LSU vs. Clemson: Predictions, Trends to Know and Updated Lines for College Football Playoff National Championship

One of the two unbeaten records in the top tier of college football will come to an end on Monday night, when LSU and Clemson collide in the College Football Playoff championship game in New Orleans, Louisiana.

All the ingredients are in place for a classic. Both teams arrive into the showpiece event of college football on the back of a 14-0 record, both teams can rely on a devastating offense—LSU ranks first in total offense, while Clemson is fourth—and both teams boast star quarterbacks—Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence, who is 25-0 as a starter.

According to Oddschecker, LSU is a 5.5-point favorite and 23/25 to cover the spread, while Clemson is a 7/4 underdog—only the second time in two years it doesn't enter the game as the favorite.

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Here's a look at the main statistical trends ahead of the biggest game of college football season.

Can Clemson and Trevor Lawrence be beaten?

Since taking the starting quarterback job 25 games ago, Lawrence is yet to lose a game.

For Clemson, the winning run stretches even longer as the Tigers last tasted defeat against Alabama in the CFP semifinal in January 2018.

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With a win over LSU on Monday, Clemson will become the first program in college football history to go 15-0 in consecutive seasons.

Trevor Lawrence, Clemson Tigers
Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Clemson Tigers celebrates his 34-yard touchdown pass to Travis Etienne against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second half during the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium on December 28, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. Matthew Stockman/Getty

A shootout on the cards

The over/under line in terms of total points scored is set at 69.5, which is hardly a surprise given LSU and Clemson rank first and fourth in scoring offense during the regular season at an average of 48.9 and 45.3 points per game.

Since the CFP inception in 2014, the national title game has produced an average of 64.4 points per game and Monday's encounter should continue the trend.

History beckons for Joe Burrow

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow has enjoyed a breakout season, completing 77.9 percent of his passes, throwing for 4,715 passing yards and 48 touchdowns in the regular season—both SEC records—and just six interceptions.

The senior signal caller threw seven touchdown passes in the 63-28 trouncing of Oklahoma in the CFP semifinal and could become only the 16th player in history to win the Heisman Trophy—which he captured in a landslide last month—and the national title in the same season.

Burrow needs four touchdowns to break the all-time record for touchdown passes in a single FBS season, which currently stands at 58 and was set by former Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan.

Uncharted territory

Clemson enters the CFP title decider in the unusual position of being the underdog, a role it has played just once in the last two years. The last time the Tigers were an underdog, they thrashed Alabama 44-16 in the title game a year ago.

The defending champions are 11-3 against the spread this season, covering in nation-best 78.6 percent of games, and are 8-2 against the spread as underdog in the CFP since 2014.

LSU, meanwhile, is in uncharted waters itself as it hasn't competed for the national title since 2011, when they lost 21-0 to Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game—as it was called then.

Conversely, Clemson is making its fourth appearance in the CFP national championship game since the playoff's inception in 2014.

Running game may hold the key to success

While the matchup between LSU and Clemson will be depicted as a duel between Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence, the running game is just as crucial for both teams.

LSU is 8-0 in games in which Clyde Edwards-Helaire has rushed for at least 100 yards, while Clemson is 17-0 when Travis Etienne has amassed 100 or more yards on the ground.

The focus may be on the quarterbacks, but stopping the running game will be pivotal on Monday.

LSU Tigers, Joe Burrow, Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Joe Burrow #9 of the LSU Tigers hands the ball of to Clyde Edwards-Helaire #22 during a game between Georgia Bulldogs and LSU Tigers at Mercedes Benz Stadium on December 7, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty

Will the second quarter prove decisive?

The two CFP semifinals spoke volumes for both teams' approach to the second quarter. Clemson outscored Ohio State 14-6 to begin its comeback, while LSU buried Oklahoma 28-7.

Throughout the season, both teams have made a habit of accelerating in the second quarter. Clemson has outscored opponents 211-38, while LSU has put 228 points past its opponents and conceded 81.

The second quarter on Monday could prove crucial.

Road comfort

Since the CFP inception in 2014, LSU is 8-3—both straight up and against the spread—in games played in neutral venues, while Clemson is 12-2 in the same scenario.

Something will have to give on Monday, but LSU can take solace in the fact its last national title came at the same venue that will host the championship game this year—the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.

LSU vs. Clemson: Predictions, Trends to Know and Updated Lines for College Football Playoff National Championship | Sports