’s look less than great when throwing the ball at times this season. Against Ohio State was one of those times. He was inaccurate on a lot of throws and only went 18-for-33 passing, which is a not-so-good 54.5% completion percentage. LSU’s defense may not be as good as Ohio State’s, but they’re still very talented, powerful up front, and aggressive. Lawrence is going to need to be great to allow Clemson’s offense stay with LSU’s offense, but that won’t be easy.

With the way LSU is playing, both on offense and on defense, the belief that they’ll be more rested and have a noticeable home-field advantage for the National Championship, and the early line movement, LSU seems like the best bet to win.

If you were able to get LSU at one of the early numbers, such as -3, -3.5, or -4, good on you, because this line appears like it will keep climbing in lead up to the game. With the way LSU is playing and all that’s working in their favor for this game, it’s hard to fault anyone for backing LSU laying anything less than a touchdown. As for a prediction, we’re rolling with Joe Burrow and the LSU Tigers to win this one rather easily.

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