- LSU ‘s Clyde Edwards-Helaire is favored to score the first touchdown in the CFP Championship Game
- Clemson running back Travis Etienne is the second choice and has scored 22 touchdowns this season
- Both the LSU and Clemson defense and special teams are given +2500 odds of scoring the first TD
LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire is favored at +400 to score the first touchdown in the Tigers’ matchup against Clemson in the College Football Playoff Championship Game on Monday night (Jan. 13) at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
The table below shows the full list of odds hours before kickoff.
Odds to Score First Touchdown in CFP Championship Game
|Clyde Edwards-Helaire (LSU)||+400|
|Travis Etienne (Clemson)||+500|
|Ja’Marr Chase (LSU)||+800|
|Tee Higgins (Clemson)||+800|
|Terrance Marshall Jr. (LSU)||+800|
|Justin Jefferson (LSU)||+1000|
|Trevor Lawrence (Clemson)||+1000|
|Joe Burrow (LSU)||+1200|
|Justyn Ross (Clemson)||+1600|
|Chris Curry (LSU)||+2000|
|Thaddeus Moss (LSU)||+2000|
|Clemson Defense/Special Teams||+2500|
|LSU Defense/Special Teams||+2500|
|Diondre Overton (Clemson)||+3300|
|Amari Rodgers (Clemson)||+3300|
|Tyrion Davis-Price (LSU)||+4000|
|Derrick Dillon (LSU)||+4000|
|Lyn-J Dixon (Clemson)||+4000|
|Joseph Ngata (Clemson)||+4000|
|Myles Brennan (LSU)||+5000|
|J.C. Chalk (Clemson)||+5000|
|Frank Ladson Jr. (Clemson)||+5000|
|Racey McMath (LSU)||+5000|
|Stephen Sullivan (LSU)||+5000|
|No touchdown scorer||+8000|
The second choice is Clemson running back Travis Etienne. He is listed at +500.
LSU opened as a five-point favorite and the spread has taken plenty of twists and turns as can be seen in our Clemson vs LSU odds page.
It is instructive to look at some history to determine who is likely to score the first touchdown. Of course, with these two high-powered offenses – LSU is averaging 49.8 points and Clemson is averaging 45.3 – a player from whichever of the two 14-0 teams gets the ball first.
Chase Sets LSU Tone
LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase has been Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow’s go-to guy early in games. In fact, Chase has scored the Tigers’ first touchdown in six of 14 games.
Chase and fellow receiver Justin Jefferson are tied for the overall team lead in touchdowns with 18. Jefferson has scored the first TD three times.
Despite being the favorite to score first, Edwards-Helaire has the first TD twice this season. However, he has 17 touchdowns overall, just behind the duo of Chase and Jefferson.
Edwards-Helaire was limited to two carries in LSU’s 63-28 rout of Oklahoma in the semifinals in the Peach Bowl because of a hamstring injury. However, coach Ed Orgeron said his top rusher would have had a heavier load if the game has been more closely contested.
LSU’s three other first touchdowns have been by wide receivers Derrick Dillon, Terrance Marshall Jr. and Racey McMath.
Clemson’s Pass-Run Balance
Clemson is led in first touchdowns by Etienne and wide receiver Tee Higgins with four apiece.
Not surprisingly, they also rank 1-2 in overall TDs for the Tigers with Etienne finding the end zone 22 times and Higgins getting there on 13 occasions. They are also the only Clemson players to score double-figure touchdowns overall.
A word of caution with Higgins, though, is he did sustain a head injury in the semifinals when Clemson rallied to beat Ohio State 29-23 in the Fiesta Bowl. Higgins is expected to play but his situation bears watching.
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence and wide receiver Amari Rodgers have both scored the first touchdown twice and wide receivers Joseph Ngata and Justyn Ross once apiece.
Chase The Choice
LSU will have to be aware of the dual-threat ability of Lawrence, who is much more of a threat to run than Burrow. Lawrence scampered 67 yards for a touchdown against Ohio State.
It’s interesting in this era of non-stop passing in college football that running backs are favored to score the first touchdown in the title game.
Yet it would only seem fitting that a wide receiver finds the end zone first in a game featuring teams who are combining to score 95.1 points a game.
The track record of six first touchdowns makes Chase the choice, especially at the price of +800.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.