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January 9, 2017

There is one pick tonight.

Take Clemson +7 spread (buy half a point) against Alabama for 3% of the bankroll.

A rematch from last year's thriller takes place tonight as the Clemson Tigers return to the National Championship Game to take on defending champions, the Alabama Crimson Tide. Clemson has had a year to stew over their loss in the championship game a year ago and you can bet they will be looking to even the score in this contest.

There is no question that Alabama is the unrivaled number 1 team in the country. They have been phenomenal on the defensive side of the ball and no team this season has been able to rack up the yards (or points) on this defensive front. This team ranks 1st in total defense (244ypg), 1st against the run (62ypg), 1st in defensive touchdowns (11), 1st in 4th down defense, and the list goes on and on. There have been arguments made that suggest this Alabama defense is the best ever under Nick Saban and perhaps the best Alabama defense ever. One thing that cannot be argued however is the fact that Alabama has not given up more than 14 points since the first week in October.

All that being said, if there is one team in the country that has the potential to beat Alabama, it is the Clemson Tigers. The Tigers are absolutely loaded on the offensive side of the ball. Quarterback Deshaun Watson is one of (if not) the best dual threat quarterbacks in the country. WR Mike Williams is the best receiver in the college football and the entire receiving corps is overloaded with talent. In the backfield, Wayne Gallman is an effective runner with big play potential as we have seen many times already this season. The majority of this Clemson offense is the exact same group that posted 40 points on Alabama last year and they are capable of putting the significant pressure on the Crimson Tide defense yet again tonight.

While all of the talk has been about the Alabama defense, Clemson's ability on the defensive side of the ball should not go overlooked. The Tigers defensive line completely dominated Ohio State in the trenches last week as they held one of the nation’s best offenses to just 215 total yards in the 31-0 rout of what should have been the third best team in the nation. Prior to that beat down, Ohio State had averaged 245 yards per game on the ground as the 12th best rushing attack in the country. Instead Clemson’s athletic defense overpowered and was too quick on the edges which overwhelmed the Buckeyes offense to just 88 yards on the ground. Clemson’s defensive line has had a several impressive performances this year but their performance against Ohio State was by far the best to date. If they can somehow match that intensity, they are going to make things extremely difficult for an Alabama offense that relies heavily on the run.

The Tigers showed last season that they could stand toe-to-toe with Alabama and hold their own. There is no question that Dabo Swinney has reviewed the tape of last year's meeting many times in anticipation of this rematch. We wouldn't be surprised to see Swinney swing for the fences in this contest and opt to go deep into his playbook in order to keep the Bama defense off balance. Clemson has the more experienced quarterback who knows what it is like to play in this title game. Freshman Jalen Hurts wasn't overly impressive in Alabama's matchup with the Washington Huskies and his lack of big game experience could hurt his team in this matchup. Clemson is absolutely capable of pulling off the outright victory and we wouldn't be surprised if they did just that so getting a full touchdown with a team who hasn't lost by more than a TD this season has a tremendous amount of value.

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