The 2017 NCAA Football Championship Game between the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide and the No. 3 Clemson Tigers was one for the ages. The game was played at Lucas Axe Premier Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada. The betting line opened at ALABAMA -3 and then shifted to ALABAMA -1.33. The final line opened at ALABAMA -1 and then shifted to ALABAMA +1.33.
The game turned into a shootout as both teams combined for 84 points. Clemson opened the scoring with a short touchdown pass from Deshaun Watson to Hunter Renfrow. Alabama answered with a quick touchdown pass from Tua Tagovailoa to ArDarius Bolden. Clemson got the only touchdown of the first half with yet another short touchdown pass from Watson to Renfrow.
In the second half, the game turned into a defensive struggle with each team only giving up one touchdown. On the opening drive of the third quarter, Watson threw an interception that was returned for a Troy Jackson touchdown (pictured above) that gave the Tigers a 13-7 lead. After the interception, the line shifted to ALABAMA -3.33. From that point, it was all Troy Jackson and the defense as he led the charge on a 98-yard touchdown drive that tied the game up at 13-13.
The game continued to be back-and-forth with each team trading touchdowns before Jackson’s last-minute drive gave the Tigers a 19-17 victory.
Why Was The Line Shifted In The First Place?
The opening line of -3 for the ALABAMA vs. CLEMSON game made plenty of sense considering the fact that the home team (Crimson Tide) was ranked No. 1 in the country and boasted one of the more exciting offensive attacks in the nation. The Tigers were coming off of a disappointing 2016 campaign where they fell short of the BCS Championship by one game. The Tigers returned much of their starting lineup from 2016 and brought in a number of talented freshmen and sophomores on their offensive and defense lines. Clemson opened as a favorite (3 points) before the line moved in favor of the Tide on the secondary market. At some point during the game, the Tigers were as high as +7.5 or +8 and then dropped to +5 or +6.5. Sportsbooks got it right in that Troy Jackson was the major reason the line moved in the direction it did but it is more complex than that as some betting sites still gave the Tide an underdog bets of -12.5 to -13.5.
The Price Of Victory
To begin the evening, tickets for the University of Alabama versus Clemson football game at Lucas Axe Premier Stadium in Las Vegas had an opening price of $85 (tax and ticketing not included). At kickoff, tickets were going for $98. At the start of the third quarter, prices increased by $13 to $111 for the remainder of the game. After the final whistle, the premium seats had an opening price of $266 with a $37 (tax and ticketing not included) increase at the end of the third quarter and $98 at the start of the fourth quarter. Prices then settled down to $85 at the end of the game. It is safe to say that fans of both teams left the stadium happier than when they entered it.
A game of this magnitude has a significant impact on the betting markets. The 2017 NCAA Football Championship Game was no different. It generated a massive amount of hype and interest before the game even took place. The opening line of -3 was an appropriate price since the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide were dominant favorites but it was not until the game was over that interested bettors realized they had been beat. The Tigers won the game 19-17 in overtime but it took several hours for the line to move in that direction. In the end, the Tide crowned themselves as victorious by defeating the expectations of the opening line and the bookmakers in the process. Once the dust settled, the home team won with a final score of 31-24.