It is a marquee matchup in the National Championship Game, as the Ohio State Buckeyes take on the Alabama Crimson Tide. In the past 100 years, only Michigan has won more games than the Buckeyes and Crimson Tide. Ohio State has won 931 games, while Alabama has won 928. Ohio State has 8 national titles, while Alabama has 15. This will be just the fifth all-time meeting between the teams. Both teams are led by potent offenses, as the Buckeyes have Josh Fields, while Alabama has the trio of DeVonta Smith, Mac Jones and Najee Harris. Let’s look at the game and college football picks.
College Football National Championship Game
When: Monday, January 11, 2020, 8:00 p.m. ET
Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
College Football Odds at BookMaker.eu
Ohio State Buckeyes +8
Alabama Crimson Tide -8
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Alabama Crimson Tide Wagering Analysis
The line on this game opened with Alabama a 7-point favorite and it has been going higher. When this matchup was first determined I thought the Crimson Tide would be listed as a 10-point favorite and with another week to go before the big game we may get to that number. The public is going to take the favorite, so the question becomes whether the wise guys will back the Buckeyes before all is said and done. It may not happen, as Alabama looks like an offensive machine. The total opened at 76 and has been dropping. It is definitely surprising that the number has dropped, as the public almost always bets marquee games over the total and there is no reason to think this game is going to be low scoring. I expect the number to go back up before game time.
There is no question that the focus in this game will be the matchup between Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith vs. Ohio State cornerback Shaun Wade. Smith is the best wide receiver to come out of college in a long time and he would be a star in the NFL right now; he is that good. Wade is ranked as the fourth-best cornerback prospect in the upcoming NFL Draft, so he is good, but Smith is great. If Ohio State is to have any chance in this game, they will have to find a way to put pressure on quarterback Mac Jones because Smith is going to get loose if Jones has time to find him. The Ohio State secondary did okay against Clemson, but the Tigers were thin at receiver and this is a huge step up for the Buckeyes. Ohio State’s pass defense was last in the Big Ten for much of the season so if they don’t get pressure on Jones this game is over. Keep in mind that Jones completed 75.6% of his attempts with 32 touchdowns and four interceptions this season.
This game really does come down to whether or not Ohio State can get to Jones. The Buckeyes have a very good defensive tackle in Haskell Garrett, but he is going up against a solid center in Chris Owens. Garrett had 17 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 2 sacks and 1 interception in the regular season. He was the highest-graded defensive lineman in the country. The Crimson Tide lost starter Landon Dickerson who tore his ACL against Florida in the SEC title game, so perhaps Garrett can be the game-changer that Ohio State needs.
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Alabama Crimson Tide Against the Spread
Ohio State comes into this game at 7-0 SU and 4-3 ATS, while Alabama is 12-0 SU and 8-4 ATS. Ohio State went over the total three times, under three times, with one push, while Alabama went over the total seven times and under five times. The Buckeyes are 19-7 ATS in their last 26 games as an underdog. The Crimson Tide are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games as a favorite. The Crimson Tide are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 Bowl Championship games The Over is 4-1-1 in the Buckeyes last 6 games overall. The Over is 22-9-2 in the Crimson Tide’s last 33 neutral site games as a favorite.
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Alabama Crimson Tide Free Pick
I was not impressed with Steve Sarkisian’s play calling against Notre Dame. The Crimson Tide should have won that game by 40 points, but Sarkisian was a block head and rammed the ball into the line far too often instead of throwing it every down. Texas went out and hired Sarkisian as their head coach, so who knows where his head will be at for this game. There is no question that Alabama has the offensive talent to blow away Ohio State, but I am a little leery of laying the points because I don’t trust Sarkisian to call a good game. It may not matter, as Alabama is that talented, but there is reason for concern. I still lean toward Alabama, but I think the better play is the total. I was really surprised that Alabama and Notre Dame went under and I would be shocked if we don’t see a very high scoring game between the Buckeyes and Crimson Tide. I will go over the total in the National Championship Game.
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