After a dominant performance in the Peach Bowl, everyone expected LSU to favor either Clemson or Ohio State in playing the College Football National Football Championship. However, performance candidates obviously point to LSU. The Bayou Bengals opened as a 3.5-point favorite for college football betting odds, and that line moved two points in 12 hours.
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LSU vs. Clemson returns for the 2019 CFP National Championship
- LSU Tigers -5.5 vs. Clemson Tigers, O / U 69
If the line moves up to 7 degrees, it will be the biggest spread in the six-year history of college football playoffs. The biggest opening we saw before was that at the 2017 CFP Championship game when Clemson upped Alabama to a 6.5-point underdog to win his first national title since 1981.
Clemson is used to being an underdog at this stage, however, as the Tigers were at least five points off their three previous tournaments in the national championship. They’ve all won in two of those three games, so that’s a familiar ground.
The total in this game has increased by half from where Clemson opened shortly after his return against the state of Ohio. This makes it the second largest in the history of the CAP. The 2015 CFP National Championship was over / under 72.5 points, but the highest total in the four title games since then was last year when Over / Under or Alabama and Clemson, Part III, were 57.5.
Don’t be surprised if the spread ends up falling closer to the kickoff. The projected line in a hypothetical matchup between LSU and Clemson was an option before the CFP semifinals. LSU’s win over Oklahoma is likely to decline in the next two weeks as the Sooners are 0-4 in the CAP and were clearly the weakest of the four.
LSU vs. Clemson History
These groups have met only three times in their history. Their first meeting was in the 1959 Sugar Bowl as LSU reached its first national championship season with a 7-0 win over Clemson. The next two encounters happened in the Peach Cup with LSU beating Clemson 10-7 in the 1996 edition and Clemson hugging LSU 25-24 in the 2012 game.
How did LSU get here
The Bayou Bengals are the best team in the nation all year. LSU played one of the toughest times in the nation, but it did outpace opponents with relative ease. They finished the season with six wins over the top ten teams, starting with Texas in a non-conference game.
LSU has upped Florida and Auburn to create a long-awaited match with Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The Tigers finished for the first time in eight seasons, with 2019 Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow throwing for 393 yards and three touchdowns, paving the way for the Tigers to be pioneers in the SEC. LSU scored 50 or more points in the next three games to make a date with Georgia in Atlanta, and the Tigers destroyed the Bulldogs 37-10 in the SEC Championship game.
Burrow was lights out of Oklahoma in the peach bowl. He threw for seven touchdowns in the first half against the Sooners and added a rushing touchdown in the second half to set a record with eight total touchdowns.
How Clemson gets here
Despite being the champions of national champions, Clemson has depreciated all year. The Tigers have never been in the top two in the nation, despite winning the most in the nation, and Dabo Swinney has taken that as a motivating factor.
Clemson struggled through the first month of the season before a one-point victory over North Carolina was the fear they had to wake up to. The Tigers responded by winning their last seven regular-season games by at least 31 points and hammering Virginia 62-17 in the ACC Championship game.
The Tigers needed a similar wake-up call against the state of Ohio in the Fiesta Cup. The Buckeyes were up 16-0 midway through the second quarter before a late blow to Trevor Lawrence gave Clemson a spark. They then went down the field and scored, starting a comeback that ended with the Tigers taking the lead 29-23 with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter and holding on to win.