- #1 Alabama and #3 Ohio State meet in the CFP National Championship Monday at 8 PM Eastern on ESPN
- The Crimson Tide and Buckeyes are the only two remaining undefeated teams this season
- See the spread, total and breakdown of the game going into Monday night below
The College Football Playoff National Championship game is finally here. #1 Alabama faces #3 Ohio State on Monday night to cap off a year of college football unlike any other.
The line has moved more in the Crimson Tide’s favor after Alabama opened as 7.5-point favorites.
Can Justin Fields and the Buckeyes knock off one of the best offenses in college football history on Nick Saban’s side?
Alabama vs Ohio State CFP National Championship Odds
|#3 Ohio State||+9 (-112)||+225||O 75.5 (-108)|
|#1 Alabama||-9 (-109)||-286||U 75.5 (-113)|
Odds taken Jan. 8th from DraftKings
DeVonta Smith Aiming to Cap Incredible Season
Smith became the first wide receiver to capture the Heisman Trophy in 29 years. He finished the season with 105 receptions, 1,641 yards and 20 touchdowns. For style points, he tacked on 130 yards and three touchdowns in Alabama’s win over Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl.
Smith is a complete package that could give the Ohio State secondary nightmare’s. Shaun Wade was once a projected first round pick, but along with the rest of the Buckeyes defense has been allowing chunks of yards through the air all season. Considering Smith has seven games with multiple touchdowns, it would be no surprise to see him play a factor in the championship game.
The biggest injury to watch for the Crimson Tide is Smith’s running mate Jaylen Waddle. The wide receiver suffered a high ankle sprain and fracture back in October and was then assumed to be out for the season.
With Alabama continuing their season into mid-January, Waddle is back at practise. He is a game-day decision but would provide a big boost. In four games he tallied 557 yards and four touchdowns. Smith and a healthy Waddle could be a championship winning formula for Nick Saban’s side.
Justin Fields Looks to Cement Draft Status
Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields will declare for the NFL draft after the game, and is looking to go out with a bang. He out-dueled projected #1 pick Trevor Lawrence in the Sugar Bowl, racking up 385 yards passing and six touchdowns in the victory.
Most of those numbers came after suffering an injury due to an illegal tackle. It appeared Fields was grinding through a rib injury but he confirmed during his mid-week press conference he will be playing in the championship final.
As good as the Alabama receivers are, Fields is the best NFL prospect on the field for this game. If he can match his performance against Clemson, the Buckeyes could be in great position to pull off another upset.
“He looked me in the eye and said there’s no way we’re losing this game.”
Ryan Day on what Justin Fields told him after taking a big hit in the Sugar Bowl
Fields finished with six touchdowns and a 99.0 QBR pic.twitter.com/EmVik2aGMg
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 2, 2021
Fields also has the comfort of being able to rely on running back Trey Sermon. The transfer from Oklahoma has had a coming out party in the last three weeks, and suddenly looks like one of the most dynamic players in college football.
Over that three game stretch, Sermon has 636 rushing yards and four touchdowns. His 9.1 yards per carry are particularly impressive when you consider two of the games were against top ranked opponents in Clemson and Northwestern.
How Healthy Are Ohio State and Alabama?
It’s one of the big questions coming in to the game, and unfortunately, there won’t be much of an answer until game day. Ryan Day refused to elaborate on COVID-19 rumors surrounding the program.
Things were reportedly bad enough that the idea of delaying the game was tossed around, but it appears all systems are a go for Monday night. Assuming the team isn’t missing a large group of players, the Buckeyes should be considered relatively healthy heading into the championship game.
Ryan Day said he expects Justin Fields to play in the national title game against Alabama. pic.twitter.com/fHEZmgiXS6
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) January 4, 2021
Alabama will be without center Landon Dickerson, which could be an issue against the Buckeyes defensive front. Dickerson won the Rimington Trophy as the best center in college football but is out for the season. He was missing for the Rose Bowl victory over Notre Dame, so the bright side is the new look offensive line does have some continuity. If Waddle is to play in the final, Dickerson is the main injury of note for the Crimson Tide.
Buckeyes to Cover
Ohio State is listed as a 9-point underdog, and that seems to be a really high spread. The Buckeyes have been at least six-point underdogs three times in the college football playoff era. They won each of those three games by a combined 50 points. It’s tough to know whether Ohio State can beat Alabama like they did back in 2015 on route to the championship, but keeping this game within one score certainly seems likely.
The Pick: Ohio State +9 (-112)
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