After a two-week wait and myriad line maneuvers, the College Football Playoff championship game is almost here. Covers checks in on the action and odds moves, with insights from Matt Lindeman, senior oddsmaker for Circa Sports in downtown Las Vegas.
No. 3 Clemson Tigers vs. No. 1 Louisiana State Tigers – Open: -3; Move: -4; Move: -4.5; Move: -3.5; Move: -3; Move: -3.5; Move: -4; Move: -3.5; Move: -3; Move: -2.5; Move: -3; Move: -4; Move: -3.5; Move: -3; Move: -3.5; Move: -4; Move: -5; Move: -5.5; Move: -5; Move: -5.5; -6; Move: -5.5; Move: -5
Louisiana State rolls into this 8 p.m. ET kickoff having scored 46 points or more in five of its last six games, cracking 50 points four times in that stretch. That includes a blowout victory in the Dec. 28 CFP semifinals, when the Tigers (14-0 SU) got seven Joe Burrow touchdown passes in the first half of a 63-28 smoking of Oklahoma as 12.5-point Peach Bowl favorites.
Defending national champ Clemson will make its fourth championship game appearance and is going for its third title in four years. The Tigers (14-0 SU, 11-3 ATS) haven’t lost a game since a 2017-18 CFP semifinal against Alabama, which they avenged by routing the Crimson Tide in last season’s final. In this year’s CFP semis, Clemson rallied from a 16-0 second-quarter deficit to beat Ohio State 29-23 as 2.5-point Fiesta Bowl faves.
Most of the movement on this game came in the first few hours after it posted on the afternoon of Dec. 28. There were 18 moves within the first eight hours, before the line settled at LSU -5 for a few days.
“We currently need Clemson, taking a bunch of LSU money from our opener of 3 up to 6,” Lindeman told Covers on Saturday night. “We finally saw some interest in Clemson at 6, and the number has come back some now. We'll see our biggest bets (Sunday), but as it stands now, we're hoping the defending champs can stay inside the number.”
Circa’s position with the futures book will take time to clarify, as the sportsbook newcomer has an interesting option that allows bettors to parlay such wagers. For example, one could parlay CFP futures with the Super Bowl or the NBA Finals or NCAA Tournament.
“We're in a unique position with futures, as we do well to Clemson on straight bets, but do poorly on parlays,” Lindeman said. “We actually won't know what we're rooting for until the NCAA Tournament and NBA/NHL Finals roll around.”
Circa opened the total at 72 and dipped to 70 within 10 minutes on the night of Dec. 28. The number stuck at 69.5 from Dec. 30 until Saturday morning, when it dipped a full point to 68.5.
Patrick Everson is a Las Vegas-based senior writer for Covers. Follow him on Twitter: @Covers_Vegas.