College Football National Championship predictions: Oddsmakers nearly unanimous on who will cover spread

LSU head coach Ed Orgeron and Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney (AP PHOTO/DAVID J. PHILLIP)
LSU head coach Ed Orgeron and Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney (AP PHOTO/DAVID J. PHILLIP)
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BetIndiana News reached out to oddsmakers for their predictions on Monday night’s College Football National Championship game between Clemson and LSU, and the clear consensus is Dabo Swinney’s squad will cover the spread as the 5.5-point underdog.

Perhaps there’s a bit of hopeful thinking among our bookmaking friends, who expect to need Clemson on Monday night, but of the 15 we heard from, 14 believe taking the points is the right bet. The majority, in fact, predict an outright win for the defending champs.

When we polled bookmakers for their predictions on last year’s title game, they were unanimous that Clemson would cover as a 5-point dog against Alabama. Sure enough, the Tigers rolled to a 44-16 victory.

While many oddsmakers point out LSU’s home-field advantage at the Superdome in New Orleans this year, they suggest the point spread is inflated because of what happened in the national semifinals on Dec. 28 — Ed Orgeron’s men pummeled Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl behind an historic performance by Joe Burrow, while Clemson barely survived Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.

Here are their predicted scores and thoughts on the title game.

Chris Andrews, Sportsbook Director, South Point LSU 35-34. “I think Clemson has a great shot to win and that it’ll stay close. “

Johnny Avello, Director of Race & Sports Operations, DraftKings Clemson 37-34. “Turnovers are more than just flaky puff pastry dough. They often are the difference in winning or losing a football game, so I prefer siding with a team that keeps mistakes to a minimum. Having not lost a game in over two years also cannot be overlooked. Coach has the winning formula — a little Dabo will do ya.”

Alan Berg, Senior Oddsmaker/Trader, Caesars LSU 41-38 (Clemson +6 for the bet). “This is a real tough game. But in the end, I think it’s close. Clemson is a legit team, and LSU is that SEC powerhouse. I expect Burrow to find a way to win this thing, but Clemson is going to fight all the way. “

William Bernanke, Risk Analyst, CG Technology Clemson 31-27. “Going to roll with Lawrence and Dabo, who have been in this game before as an underdog. Took +6. Not betting the total, but it does appear inflated, and (I) could not go OVER a bad number like that. “

Rex Beyers, Senior Sports Trader, Caesars Clemson 44-24. “If these teams played two or three weeks ago, Clemson would have been the favorite. …. People remember what they saw last, and they saw LSU beat up on a JV team that didn’t belong. Burrow had a career game but against a bad team, and it has overhyped LSU to the point where there is no value. With all the adjustments, I made the game LSU -2/-2.5. Taking anything more than 3 is a gift. I think Clemson wins comfortably.”

Aaron Kessler, Sportsbook Director, Golden Nugget LSU 34-31. “Clemson hangs, but it’s not enough in the end. “

Jay Kornegay, VP of Race & Sports Book Operations, SuperBook USA Clemson 35-31. “LSU has homefield, but Clemson will relish the underdog role again. I expect Swinney to make better half-time adjustments and win a close one.”

Errol Krupiarz, Oddsmaker, Caesars LSU 31-24. “Because I got the best number in the world with Clemson +6.5, which means I’m definitely going to lose by half a point. “

Matt Lindeman, Oddsmaker, Circa Clemson 35-20. “I genuinely don’t have a clue, but I’ll go Clemson 35-20, with Dabo and his guys relishing the rare dog role they’re in and playing a more complete game than they did in the semis.”

John Murray, Executive Director, SuperBook USA Clemson 37-30. “People may be overlooking just how great of a team Ohio State was when evaluating this matchup. The line is so high, and everyone is firing on LSU because of how good LSU looked against Oklahoma and how Clemson struggled with Ohio State. Oklahoma had no business being in the College Football Playoffs, and Ohio State may have been the best (Big Ten) team of the last decade. I’ll take Clemson and the points.”

Motoi Pearson, Sportsbook Risk Supervisor, Circa LSU 30-28. “It almost feels like suicide to bet against Joe Burrow and that healthy LSU defense, and somehow I’m willing to bite the bullet. I’ll take the +6 with Clemson, although I think Clemson will trail a bit in this game, Lawrence and Etienne will provide enough of an offensive spark to keep them in striking distance. … Burrow gets that victory though in a thriller.”

Ed Salmons, VP of Risk Management, SuperBook USA Clemson 35-28. “There is no Oklahoma defense showing up this week. Given the physical game against Ohio State, the extra time off is more beneficial to Clemson more than LSU. “

Dave Sharapan, Risk Analyst, CG Technology Clemson 38-35. “With this line being up so long, and the hype of talking about it for two weeks, I am hoping it is a high-scoring, close game. … Now that I have typed that, and I am sure I am not alone with picking Clemson, watch it be a 31-10 LSU win. Hahaha. “

Jeff Sherman, VP of Risk Management, SuperBookUSA
Clemson 31-28. “This spread is inflated based on LSU’s recent results. The Clemson defense is a stark contrast to what LSU saw in Oklahoma’s. Trevor Lawrence is in essence taking a back seat to Heisman winner Joe Burrow, and I expect Lawrence to thrive with the spotlight on the opposing quarterback.”

Robert Walker, Director of Sports Book Operations USBookmaking LSU 35-31. “LSU is the best team in the country, but there is some value with Clemson after last week’s games. I had LSU as a 3-point favorite prior to that, and think this one will go down to the wire.”

Joe Rodgers and Mike Roselli contributed to this report.

Also read: Clemson vs. LSU props | National Championship betting history