Pro gamblers heavily backing Clemson in title game against Alabama
Alabama appears to have one of its best teams ever this year, and there have been numerous occasions where the Crimson Tide were favored by mind-boggling amounts heading into games and still managed to cover the spread. But as Monday’s national championship game approaches, it would appear Las Vegas believes Clemson has a great chance to pull the upset.
Nick Saban’s team opened as a 7-point favorite at most sports books following the first round of the College Football Playoff, but they were down to a 4.5-point favorite on Friday. The line has moved heavily in Clemson’s favor over the past several days despite the majority of bets coming in on Alabama.
National Championship line is down to as low as Alabama -5. At @SuperBookUSA, 64 percent of the bets, 73 percent of the money on the point spread is on the Crimson Tide.
— David Payne Purdum (@DavidPurdum) January 3, 2019
Alabama down to a 4.5-point favorite over Clemson at multiple sportsbooks.
— David Payne Purdum (@DavidPurdum) January 4, 2019
As Christopher Smith of AL.com pointed out, an estimated 76 percent of the money bet on the national championship game as of Sunday backed Alabama, with 56 percent of the tickets wagered on the Tide. As of Friday, that number increased 58 percent of the bets having been placed on Bama, but the total money backing the Tide plummeted from 76 to 54 percent.
What does it all mean? The public loves Alabama, which is not a surprise. They have dominated all season and get the majority of the headlines for it. However, professional bettors — also known as sharps or wise guys — are hammering Clemson. That means the majority of wagers themselves (think of it like 100 people betting $100 each) are being placed on Alabama, but those who are backing the Tigers are betting more money (think of it like one person betting $20,000).
If you want a big reason for that, this is probably a good place to start:
Alabama has been favored in 126 of their last 127 games (UGA in 2015)
Clemson under Dabo Swinney is 7-1 against the spread & has won 6 outright as postseason underdogs.#CFBPlayoff
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) January 4, 2019
Of course, the game isn’t won or lost in Las Vegas sports books and stats mean very little. But if you put stock into how the “sharps” view the game and the concerns Saban expressed up after Alabama beat Oklahoma, that information might be useful for you.