When the NCAA made a move to a playoff system, the idea was that we would immediately do away with all the controversy surrounding which two teams would play for the National Championship. That was exactly what happened, but the madness of the 2017 season created a situation where 3 or 4 teams felt that they had a legitimate reason to be ranked at #4 by the playoff committee. When the final rankings were released, it was the Alabama Crimson Tide who found their way into that spot despite not winning their division or a conference championship. In fairness, though, they were probably the right choice given how things went in the regular season with the other teams in the mix. Alabama landing t 4 means that we will get to see them face the Clemson Tigers in the playoffs for the 3rd straight season, although this will be the first time that they will have met in the semi-final. The winner of the Sugar Bowl will face either the Georgia Bulldogs or the Oklahoma Sooners in the National Championship Game. Clemson is 3 point favorite in the NCAA odds, with the point total for the Sugar Bowl set at 47.

Sugar Bowl Playoff Semi-final Odds, Preview: Clemson vs. Alabama

When: Monday, January 1 at 8:45 PM EST
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans
TV:
ESPN
Live Stream:
NCAAF Odds:
Clemson -3

Why bet on the Clemson Tigers

There were a lot of people, myself included, who believed that the Clemson Tigers might take a bit of a backward step this season. After all, this was a program that lost a lot of talent, including QB DeShaun Watson, to the NFL draft, but they proved just how good they are at recruiting by barely missing a beat. Kelly Bryant slotted into the QB role quite brilliantly, and the only game that Clemson lost this season, a shocker at Syracuse, came when an already injured Bryant was knocked out of the game early.

Oklahoma vs. Georgia Rose Bowl Playoff Semi-final Betting Odds, Preview

Clemson averaged a little over 35 PPG this season and was effective both through the air and on the ground. On the defensive side of the ball, they were even better allowing less than 13 PPG, a being one of the toughest defenses to run the ball on. The Tigers went 8-4-1 ATS this regular season while going 4-8 O/U.

Clemson Tigers 2017 Sugar Bowl

Why bet on the Alabama Crimson Tide

There are some people who believe that Alabama is not deserving of a playoff spot, but it’s hard to find fault with a team that only lost 1 game all year, and who needed to run through the gauntlet that is the SEC West. That lone loss came in the final game of the season in the Iron Bowl against Auburn, and while it was certainly disappointing, you need to look at how Alabama has bounced back from losses in recent years, going 11-1 SU in their last 12 games following a defeat. The Crimson Tide was once again very good offensively, posting an average of 39 PPH. They were even better on defense, giving up just 11 PPG. This is a defense that has forced 20 turnovers, whilst also delivering 30 sacks during the regular season. Alabama was 5-7 ATS and 5-6 O/U this season.

Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction

While both defenses are great, I think we might actually see some scoring in this one, with the point total going OVER. I like Alabama to spring the upset and move on to the National Championship Game.

Predicted Score: Clemson Tigers 24 Alabama Crimson Tide 30