Clemson Now a 5.5-Point Underdog to LSU; Clemson Has Only Lost by 5 or More Points Once Since Nov. 2014

Trevor Lawrence throwing a pass for the Clemson Tigers
Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence is still undefeated in his college career. Photo by David Dennis/Icon Sportswire.
  • The Clemson vs LSU point spread opened at -3.5 in favor of LSU but has nearly doubled since
  • Both teams enter with glistening 14-0 records
  • Clemson has won 29 consecutive games

Less than a week away from college football’s biggest game, No. 1 LSU and No. 3 Clemson are making their final preparations and readying for the fight. Oddsmakers have work left to do as well, as they continue evaluating the point spread leading up to the national championship on Monday, Jan. 13th, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans (8:00 PM ET).

Shortly after Clemson disposed of Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl, the opening line for the 2020 National Championship odds was set at LSU -3.5. Ten minutes later, it was up to LSU -4.5. In the week since, it’s crept even higher.

Updated Clemson vs LSU Point Spread, Moneyline & Total

Team Moneyline Spread Over/Under
Clemson +185 +5.5 (-108) Over 69.5 (-108)
LSU -215 -5.5 (-112) Under 69.5 (-112)

Odds taken Jan. 6.

Neither team has played since Dec. 28, so what has caused the line to move? That topic is explored below, as well as general analysis leading up to the title game.

Location, Location, Location

The national championship will be played at the Superdome in New Orleans. That’s only a 90-minute drive away on Interstate 10 for LSU fans driving from Baton Rouge. The Clemson faithful, however, have a much longer trip. Their Clemson, South Carolina, campus is nearly nine hours away by car.

This will also be the fourth College Football Playoff title game for Clemson in five years, so it’s not a stretch to think their fanbase is a bit tired of traveling.

LSU hasn’t played in a title game (or even reached the Playoff) in the CFP era. Their last appearance in the National Championship Game came in 2011 when they were blanked 21-0 by Alabama. This fanbase is starved for success.

Key Questionables

Both teams have a chance to be without key wide receivers for this game, with Clemson’s Tee Higgins (head) and LSU’s Terrace Marshall Jr. (shoulder) listed as questionable.

Higgins led the Tigers across the board in receptions (56), yards (1,115) and touchdowns (13). He sustained his injury early in the Fiesta Bowl, but managed to return later in the game. No updates have since been provided about his status.

Marshall could be considered LSU’s number-three receiver based on yardage, but he still found the end zone 12 times and would be a big loss.

Marshall missed all of last week’s practices, but there are reports that indicate he will be good to go for the game.

Last Time Out

Clemson overcame its toughest test in two years in the semifinals, trailing No. 2 Ohio State 16-0 before storming back for the win. On three instances, they held the Buckeyes to a field goal in the red zone — but they also allowed over 300 yards for the first time this season.

LSU had a four-touchdown lead against No. 4 Oklahoma by the middle of the second quarter, so there was never any need to panic. Quarterback Joe Burrow lit up the Sooners for 493 yards and seven scores.

The Streak

It is important to understand that Clemson simply does not lose very often. They’ve won 29 straight games over the past two seasons and are 69-4 since the beginning of 2015.

Sophomore Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, therefore, has never had a whiff of defeat.

Even when Clemson does lose, it isn’t accustomed to being blown out. A 24-6 loss to Alabama in the 2017-18 College Football Playoff semifinal is the only time since Nov. 22, 2014, that Clemson has lost by more than five points.

LSU’s current win streak is at 15 games, dating back to last season’s bowl victory over UCF. This year, LSU never faced a deficit larger than seven points.

Decision Time

Clemson’s propensity to win, or at least keep games close, makes them seem like a promising pick. But LSU has steamrolled its competition at a nearly unprecedented rate with 10 wins by 20-plus points this year.

There’s a reason the spread has expanded. In front of what will be a very favorable crowd, go with the (LSU) Tigers if the line stays at 5.5.

Pick: LSU -5.5 (-112)

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