Late Money Showing For Clemson as CFB National Championship Game Draws Near

by James Murphy in NCAAF  / January 13, 2020

There’s been plenty of storylines heading up to Monday Night’s College Football National Championship matchup between #1 ranked LSU and #3 ranked Clemson. One narrative has been the matchup between Heisman Trophy winner and potential #1 NFL draft pick Joe Burrow and his Clemson counterpart Trevor Lawrence. There’s been plenty of pointless stories about the similarities between the teams–how both are the ‘Tigers’ and refer to their home stadium as ‘Death Valley’. There’s also been ‘compare and contrast’ features between the head coaches, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and LSU’s Ed Orgeron. One of the more interesting storylines, however, has been the one sided betting action on LSU. In the hours leading up to kickoff that is showing signs of change.

Sportsbooks won big in the NFL this past weekend due in large part to the Baltimore Ravens’ upset loss at the hands of the Tennessee Titans. That set the table for tonight’s Clemson/LSU matchup which could potentially hand bookmakers and even bigger windfall. Although Clemson has won two of the last three College Football National Championships they’ve been completely dismissed by the mainstream betting ‘public’. The report from sportsbooks in Nevada and worldwide is that they’ve received a completely lopsided level of wagering action on LSU. ‘One sided’ action is fairly common in sports betting but reports suggest that the amount of action on LSU has reached historical proportions. This past weekend many sportsbooks were reporting 80 to 90% of action on LSU. That has prompted some bookies to compare the wagering patterns to a couple of other one sided betting events from recent years–the Denver vs. Seattle Super Bowl and the Conor McGregor/Floyd Mayweather fight. In both of those events the ‘public’ pounded one side, the ‘sharps’ were all over the other and as so often happens with this dynamic the ‘squares’ were left holding the bag.

Although books were reporting a low level of takeback on Clemson over the weekend the line has been on the move today. To the surprise of no one who understands the betting marketplace, the ‘sharps’ have been all over Clemson today even as the recreational bettors continue to throw money at LSU. Simply put, the ‘smart money’ had no reason to get off the sideline until today since the line movement was all in their favor. Today, they’ve made their move. Over the weekend, the market was showing mostly LSU -5.5 or -6. At the time of this writing less than an hour before kickoff, the line has dropped to LSU -4.5 or -4 at most stores.

The ‘wise guys’ are of the opinion that this matchup is at worse a toss up which makes Clemson getting points a very attractive play. Indeed, there are quite a few college football betting experts that suggest that Clemson is not only undervalued here but that a case can be made that they’re the superior team that ‘wants it more’. The line could drop even more in the final hour of betting and a Clemson win could deliver a huge payday for the worldwide bookmaking industry.

James Murphy

James Murphy is a preeminent authority on the international gambling industry and has made frequent appearances in the mainstream media including the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Forbes, Entertainment Weekly, CNBC and NPR. He has previously worked as a radio and podcasting host where he broadcast to an international audience that depended on his expertise and advice. Murphy also serves as an odds making consultant for sports and ‘non-sport novelty bets’ covering the entertainment industry, politics, technology, financial markets and just about everything else.

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