When the side and total were released college football’s title tilt, nobody flinched when Alabama was initially made a favorite over Ohio State. What did grab people’s attention was total released by betting sites at 76.5, the largest ever for a championship football game.
Alabama has largely held as a favorite of about -8, however, the college football odds on the total has slid to mostly 75 at last look. Our sources are finding just over 56 percent of the action by bettors and their money is going towards the UNDER. What is the right side to be on?
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
Monday, January 11, 2021 – 08:00 PM EST at Hard Rock Stadium
The Case for the OVER
This seems fairly obvious. Alabama averages 48.2 points a game and its offense is rightly compared to last year’s champion LSU, being all but unstoppable.
Ohio State has played five fewer games, but they have also put up a lot of points, 43.2 PPG to be exact. Both offenses for the most part have had a few missteps and when we say a few, that is accurate.
At the same time, the defenses resemble nothing from the SEC days of a decade or more ago, when it seemed every game was 21-10 or 20-17. While we don’t know where the expression “three yards and cloud of dust” actually came from, in yesteryear, it was used frequently when describing Big Ten games. Those days are in the rearview mirror.
Mac Jones and Justin Fields are elite quarterbacks and they have an array of playmakers that have broken every defense. In today’s football, defense is less about dominating and more about preventing points. Because defenses are spread so thin by schemes, everyone has to play more – assignment football – for fear of giving up big plays.
Football is an offensive game and the rules are tailored that way, which is why the Over is appealing with these two high-scoring clubs.
The Case for the UNDER
So why has Heritage Sports and other online gambling sites lowered the total? A total that high makes bettors uncomfortable. Yes, they can see with their eyes these are two scintillating offenses who can score points in bundles, but it’s still not normal.
The best way to look at this is to consider when the NBA totals first-crossed the 230-point barrier. You were handicapping something you had not seen before and people’s natural inclination is to lean towards elements they understand, which is why they bet favorites.
While the offenses are brilliant, the Crimson Tide and the Buckeyes haven’t recruited defensive players that are only good enough to play at the FCS level. Alabama’s defense held opposing teams to 19 PPG, which is 10.3 points lower than what they averaged on the season. Ohio State was not quite that good, nevertheless, they conceded 22 PPG versus those that allowed 27.8 PPG.
Each offense will do a variety of things to create confusion on the defense. That could quickly change tempo or create “fake” motion to draw opposing players away from where a play is set to go, allowing them to out-flank them.
However, what defensive coordinators understand about today’s football is - disruption - and that can be caused by one player to blow up a play, who then has his teammates there for support. There are players on both teams to make this occur.
Our Pick for the Total in the Championship Game
Given what we have laid out, for college football picks, anytime you have one game that everyone has an opinion on and is heavily scrutinized, the margin for error is tight. How the author of this article sees this playing out in the first half is both teams going up and down the field and scoring regularly, with the defenses almost defenseless. Let’s go with Alabama 24-20.
At halftime the defensive staffs for both teams really go to work and they are willing to not only take risks, but be overly aggressive, especially on first and second down to get their opponent behind the chains. Each team still moves the pigskin, with scoring slowing down.
Ohio State falls behind by double digits and that plays into the hands of the Tide’s defense who garner more success. Alabama stops the Buckeyes one final time with just over two minutes remaining and can get ready to celebrate their 41-30 victory, which ends up being an UNDER.