The 2020 national title will be decided on Monday night when the Ohio State Buckeyes take on the Alabama Crimson Tide in the National Championship Game in Miami.
The current word is that Ohio State is struggling with a number of positive COVID-19 tests. But the game is still on for Monday and is likely to remain that way.
The Buckeyes will be without some members of their team when they play Alabama, as they were against Clemson in the CFP semifinal. As long as that number doesn’t rise significantly, the show will go on.
The Line: Alabama (-7.5)
The top-ranked Crimson Tide head into the game as just over a touchdown favorite, which is good for Alabama fans. When favored by seven points or less, Alabama has lost against the spread in five of its last eight games. So as long as the spread stays 7.5 or above, that history remains moot.
What is relevant is that even though Alabama was an impressive 8-4 against the spread in 2020, it has failed to cover in each of this season’s postseason games – the SEC Championship Game (six-point win over Florida) and the CFP semifinal (17-point win over Notre Dame.)
Ohio State was only the underdog once this year – its semifinal game against Clemson – and the Buckeyes beat that spread by an impressive 28 points.
Take the Buckeyes and the points.
The game total opened at 76.5 and has come down two full points. That could be the result of the COVID-19 news coming out of Columbus. But we know that both of these teams can and will score regardless of which pieces are missing on Monday.
Justin Fields just went for six touchdowns against Clemson, and Alabama’s pass defense ranks only 82nd in the country. Ohio State has scored 52, 49, 42, 52, and 49 points in games this season. The Buckeyes can score.
So who does Alabama have? Just the most recent Heisman Trophy winner, wide receiver DeVonta Smith, and his quarterback, Mac Jones, who finished third in Heisman voting.
There’s also running back Najee Harris, who finished fifth in the Heisman voting. How is that for a three-headed offensive monster?
Only twice this year did Alabama fail to break 40 points – at Missouri and against Notre Dame. But six times, the Crimson Tide broke 50 points, including 63 points each against Mississippi and Kentucky.
If you want to place a totals bet, take the over.
Moneyline: Alabama (-275) vs. Ohio State (+220)
While most experts agree that Alabama has been the best team all year and is the best team that will take the field in Miami, are the Tide worth -275?
Ohio State is playing too well to put money on Alabama with such a little payoff. The smart choice is to skip the moneyline bet altogether or make a modest wager on Ohio State.
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