We're still several weeks away from the College Football Playoff semifinals, but the early influential money is on the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Multiple Las Vegas sportsbooks reported taking bets from respected players on the Crimson Tide, who are growing favorites over No. 1 Clemson in the Allstate Sugar Bowl (8:45 p.m. ET, Jan. 1).
Alabama opened as a 1-point favorite last Sunday at the Westgate SuperBook. The Crimson Tide are now 2.5-point favorites over the Tigers.
"Alabama got some money from a group who moves numbers," Westgate Superbook assistant manager Ed Salmons said. "The public likes Clemson."
At MGM sportsbooks, eight times as much money has been bet on the Crimson Tide as has been bet on Clemson in the first week since the matchup was set. The number of bets on the Sugar Bowl, however, was equally divided among the two teams, MGM vice president of race sports Jay Rood said.
Las Vegas sportsbook operator CG Technology also reported taking early "sharp" action on Alabama. CG Technology vice president of risk Jason Simbal said Sunday that he had taken more bets on Clemson, but there was three times as much money on Alabama.
"The most action, by far, on any bowl game is on Alabama-Clemson," Simbal said. "That could end up being the most-bet game of the year. It might end being more heavily bet than the championship game."
In the other College Football Playoff semifinal, Georgia has settled as a small favorite over Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl (5 p.m., Jan. 1). The Sooners opened as high as 3-point favorites, but the line was sitting at Georgia -1.5 at most books on Monday.
Alabama remains the favorite to win the national championship. The Crimson Tide are listed at +160 to win the title at the Westgate. Clemson is +280, followed by Georgia at +300 and Oklahoma at +350.