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CFP National Championship Betting Preview: Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Alabama Crimson Tide

The 2020 College Football season reaches its conclusion as the Alabama Crimson Tide and Ohio State Buckeyes square off in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T. Monday's kickoff is at 8:00 P.M. Eastern.

This will mark the fifth all-time meeting between these two blue-blood programs and a rematch of the first-ever CFP semifinal that Ohio State won, 42-35, in the 2015 Sugar Bowl.

Ohio State Outlook

That victory over the Tide in 2015 propelled them to the title game where they soundly defeated Oregon to capture their last National Championship. Ohio State is back in the championship this year thanks to a convincing win over Clemson in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day.

Justin Fields threw for 385 yards and six touchdowns, while Trey Sermon rushed for 193 yards and a score in the win over the Tigers. Fields left the game briefly after suffering an injury to his torso. However, according to his head coach, Ryan Day, he is expected to play in the National Championship.

In 2015, the Buckeyes relied on their ground game in the win over Alabama, with Ezekiel Elliott rushing for 230 yards and two touchdowns. If Fields isn’t 100%, the Buckeyes could lean on Sermon, who has rushed for 636 yards over his last three games.

Alabama Outlook

The Tide are back in the title game for the fifth time since 2015, looking for their first championship since 2018. Alabama got here by way of a 17-point win over Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl to kick off the new year, led by Mac Jones’ four touchdown passes, three of which went to DeVonta Smith.

By the time this game is played, one of those two will likely be the Heisman Trophy winner (this article was published before the announcement), both of whom are heavier favorites than the other finalists, Trevor Lawrence and Kyle Trask. Running back Najee Harris finished fifth in the Heisman balloting, marking just the second time in history that one school has produced three of the top five finalists. Harris went for 125 yards in the Rose Bowl, giving him 494 over his last four games.

Betting Line and Pick

Alabama is favored by 7.5 with an over/under of 75.5 in the CFP National Championship. The Tide failed to cover against Notre Dame, closing as a 19.5-point favorite, while Ohio State, of course, covered easily against Clemson, winning outright as a touchdown underdog.

This game, and the championship, should come down to two things, one for each side. Can Alabama stifle Sermon and Ohio State’s run game? Can Shaun Wade shut down/contain DeVonta Smith? Whoever wins that matchup should win the game.

If neither is contained, we’ll have a shootout, and if that’s the case, there’s no stopping the machine that is Alabama’s offense. We’ll take the points in what should be a very entertaining game, but Nick Saban and company should be holding the trophy at the end of the night.

Betting Pick: Ohio State Buckeyes (+7.5).

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