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Why You Should Bet Clemson To Win CFP Championship 2019

Dan Kilbridge for Bookies.com

Dan Kilbridge  | 4 mins

Why You Should Bet Clemson To Win CFP Championship 2019
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This is the second in a four-part series looking at National Championship odds and making the case for all four College Football Playoff teams, including how to bet them with the most value.

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Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is on a roll. His defending national champs are riding a 28-game win streak and just beat Virginia for a fifth consecutive ACC championship. The best part for Swinney? He doesn’t even have to worry about complacency, calling the Tigers’ No. 3 ranking in the College Football Playoff, “free fuel.”

His claims that the program deserves better fall flat when shouted from a $55 million football complex. But players are clearly getting the message inside those walls. Beating an average Virginia team 62-17 says more about the Tigers’ mindset than anything else.

It also suggests you should take a long look at Clemson’s odds, with the Tigers listed at +200 to win the National Championship at DraftKings. They’re a 2.5-point favorite over No. 2-ranked Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl semifinal on Dec. 28.

If LSU takes care of Oklahoma, Clemson will likely be a college football odds underdog against a top-ranked SEC team in the title game. We all know how that worked out last season against Alabama.

Clemson had been the college football betting favorite for most of the season, surpassed in the final week by LSU (+120). That could be a bit of an overreaction to the SEC title game. Impressive as Joe Burrow and Co. have been of late, Clemson has won eight straight games by 30 or more points.

The No. 3-ranked offense looks more than capable of hanging with OSU, LSU or Oklahoma in a shootout. Even more promising is the No. 1-ranked defense that gave up just 244.7 yards per game. Strength of schedule is a legitimate concern, especially with a near-loss to North Carolina at home. But let’s look at the 2018 Tigers.

Clemson Takes Similar Road To 2019 CFP

Last year’s team escaped with a 28-26 win at Texas A&M and pulled out a 27-23 home win over Syracuse in the final minute. They went on to win their final 10 games by 20 points or more and crushed Notre Dame and Alabama in the CFP.

That’s the root of Swinney’s frustration, the fact that there wasn’t any carry-over or good-faith votes of confidence from the CFP committee in 2019. Oddsmakers continue to have a higher opinion of Clemson’s chances than the folks making seeding decisions. Clemson’s +200 college football futures odds at DraftKings puts the Tigers ahead of the Buckeyes (+225) and way past Oklahoma (+1200).

Clemson’s public perception fell flat after the Tigers escaped with a 21-20 win over North Carolina in September. It’s understandable. The Tar Heels finished 6-6 and were one 2-point conversion away from victory at Memorial Stadium. Alarms were sounded. Panic buttons were pushed.

Trevor Lawrence Sparks Tigers Turnaround

Thing is, Clemson has been absolutely crushing teams ever since. The Tigers won their last eight games by an average score of 52-10. Five of those opponents are heading to bowl games. The ACC isn’t exactly the cream of the crop, but it says something that Clemson is that much better than middle-of-the-road teams like Louisville, Florida State, Virginia, etc.

Why You Should Bet Clemson To Win CFP Championship 2019 1
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence has not thrown an interception since the middle of October.

Quarterback Trevor Lawrence is also back in form after a tough start. He threw 20 touchdown passes with no interceptions over the final six games and now looks a lot like the guy who went off for 347 yards and three scores last year against Alabama.

He’s getting ready to face a top-five defense, but the Buckeyes haven’t played an offense that even comes close to matching Clemson’s explosiveness. As for a hypothetical title game showdown, LSU finished seventh in the SEC in total defense and gave up 35 points or more four times this season. Lawrence would love to take a crack at that Bayou Bengals defense.

Let’s also remember that Clemson’s defense thrived last year against the Irish and Crimson Tide, giving up 19 points combined. The defense is significantly better this year, allowing 50 fewer yards per game.

The bottom line is that Clemson has been here before and looks even more complete across the board. Don’t be surprised if we see a repeat performance from the Tigers.

About the Author

Dan Kilbridge for Bookies.com
Dan Kilbridge
Handicapper Dan Kilbridge writes about college football, MLB and other sports for Bookies.com after spending three years covering Tiger Woods’ comeback and the PGA for Golfweek.