After a dominant performance in the Peach Bowl, everyone expected LSU to be favored against Clemson or Ohio State in the National College Football Playoff championship game. However, punters obviously underestimated LSU. The Bayou Bengals opened as favorites of only 3.5 points according to the odds of college football bets, and that line moved two full points in 12 hours.
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LSU fees vs. Clemson for the 2019 CFP national championship
- LSU Tigers -5.5 vs. Clemson Tigers, O / U 69
If the line moves to seven points, it will be the largest extension in the six-year history of the College Football Playoff. The biggest spread we've seen before this was in the 2017 CFP championship game when Clemson turned to Alabama as a 6.5 point loser to win his first national title since 1981.
However, Clemson is used to being a loser at this stage, since the Tigers have been helpless by at least five points in their three previous trips to the national championship. They ended up winning everything in two of those three games, so this is a familiar territory.
The total in this game has risen half a point from where it opened shortly after Clemson culminated his return against Ohio State. That makes it the second highest / lowest in the history of the PPC. The 2015 CFP national championship had an excess / decrease of 72.5 points, but the highest total in the four games of the title since then was last year when the Alabama / Clemson, Part III excess / decrease was set at 57.5.
Don't be surprised if the spread ends up falling closer to the start. The projected line in a hypothetical confrontation between LSU and Clemson was an election before the semifinals of the PPC. LSU's victory over Oklahoma is likely to decrease over the next two weeks, as the Sooners are 0-4 in the PPC and were clearly the weakest team of the four.
LSU vs. Clemson Story
These teams have only met three times in their history. His first encounter was in the Sugar Bowl of 1959 when LSU culminated his first national championship season with a 7-0 victory over Clemson. The two subsequent meetings occurred in the Peach Bowl with LSU beating Clemson 10-7 in the 1996 edition and Clemson beating LSU 25-24 in the 2012 game.
How LSU arrived here
The Bayou Bengals have been the best team in the nation throughout the year. LSU played one of the most difficult schedules in the nation, but they rejected the opponents with relative ease. They finished the season with six wins over the teams ranked in the top ten, starting with Texas in a non-conference game.
LSU turned over Florida and Auburn to establish a long-awaited confrontation with Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The Tigers ended up knocking Crimson Tide down for the first time in eight seasons with the 2019 Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow pitching for 393 yards and three touchdowns, paving the way for the Tigers to be favorites in the SEC. LSU scored 50 or more points in its next three games to set a date with Georgia in Atlanta, and the Tigers demolished the Bulldogs 37-10 in the SEC Championship Game.
Burrow was off against Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl. He threw seven touchdowns in the first half against the Sooners and added a hurried touchdown in the second half to set a bowl record with eight total touchdowns.
How did Clemson get here?
Despite being the defending national champions, Clemson has been underestimated all year. The Tigers never ranked in the top two in the nation despite having the longest winning streak in the nation, and Dabo Swinney has taken advantage of it as a motivational tactic.
Clemson had problems during the first month of the season before a one-point victory over North Carolina was the shock they needed to wake them up. The Tigers responded by winning their last seven games of the regular season by at least 31 points and hitting Virginia 62-17 in the ACC Championship Game.
The Tigers needed a similar wake-up call against the state of Ohio at the Fiesta Bowl. The Buckeyes rose 16-0 in the middle of the second quarter before a late hit on Trevor Lawrence gave Clemson a spark. Later they left the field and scored, starting a return that ended with the Tigers taking a 29-23 lead with less than two minutes remaining in the last quarter and waiting to win.