College Football Playoff National Championship: Clemson Tigers vs. LSU Tigers Free Pick, 1–13–2020
Clemson Tigers (14–0) vs. LSU Tigers (14–0)
Monday, January 13, 2020, 8:00 PM EST
Line: LSU -5.5, O/U 69
The two top teams in college football will kick off at 8 pm EST on Monday from New Orleans to determine if the Clemson Tigers (11–3 ATS) can repeat as National Champions or if the LSU Tigers (9–5 ATS) will bring the trophy back to Baton Rouge, LA. Clemson took down Ohio State in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl beating the Buckeyes, 29–23 in a come from behind victory. LSU cut through Oklahoma like a hot knife through butter in a 63–28 blowout win in the Peach Bowl. Both teams are very dangerous and clearly the two best teams in college football.
Every game for Clemson has been an easy, blowout win, except for the UNC game and of course the Fiesta Bowl game vs. Ohio State. The Tigers averaged 45.5 PPG and their defense ranked 1st in college football allowing 10.6 PPG and gave up ten points or less eight times. Clemson holds the edge in terms of experience as they enter as defending National Champions. In recent years the Tigers have beaten several historically-respected programs in the CFB Playoff including Ohio State, Alabama, Notre Dame, and Oklahoma so Dabo Swinney is no stranger to the big game.
LSU opened as 6.5-point favorites over Clemson with likely 2–3 points for home-field advantage playing in New Orleans a quick 80+ mile drive from campus in Baton Rouge. The Tigers haven’t played in the championship game since 2011 when they lost to Alabama 21–0. This is a different LSU team led by Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow and the nation’s top offense which averaged over 550 yards per game, 386 passing yards per game and 47.8 PPG. Defensively, they have improved with the season and played very well vs. Oklahoma for a total team victory. The Tigers defense has the benefit of playing with the lead in most cases and hasn’t played in a close game since November 9th when they beat Alabama 46–41.
This game undoubtedly features two proficient offenses but besides gross passing numbers, LSU ranks first in the nation in passing efficiency (199.41), while Clemson ranks first in passing efficiency defense (one of just two teams to allow under a 100 passing efficiency rating). This matchup will set the tone for the game. Will Clemson’s defense make key stops and disrupt the flow of LSU’s offense? Ultimately both offenses will find the end zone like they have done all season. This total should surpass the 69 points with two of the top quarterbacks taking the center stage.