Sugar Bowl Prediction: Alabama vs. Clemson

Last Updated: 2018-01-01

sugar bowl free pickThe final college bowl game of the day is the Sugar Bowl between Clemson and Alabama. Late money has come in on Alabama and pushed the line to Tide -3 (-120) and the total on the game is 47, which is a bit lower than we’ve seen in the championship game the past two seasons, as both of those games easily sailed over the total. But these are different teams this year and the total is probably pretty close to where it should be.

The Tide will be talking about revenge from last season’s last-second loss to the Tigers, while Dabo Sweeney will be reminding his players that Alabama kept it from the national title the previous season, so the two teams are tied 1-1. On a stage this big, revenge shouldn’t come into question, as both teams should be ready to play.

Whether or not Alabama should be here isn’t a question, as the Tide are here and there’s nothing Ohio State or Auburn can do about it. Getting their butts kicked by Iowa didn’t help the Buckeyes, while Auburn had their chance against Georgia, so there’s nothing that can be done at this time of the season.

Both Alabama and Clemson are good offensive teams, who are helped by their defense. When you have short fields, you don’t need to be great offense to put up plenty of points. The Tide were a +12 on offense, compared to what their opponents allowed, while the Tigers were a +8.2. Alabama was a better rushing team, while the Tigers are better through the air.

On defense, Alabama was a +15.7 and the Tigers were a +13.6. The Tigers do get a slight strength of schedule edge, which makes the line pretty close to where it should be. Both teams are strong against the run, with Alabama allowing 2.8 yards per carry and Clemson allowing 3.1 yards per rush, both of which are nearly 1.5 yards per carry fewer than their opponents average.

The Tigers are getting a slight majority of the bets in the game, yet that hasn’t stopped the odds from shifting in favor of the Crimson Tide. A bit torn on the side here, as I think Clemson has a chance to pull the upset, but will stay away from the side and play the under 47. The betting public knows what happened the last two times these teams have played, yet the number was set a bit lower than it possibly could have been.

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