Alabama will be a touchdown favorite against Ohio State as the two powerhouses square off for the national championship. According to Westgate’s Rex Beyers, the Ohio State-Alabama championship matchup opened up with the Crimson Tide as 7.5-point favorites. The over-under is set at 76.5 in what Vegas expects to be a high-scoring affair.
This number was bet down to Alabama being just a touchdown favorite in the opening line. Alabama is favored by four in the first-half spread over Ohio State.
All eyes will be on Justin Fields’ health as the Ohio State quarterback battled through a rib injury in the Sugar Bowl. The quarterback sustained the injury on a big hit against Clemson but was able to play the entire game against the Tigers. Fields will have a little more than a week to rest before taking on the Crimson Tide on January 11.
“My ribs were killing me pretty much all game,” Fields admitted to ESPN after the Buckeyes’ win over the Tigers.
Alabama Has Been the National Championship Favorite
Heading into the semifinal matchups, Alabama was the national championship favorite at -180 followed by Clemson who had +235 odds while Ohio State was third at +550, per OddsShark. Notre Dame was viewed in Vegas as a distant fourth with long +2200 championship odds even before their blowout loss to Alabama.
Alabama is 12-0 straight up and 8-4 against the spread so far this season. The Buckeyes have had a sample size to examine going 4-3 against the spread in their seven matchups this season.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 got off to a later start to the season than the other conferences. Ohio State also had several of their scheduled games canceled for COVID-related reasons, including their annual rivalry matchup against Michigan.
National Championship Prediction: Alabama Withstands a Fight from Ohio State
The Buckeyes put on a show against Clemson, and Alabama is likely going to face the best opponent the team has seen all season. Ohio State had plenty of motivation to avenge their playoff loss to Clemson from a season ago, and Dabo Swinney ranking the team outside his top 10 added a little bit of extra fuel. The question is whether Ohio State just played their best possible game against Clemson.
Ohio State’s offense poses a big threat to Alabama, but I like my chances of giving Nick Saban more than a week to prepare. Fields played lights out in the second half despite his injury, but his health will continue to be a question mark leading up to the title game.
The Buckeyes defensive line could give Mac Jones some trouble, but Alabama has enough versatile weapons to rely on shorter passes to allow the Crimson Tide quarterback to get the ball out quickly. On paper, Alabama looks like a slightly more complete team than Ohio State, but this matchup should be far from a blowout. I like Alabama to barely cover the spread as Saban wins another title.
Heavy’s Prediction: Alabama 34 Ohio State 26. Alabama Covers -7 Spread. Under on the Point Total.