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It’s Clemson, Alabama vs. rest of college football in betting

Less than three months before the start of the 2019 college football season, there are a plethora of point spreads to peruse at Las Vegas sportsbooks.

CG Technology posted lines on 84 selected games Wednesday and the Golden Nugget followed Thursday with lines on 100 “Games of the Year.”

A few hours after CG Technology released their numbers, there were nine line moves of at least three points, which we’ll get to in a moment. But one thing Las Vegas oddsmakers and bettors don’t expect to change this season is the dominance of Clemson and Alabama.

The Tigers and Crimson Tide have split the last four national championships and are the 9-4 co-favorites at the Westgate sportsbook to win the 2020 CFP national title game.

Clemson, Alabama vs. field

The Westgate and South Point sportsbooks each have posted national championship props pitting Clemson and Alabama against the field.

At the Westgate, Clemson and Alabama are minus 170 favorites over the field, which is plus 145. The line opened at pick but sharp action quickly moved the number and the vast majority of money is on the Alabama-Clemson option.

“The math says it should be pick,” Westgate sportsbook manager Ed Salmons said. “It just seems like one or the other is going to win. That’s how it is every year.”

The South Point is offering a three-way prop with Clemson-Georgia-Michigan a plus 140 favorite, Alabama-Oklahoma-Ohio State the plus 150 second choice and the field (all others) the plus 280 underdog.

The Clemson group opened at plus 150 and the Alabama group at plus 160.

“We wanted to separate Alabama and Clemson because we think they’re clearly the two best teams,” South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews said. “We wanted to separate Georgia and Alabama, too, because they’re both SEC teams. And then you’ve got Ohio State and Michigan.

“We needed another team to balance it out and went with Oklahoma, which is in a pretty easy conference and they’ve got (ex-Alabama QB) Jalen Hurts going over there. Some people think Oklahoma might have three Heisman Trophy winners in a row.”

The field is led (based on national title odds) by Louisiana State (20-1), Auburn (25-1) and Texas (25-1). But unless Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence or Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa get hurt, it appears to be a safe bet that the Tigers or Tide will take home another title.

“I’d say that’s probably likely,” Andrews said.

Clemson has a much easier schedule than Alabama, with its two toughest tests at home against Texas A&M (Sept. 7) and at Syracuse (Sept. 14).

The Tigers are 17½-point favorites over the Aggies after the line at CG Technology opened at 16½ and they’re 21-point favorites over the Orange.

Alabama’s toughest games will be at Texas A&M (Oct. 12), home against LSU (Nov. 9) and at Auburn (Nov. 30).

The Tide are favored by 13½ points over the Aggies, 17½ points over LSU and 14½ points over Auburn.

Salmons has Alabama and Clemson rated as “dead equal” but said the betting public is banking on the Crimson Tide to avenge their 44-16 loss to the Tigers in January’s CFP championship game.

“The public still believes in Alabama,” he said.

Line moves

The biggest line moves at CG Technology were on West Virginia-Baylor (Oct. 26) and Oklahoma-UCLA (Sept. 14). The Mountaineers dropped from 6-point to 1½-point favorites and the Sooners dipped from 16-point to 12-point favorites.

Here are other notable line moves: Michigan State from a 2½-point underdog to a 1-point favorite over Penn State (Oct. 26); Stanford from minus 13½ to minus 10 over UCLA (Oct. 17); Miami (Fla.) from -11 to -7½ over Virginia Tech (Oct. 5); Stanford from -10 to -7 over Northwestern (Aug. 31); Florida State from -1½ to -4½ over Boise State (Aug. 31); Florida from -3 to -6 over Kentucky (Sept. 14); and Southern California from pick to -3 over Stanford (Sept. 7).

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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