Clemson and Alabama will have their third straight rematch, but this time in a College Football Playoff semi-final matchup rather than the previous two title games. According to OddsShark, Alabama opens as a 1.5 favorite over Clemson, despite being the lowest ranked College Football Playoff team. Westgate has Alabama opening as a just a one point favorite. The Tigers take on the Crimson Tide on New Year’s Day at 8:45 p.m. Eastern in New Orleans.
In last year’s title matchup, Alabama was favored by 6.5 points prior to Clemson’s upset for the championship.
Both Clemson and Alabama is headed back to the College Football Playoff. The Tigers head into the postseason 12-1 as ACC champs, with their only loss coming to Syracuse in a game quarterback Kelly Bryant was not able to finish. Clemson had wins over six ranked opponents (at the time they played them): Auburn, Louisville, Virginia Tech, NC State, South Carolina and Miami. Clemson has also performed well in Vegas, going 8-4-1 against the spread this season. The Tigers games have tended to hit the under on the point total, with eight games going under, and five game going over.
According to ESPN, the committee places the top team in the location that would be most advantageous to them. Hence Clemson is headed to New Orleans to play in the Sugar Bowl. It also works out for Alabama, as it is a manageable drive from Tuscaloosa.
Alabama was on the playoff bubble after their Iron Bowl loss to Auburn. The Crimson Tide made the College Football Playoff despite not winning the SEC, making it the first time in the history of the playoff that two teams from the same conference have a chance at the title. The Crimson Tide are 11-1 straight up, but just 5-7 against the spread.
Alabama is 13-4 all-time against Clemson, and has won 13 of their last 14 matchups. However, Clemson defeated Alabama last January for the national title.