The college football season comes to a climactic close on Monday night when the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Ohio State Buckeyes meet in the College Football Playoff Championship Game with a national title on the line. Top-ranked Alabama enters this matchup as an 8-point favorite with a high-scoring game expected as the game total set at 74.5 points on Sportsbetting.com
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
Date: Monday, Jan. 11 – 8:00 PM ET
Odds: Alabama -8
Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State enters this game coming off of its best, most dominant performance of the entire season in the 49-28 College Football Playoff semifinal win over the Clemson Tigers. The Buckeyes dominated the Tigers on both sides of the ball, outgaining them 639 yards to 444.
Quarterback Justin Fields played the best game of his career, going 22-for-28 through the air for six touchdown passes along with 48 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, running back Trey Sermon continued his hot streak, accounting for 254 total yards and a touchdown as both a running and receiving threat.
Defensively, Ohio State shut down Clemson. The Buckeyes held the Tigers to just 34 yards and no points in the second quarter, allowing them to pull away and build an insurmountable lead. Clemson only managed 28 points and 444 total yards – well below their season average – and was unable to find any success running the ball, finishing the game with 22 attempts for 44 yards, good for just two yards per carry.
Ohio State’s last game was the best we’ve seen of the Buckeyes this year. If they can put together another similar performance, they have a real chance to pull the upset and claim the national title.
Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama has been the most dominant team in college football all season. The Crimson Tide enter Monday’s national championship game with a perfect 12-0 record and wins over four teams ranked in the top-10 of the final College Football Playoff rankings.
Most of Alabama’s dominance this season has been due to its offense, which features three of the top-five vote-getters for this year’s Heisman Trophy – quarterback Mac Jones, running back Najee Harris, and the winner, wide receiver DeVonta Smith. That trio has led an offense that leads all Power Five teams with 48.2 points per game this season.
Defensively, Alabama has been solid. The Crimson Tide rank in the top-15 in terms of scoring defense, allowing just 19 points per game. This season, Alabama has held more than half of its opponents to fewer than 20 points and has held an opponent to single-digit points three times including one shutout. The defense has struggled against strong offenses, however, surrendering 48 points to the Ole Miss Rebels and 46 points to the Florida Gators.
With playmakers on both sides of the ball, Alabama is the nation’s top-ranked team for a reason and they’ll look to cap off an undefeated season with a national title on Monday night.
As strong as both of these teams have been on offense with Alabama ranked No. 1 and Ohio State ranked No. 2 in the Power Five in terms of scoring offense, they have both had defensive struggles.
The Buckeyes don’t rank in the top-40 in total defense this season and have been particularly bad in the secondary with their pass defense ranked dead last in the Big Ten. Meanwhile, Alabama has struggled against high-powered offenses, surrendering 46 points to Florida and 48 points to Ole Miss.
With two struggling defenses facing elite offenses, this is going to be a high-scoring game that will come down to which defense steps up, and so far this season the Buckeye defense has proven stronger with a dominant defensive line and linebacking corps.
Expect the Ohio State offense to put up plenty of points on the Crimson Tide and make just enough stops to get the win – or at least the cover.
Pick: Ohio State +8