After both teams dealt out woodshed treatment in the College Football Playoff semifinals, Alabama and Ohio State are booked to square off in the CFP finals on Jan. 11 in Miami.
As of early this evening (1/2/21), most betting shops had Alabama (12-0 straight up, 8-4 against the spread) installed as an eight-point favorite with a total of 76. The Buckeyes were +250 on the money line.
For first-half wagers, a few spots had the Crimson Tide installed as a five-point ‘chalk’ with a total of 38.
The 76-point total is the highest in the history of BCS Championship Games/CFP finals. The previous high in the CFP finals was in 2014, when Ohio St. spanked Oregon 42-20 and the 62 combined points went ‘under’ the 72.5-point tally.
The highest total in a BCS Championship Game was 73 points for Auburn’s 22-19 win over Oregon on in January of 2011.
Junior quarterback Mac Jones completed 25-of-30 passes for 297 yards and four touchdowns without an interception in Saturday’s 31-14 win over Notre Dame. Alabama covered the number for first-quarter bets (-7) and first -half wagers (-12), but the Fighting Irish got a one-yard TD run from senior QB Ian Book to post a backdoor cover as a 19-point underdog.
Brian Kelly was about to punt the ball from around his own 40 on a fourth-and-eight play. However, he opted to take a timeout and changed his mind. Notre Dame converted on fourth down and its drive was aided by a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty called on Nick Saban.
The 45 combined points dropped ‘under’ the 65-point total.
Ohio St. (7-0 SU, 4-3 ATS) trailed Clemson 7-0 and 14-7 in the first quarter, but it responded with 28 unanswered points to take a 35-14 advantage into intermission. Clemson cut the lead to 35-21, but the Buckeyes promptly went back ahead 42-21, led 49-21 early in the fourth quarter and coasted to a 49-28 victory as seven-point underdogs. They hooked up money-line supporters with a payout in the +230 neighborhood.
Justin Fields played the game of his life, getting redemption after throwing a pair of interceptions in last year’s 29-23 CFB semifinal loss to the Tigers. Despite taking a big hit from Clemson senior LB James Skalski that got him ejected for targeting, Fields played through the pain to connect on 22-of-28 throws for 385 yards and six TDs compared to one interception.
Senior RB Trey Sermon ran for 193 yards and one TD on 31 carries for the Buckeyes, who beat Alabama 42-35 as 7.5-point underdogs in the 2014 CFP semifinals.
This will be Alabama’s second single-digit ‘chalk’ situation of the year. The Crimson Tide beat Georgia 41-24 as a six-point home favorite back in October.