College Football Finals Preview: Catch A Tiger By Its Tail

The college football bowl season culminates Monday night when LSU faces Clemson in the National Championship. 

It wasn’t that long ago, back in the BCS era (pre-2014), where many fans clamored for some type of college football playoff. Now that a 4-team playoff is in place, many now suggest that there needs to be more than 4 teams involved.

Flawed system or not, this year’s national championship game features the two best teams squaring off, SEC Champ LSU Tigers (14-0) vs ACC Champ Clemson Tigers (14-0).

New Jersey sports betting customers will have plenty of wagering options to get involved in the action on Monday night.

Here is a snapshot look at the game details, lines and some of the important facts and trends for the National Championship Game.

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Watch and bet on the College Football National Championship

Date: Monday, Jan. 13

Time: 8 p.m., ESPN

Teams: Clemson (#3) vs LSU (#1)

Venue: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

Betting Lines: LSU -5.5; Total 69.5

Money Line: LSU -220; Clemson +175

Betting on the College National Championship

I’ve posted the point spread above as LSU -5.5, as this is where most of the New Jersey mobile sports betting apps currently have the line pricing.

The notable outliers are detailed below:

  • LSU -6.0: Caesars and FoxBet
  • LSU -6.5: Golden Nugget

[odds-feed game=10277 sportsbooks=DraftKings,FanDuel,SugarHouseNJ styling=small odds=moneyline]

NCAA College Football Championship facts

National Championships

  • LSU: 3 (1958, 2003 and 2007)
  • Clemson: 3 (1981, 2016 and 2018)

The Superdome

The Superdome in New Orleans has hosted four national championship games since 2004. LSU has appeared in all of them. The Tigers won in 2004 and 2007 and lost to Alabama in 2011.

Resting Up

In the previous National Championship games, the average time between the semi-final game and championship was 10 days. This year it will be 16 days.

Previous Clemson vs LSU Meetings

This will be the only the 4th time Clemson and LSU have squared off.  All previous meetings have been in bowl games.

LSU holds a 2-1 series edge winning the 1959 Sugar Bowl 7-0 and the 1996 Peach Bowl 10-7.

In the last meeting of the 2 teams, Clemson beat LSU 25-24 in the 2012 Chick-Fil-A Bowl.

Holding on to the Lead

The last team to hold a lead over LSU was Auburn, which led 13-10 in the third quarter of their October 26th match-up.

Since then, 6 LSU opponents have come and gone, including 3 who were ranked in the top 4 of the national polls at the time, and LSU has never trailed in any of the games.

Clemson saw its 34-quarter streak of leading its opponent, which dated back to the second quarter of the Sept. 28 game against North Carolina, ended when the Tigers fell behind 16-0 against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.

Amazing Stats

Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence has not thrown an interception in his last 202 pass attempts.

Clemson has turned the ball exactly 1 time since October 19th.

LSU is the first team in college football history to produce a 5,000-yard passer (QB Joe Burrow), 1,000-yard rusher( RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire), and two 1,000-yard receivers (WR Ja’Marr Chase and WR Justin Jefferson) in the same season.

Awards Locker

LSU QB Joe Burrow won the Heisman Trophy, given to the best individual player in college football.

Burrow also won:

  • Maxwell and Walter Camp Awards (both of which hold a similar set of criteria as the Heisman
  • Davey O’Brien Award (given to the top quarterback in the country)
  • Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award

While Burrow’s awards shelf is full, he wasn’t the only LSU Tiger to receive post-season accolades.

Safety Grant Delpit won the Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back, Ja’Marr Chase took home the Biletnikoff Award given to the nation’s top wide receiver, and the Tigers’ offensive line won the Joe Moore Award, given to the nation’s top unit.

Head coach Ed Orgeron has been honored as National Coach of the Year from 3 different sources and passing coordinator Joe Brady earned the Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant.

For Clemson, there was only one national award winner this season, All-American Isaiah Simmons, who won the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker.

Offensively and Defensively Speaking

In terms of net yards per play, LSU’s offense averaged 7.9 yards per play (#2 in the country) and Clemson averaged 7.5 yards per play (#4 in the country).

On the defensive side of the ball, Clemson allowed an average of 4.1 yards per play (#2 in the country) while LSU has surrendered 5.05 yards per snap (#27 in the country).

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Clemson vs LSU betting stats & trends

Clemson is 14-0 overall; 11-3 Against the Spread (ATS), 6-8 O/U

LSU 14-0 overall; 9-5 ATS, 9-5 O/U

Monday night’s game will mark just the second time Clemson has been an underdog the last two seasons.

The last time this happened, Clemson beat Alabama 44-16 in the 2019 championship game. Clemson is 8-2 against the spread and 6-4 straight up as an underdog since the Playoff format began in 2014.

Clemson is 12-2 straight up and 12-2 against the spread on neutral sites since 2014. LSU is 8-3 straight up and 8-3 against the spread in the same situation.

While LSU is 9-5 against the spread this year, they were 3-0 in the games that had a single digit spread. Those were outright victories against Texas (-6.5), Alabama (+5) and Georgia (-7).

Big Game = Big Props

A few New Jersey sportsbooks have posted individual game and player props for the Clemson vs LSU game.

At DraftKings Sportsbook, nothing says “Big Game” quite like a coin-toss prop:

Bet on LSU vs Clemson at NJ sportsbooks

888Sport also offers a straight “heads” or “tails” opening coin toss wager:

College football championship betting odds at NJ sportsbook

PointsBet Sportsbook offers quarterback passing yards props  for Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence:

National college football championship betting trends

Unibet offers individual player rushing yardage props. It’s important to consider this stat, Clemson is 17-0 when RB Travis Etienne has 100 yards or more rushing:

Betting on the NCAA college football championships

DraftKings also offers props on first, last and anytime touchdown scorer:

LSU vs Clemson betting odds

BetMGM Sportsbook is offering several price boosts for the game:
NCAAF championship game odds

National Championship Game FAQs

How far is the LSU campus in Baton Rouge to the Superdome in New Orleans?

81 miles.

How much are tickets to the game?

According to TicketIQ, the average price for tickets is $2,059. At that price, it’s the 4th most expensive National Championship game this decade

What is the significance of the LSU jersey #18?

Each season, a new LSU Tiger will be wearing jersey No. 18.

The tradition of handing down the number began with quarterback Matt Mauck, who passed the number down to Jacob Hester after the 2003 season.

Now, the team votes to award the number to one player each season. Sophomore LB K’Lavon Chaisson is wearing #18 this season.

What is the special ESPN coverage for this game?

ESPN is touting its “Megacast” coverage for this game.

The Megacast features extensive coverage across the entire ESPN networks.

The coverage begins at 5 p.m. EST with pregame coverage across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and ESPNEWS leading to the main telecast on ESPN at 8 p.m. EST.

For the main telecast, Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit will call play-by-play with Tom Rinaldi to report on LSU and Maria Taylor covering Clemson.

ESPN will employ 100 cameras and 100 microphones to produce viewing options such as:

  • Field Pass on ESPN2
  • LSU Hometown Radio on SEC Network
  • Clemson Hometown Radio on ACC Network
  • Coaches Film Room on ESPNU
  • Command Center on ESPNEWS
  • Data Center on ESPN Goal Line
  • Sounds of the Game on ESPN Classic

The ESPN mobile app will feature such viewing options as:

  • Refcast
  • Skycast
  • All-22
  • Techcast
About the Author

Mike McGough

Mike McGough is a consultant who advises clients in such areas as media buying, sponsorship analyses, and procurement best practices. As a New Jersey-based sports fan and handicapper, he gives a unique perspective from business operations all the way to the betting windows. He specifically covers sports betting apps and online betting.