LSU vs. Clemson predictions, picks, odds, line, spread for college football national championship 2020

NEW ORLEANS -- The national championship for the 2019 season is on the online Monday night in NOLA as the No. 1 LSU Tigers battle the defending national champions and No. 3-ranked Clemson Tigers. A de-facto home game for LSU inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LSU certainly feels like a "team of destiny" (whatever that means) entering the showdown. Clemson arrived to the Big Easy a mere couple weeks after a hard-fought win over Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. It will certainly not get the same home cooking as the Tiger brethren.

The showdown will cap off an incredible season for both teams as LSU seemed to rise out of nowhere and storm to the top of the SEC West, SEC and the country as a whole -- all thanks to a record-setting year from Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow. Clemson, meanwhile, was able to somehow coast under the radar as the reigning national champions while still boasting the nation's longest winning streak at 29 games.

There's an argument to be made that these were the two best teams in the sport this year given that Clemson is riding that long winning streak but ceded its ranking to three different teams over the course of the season. LSU, meanwhile, has steamrolled through every opponent put in its path despite a couple small roadbumps. 

Clemson has won two of the last three national championships, while LSU is looking for its first national title since Les Miles led them to the crown -- in the same building -- after the 2007 season. The Bayou Bengals would be the first team to win a national title in their home state since Florida did so following the 2008 season.

Here's what our CBS Sports panel of college football experts believes will go down on Monday night. Keep on scrolling for their individual national championship game predictions. And while you're here, check out some keys to the game for LSU and what Clemson must do to win as these teams prepare to meet in New Orleans.

Who will win Clemson vs. LSU, and which side of the spread can you bank on in almost 60 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that is up almost $4,000 on its top-rated picks.

2020 CFP National Championship predictions

Dennis Dodd, senior college football insider: There is too much momentum, too much firepower, too much New Orleans, too much -- gumbo -- for LSU to lose now. For the fourth time in the BCS/CFP era, LSU will play a de facto home game for the national championship. You've got to like the LSU Tigers' chances with the nation's best player, the national coach of the year and the entire state of Louisiana behind them. (Saints fans suddenly have money to spend.) OK, so LSU is only 2-1 in those Superdome games, but it isn't playing Jordan Jefferson at quarterback like in the 2012 BCS Championship Game. Clemson won't go down easily. Venables will have something for Burrow & Co. Dabo Swinney crossed up Ohio State by making Lawrence a runner and running back Travis Etienne a receiver. The winner in this game will have 32-35 points. Both teams have the ability to reach it. It sounds cliche, but LSU playing at "home" pushes them over the top. In a classic of a natty, let's call it ... LSU 32, Clemson 29

Jerry Palm, playoff and bowls expert: LSU looks like it has everything going for it.  A Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback. A homeish game in New Orleans. All the mojo in the world is on the Tigers' back. There is just one problem -- Clemson. Those Tigers not only have their own mojo going, they have the one thing that LSU doesn't have: championship pedigree. Clemson knows how to win this thing. It knows how to do it facing adversity, and it knows how to do it facing long odds. These Tigers revel in those situations, and they will do so again.  Burrow may have the better statistical day, but Lawrence will make the big plays needed to pull out a tough win. Again. Clemson 34, LSU 31

Tom Fornelli, college football writer and SportsLine expert: When it comes to making picks, I try to be as logical and analytical as possible. I use numbers and matchups to help determine the smart play. Well, I'm done doing that with this LSU team. All the numbers say that LSU and Clemson are just about even heading into this game, but LSU has been throwing those numbers out the window all season long. The Tigers are a team of destiny. The entire 2019 college football season just won't make any sense if Clemson ends up winning the national title. LSU has been the story all season long, and it will get its storybook finish at home in New Orleans. LSU 37, Clemson 30

Barrett Sallee, college football writer and SportsLine expert: It's hard to imagine that a team with 29 straight wins and the national championship in hand can legitimately play the disrespect card, but Clemson has been for most of the season. Not only is it the underdog, but the pseudo-home game will play right into Clemson's "Us Against the World" mentality. Furthermore, the unsung hero of the team this year has been an offensive line that has been stellar all season. That will be the key. Lawrence will stay in rhythm and Etienne will find room in the middle of the field with Clemson's offense keeping Burrow and the Bayou Bengals the sideline more than expected. This won't be the high-scoring shootout that many expect, and Clemson will repeat as national champions. Clemson 35, LSU 31

Chip Patterson, college football writer and Cover 3 Podcast host: Games of this magnitude rarely play out in a perfect manner, and it's in a dogfight of a contest that I expect Clemson to win its third national championship in four years. Isaiah Simmons doesn't need to fill the stat sheet to have an impact as the most important player on the field against LSU's historic offense, and with him on the field and Venables on the sideline -- more specifically, barely on the sideline being physically restrained from the field -- I think Clemson can Joe Burrow to under 35 points. Lawrence and Etienne can get Clemson to 35, but they need the defense to take down the home field favorites. Clemson 35, LSU 31 

Barton Simmons, 247Sports director of scouting and Cover 3 Podcast host: This LSU team has felt like a team of destiny all year long. The confidence that it's playing with is unprecedented. Burrow is having the best quarterback season in college football history. The defense is clicking at the right time. I do think that Venables, with the help of Simmons, will pose the toughest test defensively that LSU has seen all season. There will be some back and forth and plenty of momentum swings but the collective offensive firepower that LSU brings to the game is going to put together one more big play or one more big drive than Clemson will be able to muster. LSU 37, Clemson 31

Ben Kercheval, college football writer: This is the hardest national championship pick since the playoff format began. Clemson is playing its best football right now -- at a higher clip than a year ago -- while LSU is at its healthiest defensively. The theme of the 2019 season has been blue-blood offenses, and I don't see any reason for that to change now. Ultimately, LSU has been tested time and time again and come out on top. I'll ride that theme one more time. LSU 37, Clemson 33

Adam Silverstein, deputy managing editor: Not to double down on Tom's "team of destiny" pick, but there's a feeling in the air here in New Orleans. And it's not a feeling of hope for a program that has not won a national title in 12 seasons but rather one of confidence. It is strange that Clemson, a team with a top-three ranked offense and defense is an underdog to an LSU team that boasts the No. 1 offense in the country but the No. 29 defense, one that has been exposed on occasion this season. That LSU defense will be the pendulum upon which Monday night's game is decided, and Dave Aranda's had enough time -- and 29 undefeated games of film -- to prepare. LSU's offensive playmakers will ultimately win this game, and Clemson will have difficulty coming within the number after an insane 60 minutes in NOLA. LSU 38, Clemson 28

Brandon Wise, college football editor: I am still not convinced that LSU's defense will keep up in this game. The unit that has kept the Tigers on the Bayou buoyant for so many years has not yet stepped up to the plate and shut an opponent down. This while the offense continues to breeze by. I still think LSU covers this spread and wins by a touchdown, but Clemson will be neck and neck throughout this game because of some wide-open scoring opportunities. LSU 35, Clemson 28

Jack Crosby, college football editor: It's impossible to ignore the "team of destiny" feel surrounding this LSU squad as Joe Burrow and Co. have put together a memorable undefeated season to this point. It's also impossible -- for me, at least -- to ignore that we've seen this LSU defense give up its share of points throughout the season. Yes, the unit was banged up, especially earlier in the year, but there are still concerns on that side of the ball, and I believe this high-powered Clemson offense will be able to capitalize coming off over two weeks to prepare. Travis Etienne and the offensive line will create enough on the ground to open it all up for Trevor Lawrence to do his damage through the air. Burrow and the LSU offense will get their points on the scoreboard, but the Clemson defense will make sure they hold up their end of the bargain and allow Lawrence and Co. to put up slightly more en route to another national title victory. Clemson 35, LSU 31

College Football Writer

Barrett Sallee has been a member of the sports media in various aspects since 2001. He is currently a college football writer for CBS Sports, analyst for CBS Sports HQ and host for the SiriusXM college... Full Bio

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