- Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence was eighth in the country in yards-per-attempt (9.3)
- Dabo Swinney’s defense ranked first in the country in passing yards allowed
- Half of Ja’Marr Chase’s 18 receiving touchdowns came in the first quarter of games this season
College football’s National Championship Game is right around the corner as the all-Tigers matchup between Clemson and LSU is set for Monday (Jan. 13th). While the Clemson vs LSU odds have been out for a while and shifted in favor of LSU, we now have some game props on the board to examine.
Let’s take a closer look and see who’ll have the longest completion and who’ll score the first touchdown.
Odds to Throw Longest Completion: Joe Burrow vs Trevor Lawrence
|Joe Burrow (LSU)||-120|
|Trevor Lawrence (CLE)||-120|
Odds taken Jan. 9.
The only two players on the board for this prop are the two starting quarterbacks. While that’s not surprising, what might be is that they have the exact same odds; both Trevor Lawrence and Joe Burrow are at -120.
Taking a look at some of the relevant stats, Burrow’s average yards-per-attempt this season was 7.6 and he’s completed bombs pretty much every week. He’s had a pass of 50 or more yards in five straight games and has hit 45 yards or longer in eight of his last nine games.
The lone “miss” in that stretch was against Alabama, a game in which he had a 35-yarder. On the season, he completed a pass of 44 yards or longer in all but two games. However, keep in mind that Clemson comes into this game with the No. 1 pass defense in the country, giving up just 154.2 passing yards per game.
As for Lawrence, he’s also been making big plays through the air on a weekly basis. He’s completed a pass of 53 yards or longer in four straight games and has completed passes of 40 yards or longer in all but two games this year. He finished the season with a 9.3 yards-per-attempt average, which was eighth among quarterbacks.
The difference, of course, is that he faced a much easier schedule. The LSU defense ranks 50th in terms of passing yards allowed per game (221.3).
This is a complete toss-up; both quarterbacks are likely to be the No. 1 picks in their respective draft years and both are throwing to future NFL wide receivers. Both teams have fairly stout offensive lines, too.
I lean with Lawrence in this one as the Clemson defense has been better against the pass this season. Ohio State’s longest passing play was 24 yards, so I think that’s where Clemson and Lawrence have the edge here.
Pick: Lawrence (-120)
Odds to Score First Touchdown in National Championship Game
|Clyde Edwards-Helaire (LSU)||+400|
|Travis Etienne (CLE)||+500|
|Ja’Marr Chase (LSU)||+800|
|Tee Higgins (CLE)||+800|
|Justin Jefferson (LSU)||+1000|
|Trevor Lawrence (CLE)||+1000|
|Joe Burrow (LSU)||+1200|
|Justyn Ross (CLE)||+1600|
|Terrace Marshall Jr. (LSU)||+1600|
|Chris Curry (LSU)||+2000|
|Thaddeus Moss (LSU)||+2000|
|Clemson Tigers Defense||+2500|
|LSU Tigers Defense||+2500|
|Amari Rodgers (CLE)||+4000|
|Derrick Dillon (LSU)||+4000|
|Diondre Overton (CLE)||+4000|
|Joseph Ngata (CLE)||+4000|
|Lyn J. Dixon (CLE)||+4000|
|Tyrion Davis Price (LSU)||+4000|
|Frank Ladson Jr. (CLE)||+5000|
|J.C. Chalk (CLE)||+5000|
|Myles Brennan (LSU)||+5000|
|Racey McMath (LSU)||+5000|
|Stephen Sullivan (LSU)||+5000|
|No Touchdown Scorer||+8000|
Odds taken Jan. 9
The first touchdown prop has a whole host of options as 24 players are on the board and the 25th option is that there won’t be a touchdown scored in the game. However, the oddsmakers do appear to be pointing us in a certain direction; only four players are inside of 10/1 while two players are at 5/1 or shorter.
The pair that leads the way here are the two bell-cow running backs: Clyde Edwards-Helaire is favored at +400 while Travis Etienne is at +500. Etienne actually finished with more total touchdowns as he tallied 22 this season while Edwards-Helaire had 17.
However, Edwards-Helaire has been banged up and hasn’t scored in two straight games. He’s supposedly over his hamstring injury and has been practicing without limitations this week, but that’s still a bit of a concern.
As for Etienne, he’s scored a touchdown in 10 straight games, so he appears to be a little more reliable in this spot. He only had 13 touches against Ohio State but that still led to three touchdowns. He’s a home-run hitter; he had way fewer rushing attempts and catches than Edwards-Helaire this year, but bested him in yards-per-play averages for both.
I actually see value with LSU’s receivers in this prop. Ed Orgeron likes to come out aggressive to start games. Ten of the first 12 plays versus Oklahoma were passes and five of the first six against Georgia were passes. They typically try to get Ja’Marr Chase involved early on.
On the season, Chase had 18 touchdowns catches but half of them came in the first quarter. I’ll take a flier with him at +800 for this prop.
Pick: Ja’Marr Chase (+800)
Let's have fun and keep it civil.