College Football Playoff National Championship Betting Preview – Ohio State vs. Alabama
There were fears that the College Football Playoff National Championship would have to be called off due to a rise of COVID within Ohio State’s football program. The Buckeyes were dealing with some real issues earlier in the week, but we found out the game was good to go on Saturday. Ohio State is more than a touchdown underdog against the Alabama Crimson Tide. This is a familiar position for the Buckeyes though, as they were a similarly priced underdog against Clemson in the Sugar Bowl.
The CFP National Championship will take place at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida on Monday, January 11, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.
College Football Betting Odds
Ohio State +8.5
The Buckeyes jumped on Clemson early and never let go in one of the two CFP semifinals. Justin Fields had his most impressive game yet with Ohio State, completing 22 of 28 passes for 385 yards with six touchdowns and an interception in a 49-28 rout.
Alabama set records as over a 20-point favorite against Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl. The Crimson Tide were never in danger of losing to the Irish, but they allowed a late touchdown that led to Alabama failing to cover the spread.
Ohio State Offense vs. Alabama Defense
Fields is likely dealing with some severely bruised ribs at best and some broken ribs at worst after taking a big hit against Clemson on New Year’s Day. Ryan Day has indicated that Fields is good to go for this game, and that’s a good thing considering the lack of experienced options behind the Georgia transfer.
Although Fields had a rough time against Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship Game, he was sensational against Clemson. Fields is likely to be a top ten pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and he is one of the most efficient quarterbacks in college football. It’s unlikely we see him use his legs given his injury though.
Trey Sermon has exploded in Ohio State’s last two games. With Master Teague III sidelined due to injury, Sermon has been an extremely effective workhorse with 60 carries for 524 yards and three touchdowns against Northwestern and Clemson. Running the ball on Alabama has been a non-starter for most of Nick Saban’s tenure though.
Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson have been the main targets all year. Olave and Wilson have each caught at least 40 passes for 660 yards, while no other Ohio State players has seen near as much action. Alabama’s secondary is very good, but we saw Ole Miss and Florida have success through the air on the Crimson Tide.
Alabama Offense vs. Ohio State Defense
Devonta Smith became one of a handful of wide receivers to win the Heisman Trophy last week. Smith was a longshot at the start of the season, but he emerged as the frontrunner to win the award in mid-December. He posted absurd numbers with 105 receptions for 1,641 yards and 20 touchdowns, and he roasted Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl.
This offense isn’t just Smith. Mac Jones finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting. Jones completed 77 percent of his passes for over 4,000 yards, averaging 11.3 YPA with 36 touchdowns and four interceptions. He has ensured Alabama didn’t miss Tua Tagovailoa with his play, and the emergence of John Metchie III as the second receiver has been crucial too.
Jaylen Waddle was feared lost for the season after fracturing his ankle in October. Waddle had at least 120 receiving yards in his four games, but he has not played in almost three months. However, he could be poised to return as he has been a participant at practice this week. Waddle is considered a true game-time decision.
Najee Harris is the next in a long line of great Alabama running backs with 1,387 yards (6.1 YPC) and 24 rushing touchdowns. Ohio State has been good against the run, allowing 3.2 YPC, but this secondary has been suspect and is surrendering 280.7 YPG through the air.
This is the highest total we have ever seen in a national championship game. Alabama will be able to light up Ohio State’s defense, but the Buckeyes won’t be able to keep pace.