Prop betting options are slowly leaking into the sports betting market for the National Championship Game between Clemson and LSU. With the Divisional Round and the massive handle attached to those games, it is clear that the oddsmakers and risk managers are more concerned with that.
It’s fine. We’ll have more prop content as the game gets closer, but we wanted to get some prop betting stuff out to the masses on Sunday. We’ll add some new Monday ones as some of the individual player props come out and whatnot.
For now, here is a Sunday look at the available prop bets at some of the different offshore sportsbooks and some suggestions on how to bet on the big game. Keep in mind that a lot of this information will be relevant when the Super Bowl gets here, too.
The importance of shopping around cannot be overstated when it comes to prop bets. Let’s look at this simple prop. How many yards will the longest touchdown be? BetOnline has two numbers, 56.5 and 54.5, listed on the site. The 56.5 is juiced to -160 on the over and the 54.5 is juiced to -243 on the over.
Over at DSI Sportsbook, the longest touchdown prop is 60.5 and -115 both ways. DSI also has the same 54.5 and over at -243 because they use the same Player Props infrastructure at BetOnline. 5Dimes lists 58.5 with -110 on both sides. It is imperative that you multiple outs so that you can score the betting board for the best line.
As a quick handicap on this bet, LSU had 25 plays of 40+ yards, which ranked sixth in the nation. Clemson had 22, which ranked 12th. LSU had 15 plays of 50+ yards, which was tied for fifth. Clemson had 16, which tied for third. LSU had nine plays of 60+ and Clemson had eight.
Clemson did allow four plays of 60+ yards during the season, as did LSU. A lot of people expect some huge plays with the insane skill position talent on these two teams. Who am I to disagree?
That being said, there are some NFL-caliber safeties on both teams here. It would not shock me if there are some big, explosive plays, just not a really long touchdown. The under 60.5 at -115 is kind of intriguing to me. It is also interesting to note that the longest touchdown over would have hit in each of the last three National Championship Games and four of the five that we have had.
Special Teams/Defensive Touchdown
This is always a popular betting option. Many recreational bettors love to bet the Yes at the plus money price. It will also come up in conversation this week that Clemson opened the scoring with a pick six of Tua last year to cash that prop right away. There were no defensive scores in 2018, 2017, and 2015. We did have a kick return score in 2016.
The fact of the matter is that the college game is far more high-variance than the NFL game and we are more likely to get huge plays, defensive scores, special teams breakdowns, etc.
Again, shopping around matters. 5Dimes lists the prop as “TD not scored by offense” at +170. DSI has it listed as a Yes/No special/defensive TD at +175 on the Yes. The Yes is +163 at BetOnline within that Player Props section, which is also an available price at DSI, but the No is juiced more heavily than the No at other books.
On one hand, I would want to point to the ability that both quarterbacks have to take care of the football. Burrow threw six interceptions and Lawrence threw eight. Tua had also thrown six when he served up the pick six to open up last year’s scoring.
As a general rule, I shy towards the no on a prop like this, but laying over -200 to do so can be a tough pill to swallow. I wouldn’t think that we get a defensive score here, but these two defenses have almost as many playmakers as the offenses. Clemson had 30 takeaways during the season and LSU had 21, though LSU only recovered four fumbles due to some bad fumble luck. Both teams were top five in interceptions.
I’ll be staying away here, but that’s an idea of how to handicap this prop and also another example of why shopping around is the preferred course of action.
Highest Scoring Half
I really like looking at this prop. To me, there is always some intriguing value on the first half at plus money. Why? Because teams run their scripted plays in the first half. Now, many will look at a prop like this and say the second half because it is extremely likely that at least one of the two teams will be pushing the tempo and/or throwing a lot of passes. There is also the expectation of nerves.
These offenses ranked first and third, respectively, in total points. LSU, as we know, hung 49 points in the first half against Oklahoma. Clemson scored 14 points against Ohio State and that game was 16-14 at halftime, which outscored the second half with 22 points.
In last year’s National Championship Game featuring Clemson, the Tigers scored 31 to Alabama’s 16 in the first half. Only 13 points were scored in the second half. The second half won 38-21 in terms of points back in 2017 with Clemson involved. A 40-point fourth quarter produced an instant classic in the first Alabama vs. Clemson game. So Clemson’s three National Championship appearances have resulted in higher-scoring second halves.
The second half is always juiced with this prop. BetOnline shows more points in the second half and potential OT at -180, with the first half at +140. 5Dimes has the same juice. DSI doesn’t have that listed at time of writing, but it will likely be lined in the same range.
The second half likely wins this bet, but -180 is a stiff price to pay. There is a good chance that both teams try to start fast here. There is also a good chance that both teams make some savvy second-half adjustments, particularly on defense. It would be the +140 or nothing for me, but you really have to consider the game flow and how you expect things to play out here. Will we have a team with a big lead? That was a big reason why last year’s second half was so low-scoring. If we have a close, competitive game, will the teams trade scores in the second half? That is certainly a possibility.
So, I lean the +140 for the first half, but there will be better options with other props, most notably the player props.
We’ll be back with more player props and stronger opinions on game props once the sportsbooks list more options.