2016-17 College Football National Championship Game: Opening Line Report

2016-17 College Football National Championship Game: Opening Line Report

College football fans and bettors are getting a rematch from last season’s title game and most should be happy with this, as these have been the 2 best teams over the last couple years. In last season’s title game, Alabama opened -7 and closed -6 despite getting 61% of spread tickets, and Clemson pulled off the cover but ultimately lost 45-40 in an exciting game. After seeing what both teams have done this season, we should expect to see another great title game in 2017.

Late in the 3rd quarter of the second semifinal matchup between Clemson and Ohio State, 5Dimes opened odds for the National Championship game while Clemson was winning 24-0 and in control. For the title game, Alabama opened -7 (-105) vs. Clemson +7 (-115), with a total of 54. The lookahead line over the last couple weeks listed Alabama -11 but Clemson’s semifinal performance changed that considerably. BetOnline also opened Alabama -7 at the same time.

The early majority of spread tickets came in on Clemson and shortly after, Pinnacle and CRIS opened Alabama -6. This caused bettors to jump on Alabama, and spread betting was fairly even by Sunder morning with 51% of tickets on the Crimson Tide and 60% of money on the Tigers. The market then settled on Alabama -6.5 for a short time. Below shows the early line graph from BetOnline:


By Sunday afternoon, books moved Clemson back up to a juiced-up +7, so bettors once again jumped on Clemson and the points. Through Sunday night, Clemson was receiving more than 60% of spread tickets and eventually books moved Clemson back to +6.5. By Monday morning, we had already tracked more than 10,000 bets on the title game from our offshore books.

In Vegas, books are seeing much of the same movement. David Purdum recently reported that of the first $11,020 bet on the moneyline in the title game, $11,000 was on Clemson and just $20 on Alabama. While we mostly report on spread percentages, it’s also vital to look at moneyline percentages, especially in big games like this. Some books also have futures liability on Alabama and Clemson, so they may shade their lines a bit.

The total has seen even more movement, opening at 54 around the market and dropping to 52 behind nearly 90% of tickets on the Under. Clemson and Alabama both put on dominating defensive displays in their semifinal games, so it’s no surprise early bettors love the under so far. This total could still drop until game time, and Premium and Pro members have the ability to track the latest odds, ticket counts, money percentages, bet signals and more.

And here’s a look at each team’s title odds throughout the season. The current odds are the moneyline odds for the National Championship:

TeamJan 1Dec 28Nov 28Nov 25Nov 15Nov 7Oct 31Oct 27Oct 20Oct 13Oct 6Sep 22Sep 15Sep 5
Alabama -230 -205-140-150-130+120+150+185+225+240+255+385+400+535

Clemson reached +1200 in mid-November while Alabama’s longest odds were at the beginning of the season at +535.

Will Alabama repeat as National Champs, or will Clemson get the better of them this year?

Dan McGuire

Dan McGuire is the Operations Manager and soccer specialist at Sports Insights. You can find him on Twitter (@ArsenalDMC) and he can be reached directly at dan.mcguire@actionnetwork.com.

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