The outcomes of the College Football Playoff semifinals caused an overreaction to the point spread for Monday’s title game between Clemson and LSU, putting bettors in a position to either lay an inflated line or go against the best team in the sport. There are other ways to get your action down, however, such as the player prop market.
Avoiding recency bias is paramount in sports betting, but public bettors like to bet on what they just saw: LSU routing Oklahoma and Clemson struggling against Ohio State, its first tough opponent of the season.
Over the past two games, LSU has recorded the top two single-game opponent-adjusted performances of the entire college football season, per Football Outsiders. It’s statistically improbable for LSU to be that dominant offensively again and continue to mask its defensive flaws against the pass.
With that in mind, here are a trio of player prop bets from various sportsbooks to consider.
Clemson vs. LSU player prop bets to consider
Longest completion by Trevor Lawrence OVER 50.5 yards
LSU might be called DBU, but the Tigers have had severe issues defending explosive pass plays this season, ranking 122nd nationally in the category. Jim Thorpe Award winner Grant Delpit patrols the back end, but he has struggled this season with injuries and a plethora of missed tackles. Clemson should have passing success with Travis Etienne if Delpit is in coverage, while also taking advantage with slot WRs.
Wheel routes, out-and-ups and deep post patterns will be available for Clemson, who has had 12 passes of 50 yards or more on the year (third nationally), thanks to its strong offensive line giving Lawrence time to throw. Clemson’s offense is fourth nationally in sack rate to the LSU defense’s 64th ranking, and its o-line is rated by PFF as the seventh-best unit in college football.
Lawrence will have time in the pocket to find his bigger WRs in Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross down the field, which leads into our second prop bet.
Tee Higgins OVER 83.5 receiving yards
LSU is using slot receiver Jontre Kirklin to emulate Lawrence on the scout team and is expected to keep a spy on the Clemson QB on certain plays to prevent big runs that cost Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. The added man in the box takes away from coverage and should leave Higgins with one-on-one press coverage against the much shorter Derek Stingley Jr. or Kristian Fulton, a corner an opposing coach called beatable.
“(Fulton) is just average,” the anonymous coach told The Athletic. “He is overly aggressive. I think Higgins can get him. You can get him with double moves. You can hit him on slant and go’s.”
Clemson’s offense was night-and-day when Higgins missed the majority of the first half against Ohio State. When he returned, it was clear Higgins was Lawrence’s No. 1 target. He recorded only four catches for 33 yards but had a pair of uncharacteristic drops and was ruled out-of-bounds on the nearly 30-yard play when he was injured on Clemson’s first drive.
Bet on a bounce-back performance for Higgins on Monday in what likely will be his last game as a Clemson Tiger.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire UNDER 99.5 rushing yards
Edwards-Helaire’s hamstring wasn’t 100% for the Peach Bowl, and he was limited to two carries for 14 yards. He’s expected to be at full strength for the title game, but Clemson’s rush defense will be the strongest he’s faced this season (seventh nationally in line yards). On paper, the trenches belong to Clemson with LSU’s o-line regressing in efficiency over the past month, per college football analyst Collin Wilson.
LSU’s highest-rated lineman by PFF, guard Damien Lewis, was carted off the field in the Peach Bowl and is questionable to play Monday. His status is key for Edwards-Helaire’s production as LSU utilizes the inside zone run as part of its RPO offense.
While Ohio State RB J.K. Dobbins rushed for 174 yards against Clemson, the Buckeyes entered the game ranked 10th in rushing explosiveness. LSU is 113th in explosiveness and sixth in success rate, meaning Edwards-Helaire should help LSU move the sticks, but breaking 20-yard rushes is unlikely. Take the UNDER.