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Clemson-LSU to be biggest-bet college game ever

By Matt Youmans  ( senior editor) 

January 7, 2020 10:02 PM
Trevor Lawrence is 25-0 at Clemson and has another streak going — 201 consecutive passes without an interception.
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A quarterback cannot be much better than Joe Burrow was in Louisiana State’s blowout of Oklahoma in late December, when he resembled the next Joe Montana.

Burrow passed for seven touchdowns — all in the first half — and finished with 493 yards. The Tigers let off the gas in the second half and coasted to a 63-28 victory in a College Football Playoff semifinal mismatch. It was a performance that blew away the betting public.

It’s no surprise LSU is attracting a majority of the wagering action as a 5½-point favorite over Clemson in an all-Tigers national championship game Monday night. The Superdome showdown in New Orleans is essentially a home game for LSU.

“The thought process going to the window right now is (the bettors) don’t think LSU can lose this game,” said William Hill sportsbook director Nick Bogdanovich, who’s seeing LSU support flow in at a 10-1 ratio in dollars wagered in Nevada. “It’s all LSU. Everyone was watching the semifinal game, and the masses think the kid is unstoppable.”

Clemson, which needed a big comeback and an officiating break to beat Ohio State, was not as impressive in its 29-23 win. But betting with recency bias is similar to playing with fire.

A month ago, USA Today oddsmaker Danny Sheridan sent out a potential title-game line of Clemson -3 against LSU. Do the teams’ disparate showings in the semifinals merit an eight-point adjustment to that number? Or was his initial number simply that wrong?

Burrow’s first game as the Heisman Trophy winner will be his own tough act to follow. He’s also overshadowing a quarterback who was a national champion last year and has never lost in college.

Trevor Lawrence is 25-0 at Clemson and has another streak going — 201 consecutive passes without an interception.

The total is 69½ or 70, and Bogdanovich said he expects the point spread to go to six, which is likely the buy sign for sharp underdog bettors.

“It’s going to be the biggest-bet college game ever,” Bogdanovich said. “It’s going to be a monster, to say the least.”

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