When it comes down to it, the Clemson Tigers are the second favorite NCAA betting college football team for one reason and one reason only. The odds-on NCAA football betting favorites would be the Alabama Crimson Tide. Why? Both Clemson and Bama had impressive 14-1 seasons in 2015. They both have long-running programs under Dabo Swinney and Nick Saban respectively. Both have similar – if not identical – odds. In fact, let’s have a look at Clemson’s below:
• Odds to win ACC championship game: +190
• Odds to win NCAA football national championship: +730
The difference is that the Tide beat the Tigers 45-40 in the 2016 national championship. That’s all that there is to it. Actually, there is something else. While UA only lost only two players to the 2016 NFL draft, Clemson was practically raided. The Tigers lost nine players – the most for Clemson since 1983, and the second most in 2016 behind Ohio State. Those nine players were defensive ends Shaq Lawson to the Buffalo Bills and Kevin Dodd to the Tennessee Titans, defensive back Mackensie Alexander to the Minnesota Vikings, safety TJ Green to the Indianapolis Colts, LB BJ Goodson to the NY Giants, defensive tackle DJ Reader to the Houston Texans, wide receiver Charone Peake to the NY Jets, safety Jayron Kearse to the Vikings, and running back Zac Brooks to the Seattle Seahawks.
The good news is for Clemson NCAA betting fans is that this means that the program works. If Swinney and the rest of the coaching staff can develop such a varied and numerous crop of players coveted by NFL teams once, they can certainly do it again. This is especially notable considering that the Tigers have never finished with a top-10 recruiting class in the modern era of recruiting. More noteworthy even, the Tigers have a 75-27 record in nine seasons with Swinney, even though the head coach has never had a recruiting class ranked higher than No. 12 in the nation. As a matter of fact, the 2014 class finished at No. 28 in the rankings, and that one included Heisman Trophy finalist and projected top-10 pick QB Deshaun Watson. As Swinney says, “I focus on our players, on our staff. If we do a great job with that, the recruiting will take care of itself.”
This year’s class includes such prospects as five-star defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence and four-star defensive back Trayvon Mullen – as well as Junior wide receiver Mike Williams, returning from a season-ending neck injury. Additionally, nine starters will be returning on offense and two on defense. Obviously, though, NCAA betting fans will focus on Watson more than on any other Tiger. The 20 year old quarterback finished third in the Heisman vote, which is still the best finish in Clemson history. And while Watson may not have considered the most outstanding player in college football, he was certainly deemed worthy of the Davey O’Brien award for best college QB – and deservedly so; he passed for more than 4,000 yards and rushed for a further 1,000, a first in NCAA football history.