Reigning Champion Clemson Tigers Unpopular at Las Vegas Sportsbooks

Posted on: September 1, 2017, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: September 1, 2017, 10:28h.

The Clemson Tigers went 14-1 last year in winning their second national championship. Las Vegas sports bettors believe 2017 will be a different story.

Clemson Tigers Alabama college football
No surprise here: Alabama is the favorite to win the national title. Sports bettors don’t have much love for the defending champion Clemson Tigers. (Image: Mark Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

After losing star quarterback and Heisman Trophy runner up Deshaun Watson to the NFL, Clemson returns with a junior under center who’s never taken meaningful snaps. But with four starters back on the offensive line, often cited as the country’s best, QB Kelly Bryant should be provided plenty of protection.  

Regardless, sports bettors in Las Vegas aren’t convinced. The Westgate SuperBook opened Clemson at 20-1 to win the College Football Playoff National Championship. With little action, those odds have lengthened to 30-1.

“I have like no money on Clemson, it’s unbelievable,” South Point Casino sportsbook director Chris Andrews told ESPN. “I still think they’re going to be pretty good. I’ve jacked up their odds, certainly looking for a bet.”

Head coach Dabo Swinney might have an explanation for Andrews’ shock. “We’ve got no experience, so that’s an issue that we hopefully can remedy as we go through the first month. It’s going to be hard.”

Even #6 Penn State at 20-1 has taken more money than the Clemson. The Westgate says it has taken four times as many wagers on the Nittany Lions than they’ve taken on the Tigers.

Alabama Favored  

No college football fan will be shocked to learn that Alabama is the favorite in Las Vegas to win the national championship. The Crimson Tide enter the season with the shortest odds to win the title for the third time in five years.

The SuperBook has Alabama at 5-2, but that’s a bit too low for some bettors. The most money bet in recent months has been on Michigan on odds of 15-1, and the University of Southern California (USC) at 7-1.

Title bets on the Tide might roll in should coach Nick Saban’s team be victorious in its week one marquee matchup against #3 Florida State. Alabama is a seven-point favorite for the nationally televised game that’s being played in Atlanta.

After Alabama, Ohio State has the shortest national championship odds at 3-1. After a sluggish start last night, the Buckeyes got into gear and took care of Indiana 49-21.

The SuperBook has USC next, then Florida State (8-1), Michigan, Oklahoma (18-1), and LSU, Washington, Wisconsin, and Penn State all at 20-1.

Heisman Odds

As for who will be college football’s top player, the SuperBook has USC’s Sam Darnold the favorite at 9-2. Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and Louisville’s Lamar Jackson follow at 10-1, then JT Barrett of Ohio State, Florida State’s Deondre Francois, and Penn State’s Saquon Barkley at 15-1.

Alabama and Penn State both have two players in the top 15. The Tide’s Jalen Hurts and Bo Scarbrough are at 20-1 and 30-1 respectively. In addition to Saquon Barkley, the Lions have Trace McSorley in the Heisman conversation at 30-1.