The Alabama Crimson Tide and Ohio State Buckeyes are the last two teams standing for tonight’s College Football Playoff National Championship.
One team was a season-long front-runner while the other overcame COVID-19 issues.
And here they are, highly favored Alabama and underdog Ohio State, both undefeated and clashing for the national championship title. Both have significant wagering cache with the NJ sports betting crowd.
Here is a closer at the matchup and NCAA National Championship Game odds.
Breaking down Alabama vs. Ohio State
Alabama is 12-0 and favored in the nine-point range across NJ sportsbook apps. Besides being at the top of the rankings most of the year, they are the BCS No. 1 seed. The Crimson Tide defeated Notre Dame 31-14 in the semifinals.
Ohio State, 7-0, almost didn’t qualify for the BCS because it had only played five games entering the final regular-season weekend. It notched No. 6, entered the four-team championship and then scored a significant upset over Clemson, 49-28, as a seven-point dog.
The Crimson Tide attracted the early love of the bettors even at high odds. Here are some key numbers:
- Alabama garnered 68% of the DraftKings Sportsbook handle entering the weekend.
- Alabama also secured a majority on the moneyline at 56%, despite its seemingly prohibitive line of -315.
- Ohio State is an attractive +240 if it can deliver the upset.
- The over-under of 75.5 has appealed to the under crowd, with 65% thinking the total will go under.
Alabama averages a little more than 48 points per game compared to 43 for Ohio State.
Alabama gives up 19 points per contest, Ohio State 22. The betting crowd seems to be of the belief that defenses will rise to the occasion in this game.
Ohio State has a decided rushing advantage of 272 yards per game compared to 185 for Alabama.
NJ sportsbooks + National Championship game
From an NJ sports wagering perspective, bettors have a number of options, including a number of different props.
At DraftKings, Alabama quarterback Mac Jones is expected to throw at least three touchdown passes. The over 3.5 was paying -103 and the under was -125 as of early this morning.
Justin Fields of Ohio State has a -129 marker for over 2.5 touchdown passes, while the under was +120. He threw a whopping six in the game of his life in Ohio State’s thrashing of Clemson.
If you take the under in either case, you are hoping for a running back or even a quarterback sneak to steal one of the tallies.
Seeking value for the big names? They will have to be the first touchdown scorer.
On the FanDuel Sportsbook side, Fields’ over-under passing yardage is set at 290.5, with the price at -113. This is a playable bet, especially if you believe he can duplicate the 385-yard total from the Clemson game.
Jones has a standard of 365.5 yards. The over is -120, and the under is -106.
Note the difference between FanDuel and DraftKings if you like the yardage prop. Fields is 309.5 at DraftKings and 290.5 at FanDuel. Jones is 380.5 at DraftKings and 365.5 at FanDuel.
On the touchdown end, Jones has a standard of 3.5, with the over at -128 and the under at -102.
Fields has a playable number at 2.5 touchdowns, with the over at -120 and the under at -106.
Johnny Avello says betting is going well
Ohio State has been the Cinderella team in this matchup.
After making the postseason, the Buckeyes turned in a masterful performance against Clemson. They were unstoppable, amassing a whopping 639 yards. Pretty high numbers for a team getting more than a touchdown in the final.
All that did was spike wagering expectations for this showdown. Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told NJ Gambling Sites the betting for this game is really going well.
“This is probably going to the biggest handle for a single college football game of all time,” said Avello. “The reason is because the matchup is great. Any time Ohio State is involved in a game, that team seems to be a money magnet. People just love to bet Ohio State, especially with points. We expect to see plenty of Ohio State action.”
The betting sentiment bears him out. The Sugar Bowl, involving Ohio State and Clemson, was DraftKings’ most-wagered bowl game of the season. Alabama-Notre Dame was second.
Ohio State gets the opportunity to complete a season-long redemption mission. The Buckeyes were beaten in the BCS semifinal 29-23 last year by Clemson after having a 16-0 lead. They avenged the Clemson loss and now seek the Holy Grail.
“They could not stop thinking about that earlier Clemson game since they lost it,” Avello said. “And then some experts came out and called them the 11th best team in the country, and you know they didn’t like that.”
Looking at Justin Fields and Ohio State
There’s another interesting element to this game from a wagering standpoint.
Fields had an outstanding game against Clemson
It was the game of his career. He tossed six — count ’em, six — touchdown passes. Two of them were bombs.
“Fields is a talented kid,” Avello observed. “I like him a lot. He has a good presence on the field, and he has an awareness of his receivers, and yet there’s another way to look at this. He threw some passes in that game against Clemson in which a fingernail could have separated whether the pass was complete or incomplete. …
“The question is whether he is going to be able to duplicate that against this Alabama team.”
Bettors will soon find out.
As far as watching the game goes, we are hours away from kickoff.
— College Football Playoff (@CFBPlayoff) January 10, 2021
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky