Opening Line: Alabama, Clemson meet again in CFB title game

The same two teams and the same point spread will highlight the College Football Playoff championship game as the Crimson Tide and Tigers will meet for the second straight year. Here's a look at the opening numbers being offered at sportsbooks for the title contest.

 

Here we go again.

For the second straight season, Alabama and Clemson will meet for the national title in college football after both decisively won their College Football Playoff semifinals Saturday.

At the Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas, Alabama opened as a -7 favorite against Clemson in the Jan. 9 title game at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. The Over/Under total was posted at 54.5.

Boomaker.eu opened with Alabama -6 and a total of 54 on Saturday night.

?The public is clearly going to back the Crimson Tide, as has been the case most of the year, but we were hesitant to open this spread on the key number given the late support Washington received from sharp bettors tonight,? Bookmaker spokesman Scott Cooley said. ?It will be interesting to see where the action takes the number, but this is shaping up to be a memorable CFP Championship.?

The sportsbook numbers mirror that of the ones posted between the clubs last year. Alabama opened at -7.5 in most shops but closed universally at -7, with a total of 52.

The Tigers competed well most of the way and used a backdoor touchdown with time winding down to cover the number in the 45-40 loss, giving Alabama its third national title this decade and fourth under coach Nick Saban.

The two clubs have dominated the sport for the past two seasons and they showed why again Saturday in semifinals that made quality opponents look overmatched from the kickoff.

Alabama survived a slow start and a spirited effort from fourth-seeded to Washington to post a 24-7 win and cover the 14-point spread in the Peach Bowl.

Clemson closed as a one-point underdog to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl -- after most shops opened with Buckeyes -3.5 -- but rolled to a 31-0 win behind 316 total yards and three touchdowns from Deshaun Watson.

Both semifinals were defense-oriented contests that went well Under the posted totals, but the Crimson Tide and Tigers crushed the Over in last year?s final with a fast-paced game that featured several explosive scoring plays.

"This is how we ended last year, with Clemson and Alabama, and it's how we?re going to end it again this year," Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said on the field after his team?s victory.