The Clemson Tigers (14-0) are attracting the early money in Las Vegas after the ACC champs opened as 6.5-point underdogs against Alabama (14-0) in the College Football Playoff National Championship.
The Tigers and Crimson Tide will square off Monday night for the national title for the third time in four years. Defending champion Alabama is competing for the CFP National Championship for a fourth consecutive year. Monday will also mark the fourth straight year Clemson and Alabama will meet in the playoff.
After both made their semifinal games appear easy against Notre Dame and Oklahoma, the Westgate SuperBook opened the title game odds with the Crimson Tide spotting the Tigers 6.5 points. The over/under was set at 57.5.
But early activity came in on the underdogs, and that forced oddsmakers to shave a point off the spread.
There’s of course plenty of action on the favorites. William Hill reports that it’s printing more point spread tickets on Alabama. Nevada’s largest oddsmaker says about 66 percent of point spread slips have been on the favorite.
After Alabama beat No. 4 Oklahoma 45-34, and Clemson demolished No. 3 Notre Dame 30-3, there remains little debate as to which two teams should be playing in the National Championship.
Alabama has been favored in each of its past 53 games. ESPN’s David Purdum reports that the last time the Crimson Tide were underdogs was in 2015 when they played at Georgia (‘Bama won 38-10).
This is clearly the best two teams … and it’s going to be an exciting game,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “This is the way it should be.”
Clemson isn’t exactly accustomed to playing the role of underdog. The Tigers won’t be favored for just the third time since 2015.
Those looking to take the underdogs will currently find their best odds at online sportsbook BetNow. The site has Alabama giving Clemson a full touchdown. The best spread on the Crimson Tide is six points.
Oddsmakers fared well in the College Football Playoff semifinal games.
Caesars Palace said 58 percent of the money and 61 percent of bets were on the Fighting Irish against Clemson. The casino added that 58 percent of the money and 53 percent of the bets were on Oklahoma to beat Alabama.
CG Technology oddsmaker Jason Simbal told Purdum that for every one moneyline bet on Clemson, the book took 25 on Notre Dame.
As for some notable wagers, William Hill accepted a $60,000 moneyline bet on Notre Dame that would have paid $204,000.
There were some big winners. In fact, one of the largest Las Vegas bets of the 2018 bowl season paid after someone wagered $550,000 at the Flamingo on Alabama beating Oklahoma straight up. That ticket netted $100,000.
MGM took a $525,000 moneyline bet on Alabama in the same game that returned a $95,000 profit to the gambler.