NCAA football betting: As point spread grows, MGM hoping for Ohio State upset vs. Alabama

Sam Cooper
·3 min read

As we approach Monday night’s College Football Playoff national championship game between Alabama and Ohio State, the point spread has continued to climb.

The spread at BetMGM opened with top-ranked Alabama as a seven-point favorite. In the days since, the spread has climbed to 8.5 in the hours leading up to the Crimson Tide’s showdown with Ohio State.

As of late Monday morning, Alabama had attracted 55.3% of the bets on the game with 59.7% of the money also landing on the Alabama side.

Alabama is 12-0 and coming off a 31-14 win over Notre Dame in the CFP semifinal last Friday. Alabama features a high-powered offense led by Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith, who caught seven passes for 130 yards and three touchdowns against the Irish.

Alabama is 8-4 against the spread in 2020, but has failed to cover in its last two games. Alabama was a 19.5-point favorite against Notre Dame, but the Irish covered the spread by scoring a touchdown in the final minute.

Ohio State, the CFP’s No. 3 seed, upset No. 2 Clemson and did so in emphatic fashion, winning 49-28 behind a monster performance from quarterback Justin Fields. The Buckeyes, now just 7-0 thanks to the Big Ten’s late start in 2020, were 7.5-point underdogs against Clemson and are looking to pull off another upset.

BetMGM is rooting for Ohio State for the second straight week. The Buckeyes are 4-3 against the spread this season.

“We’re seeing plenty of action on Alabama for the national championship game. BetMGM has adjusted the Crimson Tide’s line from -7 to -8.5. The best outcome for the book would be for Ohio State to pull off an upset,” said Jason Scott the VP of Trading for BetMGM.

Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) gains yardage after a catch in the first half of the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game against Notre Dame in Arlington, Texas, Friday, Jan. 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman)
Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) gains yardage after a catch in the first half of the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game against Notre Dame in Arlington, Texas, Friday, Jan. 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman)

Most early money was on Alabama

Much of the early action on this game at BetMGM came on Alabama. MGM said last Tuesday that Alabama, then favored by 7.5 points, had received 74.2% of the bets and 83.5% of the money.

At the time, Scott said that MGM had seen some sharp bettors side with Alabama when it opened up as a favorite of just a touchdown.

The public jumped on Alabama early as well.

As the numbers from BetMGM indicate, Ohio State has received plenty of backing in the six days since.

What about the total?

The showing from the Ohio State offense against Clemson, coupled with Alabama’s 48.2 points per game, has resulted in a very high total for the title game. The total opened up at a whopping 76.5 but has dipped down to 74.5 as of Monday morning.

At BetMGM, most of the bets (61.4%) and money (58.2%) have come in on the under.

Both teams’ games have swayed more to the over this season. The over is 7-5 in Alabama games and 4-2-1 in Ohio State games. The Alabama-Notre Dame game fell well below the total while the Ohio State-Clemson went over the total.

Explore Alabama and Ohio State’s CFB title trophies in augmented reality: