CFP National Championship Alabama vs Ohio State Betting Trends – Sharps Like the Crimson Tide, But Are Split on Total

Patrick Surtain

Alabama defensive back Patrick Surtain II (2) looks on against Notre Dame during the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game in Arlington, Texas, Friday, Jan. 1, 2021. Two of the best cornerbacks in the nation, Shaun Wade of Ohio State and Patrick Surtain of Alabama, will have their hands full on Monday night in South Florida. They are possibly the No. 1 and No. 2 NFL prospects at the position — which one is best is a matter of debate that the national championship game could help settle. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
  • Alabama has received 63% of the handle in Monday night’s National Championship Game against Clemson (ESPN, 8 p.m. EST)
  • The majority of sharp money has also been placed on the Crimson Tide, which is an 8.5-point favorite
  • Read below for a full breakdown on the trends for the game

In Monday night’s college football National Championship Game, Alabama enters as the favorite on the field and among sharp bettors.

Ohio State is an 8.5-point underdog to the Crimson Tide on Monday night, despite their 49-28 win over Clemson on New Year’s Day in the Sugar Bowl. After the line opened between 7 and 7.5 points, heavy sharp money has come in on Alabama, and the spread has moved to as much as nine points on some books ahead of kickoff.

Since the 2009 season, Alabama has played in seven national championship games, won five, and covered the spread in three with a push in 2018 against Georgia. During that span, Ohio State won its only appearance in the game in 2015 against Oregon, 42-20, and covered handily as six-point favorites.

Alabama vs Ohio State CFP Championship Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Ohio State +8.5 (-110) +240 O 74.5 (-112)
Alabama -8.5 (-110) -310 U 74.5 (-108)

Odds taken from FanDuel on Jan. 11th

By the Numbers

Overall, around 63-percent of all money has come in on Alabama, as have 61-percent of bets placed. Prior to last year, underdogs had covered six consecutive times in the national championship, but favorites had done the same in the six years preceding that run.

Alabama failed to cover three times this season; one of which was the Tide’s first game of the season. The Buckeyes were more significantly affected by COVID-19 this year, and only covered the spread in three of their six games.

Public Money Focused on Ohio State

Both sides in the national championship are very public programs, but Ohio State casts a wider net of casual fans.

The Buckeyes ingratiated themselves even further with the masses following their offensive dominance in the Sugar Bowl. Ohio State amassed nearly 650 yards of total offense and Justin Fields completed 78-percent of his passes for 385 yards and six touchdowns.

When a team does that to Clemson – a program led by the consensus top overall pick in the NFL Draft – and one that has played in four of the last five national title games, a bump with the books isn’t surprising. Alabama didn’t help itself when it needed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by Florida to help win the SEC Championship. The Tide followed that with a late unsportsmanlike conduct penalty of its own that helped Notre Dame secure a backdoor cover in the Rose Bowl.

Perception is a significant motivator with the public, and between Alabama’s last two games and the announcement that offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian has been hired as Texas’ new head coach, taking the points with the Buckeyes has some merit.

Sharp Money Ignores Recency Bias

Alabama rarely needs to make a case for itself, but the sharps still seem confident that Nick Saban will have a plan for a two-score victory on Monday.

Two of this season’s Heisman Trophy finalists are the quarterback and top receiver for the Crimson Tide, Mac Jones and DeVonta Smith. Smith won after reeling in 105 catches for more than 1,600 yards with 20 touchdowns this year.

Alabama’s defense has had crests and valleys throughout the season, but the offense has been consistently strong. The only time the Tide scored fewer than 40 points in a game came in the first week of the SEC season. Alabama has only allowed more 20 points-or-more in four of its 12 games this year.

2021 CFP National Championship Odds Tracker

Close Decision on the Total

The money and bets placed on the total have been far less decisive than what has been reported on the line.

After the weekend, the total nestled around 74.5 with most books. sharp money has come in on the over, as has 52-percent of all the cash. Conversely, 54-percent of the tickets have been placed on the under.

Including the Sugar Bowl, Ohio State has only reached that high of a total in three games this season. Still, the Buckeyes only finished under their expected point total in two games this year. Alabama started the season hitting on the over in its first four games, but has finished under in five of its last eight games, including the Rose Bowl.

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