Opening Lines Released for CFP Title Game Between Bama and Ohio State
After two blowouts in the semifinals on New Year’s Day, the College Football Playoff National Championship matchup is set. #1 Alabama routed #4 Notre Dame 31-14, with Heisman Trophy finalists Mac Jones and Devonta Smith showing up and showing out as the Crimson Tide booked their fifth CFP title game appearance. In the other semifinal, #2 Clemson got off to a fast start, but it was all Ohio State from there as the #3 Buckeyes definitively proved that they deserved to be there in a 49-28 romp.
The last time that Alabama and Ohio State met was in the first College Football Playoff, in a 2015 Sugar Bowl semifinal showdown. In that game, Alabama led 21-6 in the second quarter but led by third-string quarterback Cardale Jones and Ezekiel Elliott, the Buckeyes scored 28 unanswered points on the way to a 42-35 win. For the Buckeyes, this will be their first appearance in the CFP title game since they followed up their win over the Tide by beating 2014 Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota and Oregon for the title.
Odds for Alabama vs Ohio State
Opening lines have already been released for the January 11 title tilt at Hard Rock Stadium in south Florida. At Bovada, Alabama has opened as an 8.5 point favorite over Ohio State. The moneyline sees Alabama at -320 and Ohio State at +260, while the total is set at 75.5 (O -110, U -110).
This makes the 11th time in 11 College Football Playoff games that Alabama has been favored, including all five appearances in the title game. On the other side, this is the fourth time in five CFP games that Ohio State has been the underdog. Their 2016 Fiesta Bowl semifinal against Clemson (a 31-0 loss) the only time they were favored.
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Lines will continue to be added as it gets closer to game day, but there are several other lines of interest already available beyond the game spread, moneyline, and total. When it comes to team totals, Alabama’s team total is set at 38.5 (O -150, U +115), while Ohio State’s team total is set at 33.5 (O -110, U -120). The two teams are among the highest-scoring teams in the FBS, with the Crimson Tide averaging 48.2 points per game and the Buckeyes averaging 43.4 points per game.
There are also lines available for the first quarter and the first half, including team totals for each. Alabama is favored by 4.5 points for the first half, with their moneyline set at -260 and their team total set at 20.5 (O -150, U +115). Ohio State’s first-half moneyline is set at +195, while their first-half team total is set at 16.5 (O -125, U -105). The overall total for the first half is set at 37.5 (O -120, U +100). Alabama has scored at least 21 points in the first half in 11 of 12 games this season. The only game that they did not was against Georgia on October 17, when they trailed 24-20 at halftime before rallying for a 41-24 win. Meanwhile, Ohio State has scored at least 17 points in six of their seven games, with the Big Ten title game against Northwestern, which they trailed 10-6 at halftime, the only game this season in which they were held below at least 17 first-half points.
For the first quarter, Alabama is favored by a half-point, with their moneyline at -200 and their team total at 9.5. Ohio State +0.5 is available at +105 odds, while their moneyline is +155, and their team total is 6.5 (O -145, U +110). Alabama has scored at least 10 first-quarter points in eight games this season, while Ohio State has scored at least seven first-quarter points in every game except for the Big Ten title game, in which they had only a field goal in the first quarter.
Given the high-scoring exploits of the two title game participants, the over for the game may get a lot of attention. However, only one of the previous six championship games has seen the game total finish over 75.5, when Alabama held off Clemson 45-40 to take home the title five years ago in Glendale, Arizona. Overall, only seven of the 20 College Football Playoff semifinal and championship games in its’ seven-season history have had totals hit over 75.5.
See Bovada for updated lines and odds.