The biggest College Football game of the season takes place tonight as the top seeded Alabama Crimson Tide face off against third seed Ohio State Buckeyes for the College Football National Championship game at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida.
It is a game that, after a dramatic weekend of NFL Super Wildcard Weekend action, will continue to enthral the nation as two dynamic and juggernaut offenses go head-to-head in what promises to be a shootout.
Alabama Crimson Tide
Nick Saban’s Alabama come into this game having had their wide receiver DeVonta Smith named
the Heisman Trophy winner for 2020, with quarterback Mac Jones and running back Najee Harris also top five in the voting.
It’s fair to say that this is College Football’s most fearsome offense and the amount of talent on the team in this department is what has made Alabama, not just 12-0 on the season, but comfortably the big favourites to be crowned the best team in college football on Monday night.
A routine 31-14 win over Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl was perhaps not as emphatic as the Crimson Tide would have liked, but after going 14-0 up in the first quarter, they never really needed to engage the top gears in that game.
That is a worrying thought if you are an Ohio State defensive player heading into the game.
Question marks do remain against the Alabama defense though, and they are likely to be steeling themselves for what is going to be their toughest test of the season against an Ohio State offense that exploded into life, racking up 49 points in their Sugar Bowl win over Clemson.
Ohio State Buckeyes
There are many critics that pointed out the Buckeye’s shortened six game season meant they were
fortunate to claim a spot in the College Football Playoffs. However, that big performance and 49-28 win over Clemson certainly dispelled any notion that Ohio State deserved to be in the mix.
Key to that win was quarterback Justin Fields, who threw for 385 yards and six touchdowns despite picking up a rib injury in the second quarter.
Don’t overlook running back Trey Sermon who has racked up 636 yards and four touchdowns in his last three games.
For the Buckeyes to stand a chance, they need their defense to show up big once again as they did against Clemson.
In that game Tigers’ quarterback Trevor Lawrence was pressured all night and if they can do the same to Mac Jones, then they stand a real chance.
Ohio State head coach Ryan Day has done a superb job this season with the Buckeyes and he is confident that his team will be ready to upset the odds come Monday night.
How do the sportsbooks call it?
Currently, the Ohio State Buckeyes are -8.5 against the spread with BetMGM Sportsbook at the time of writing, which does highlight just how big a favourite Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide are.
On the Money Line, you can back Ohio State at +260, while Alabama are -350. Of more interest is the Over/Under bet, with the Over 74.5 points being an appealing option at -115, given that the consensus of opinion here is that this game could well be a high-scoring affair.
BetMGM are also currently offering a special Lions Boost offer on the First Score of the Game to be an Alabama Touchdown, with the price of that bet increasing from -106 up to +140.
What’s our opinion?
While we can’t go against the general opinion that Alabama will win the game, there is some merit in saying that the Buckeyes will be able to keep pace with the high-powered Alabama offense.
Ohio State were excellent against Clemson and in a game where I expect the lead to change several times, I think the Buckeyes will be able to go toe to toe with Alabama for the majority of the game.
As such, I think taking Ohio State at +8.5 against the spread is a good value option here as I think it will be 7 points or fewer between the teams at the end of the game.