Updated January 2, 2021 - 4:02 pm
Sharp action on Alabama has moved the Crimson Tide to consensus 8-point favorites over Ohio State in the College Football Playoff national title game after the line opened at 7 on Friday night.
“The professionals laid 7,” William Hill sportsbook director Nick Bogdanovich said.
Alabama was -11 over Ohio State on the look-ahead line at William Hill on a potential championship matchup. But the book lowered the spread by four points after the Buckeyes’ 49-28 blowout win over Clemson on Friday night in the CFP semifinals.
“Ohio State just put (639) yards on Clemson,” Bogdanovich said of the adjustment. “It’s that simple.”
The Westgate opened the line at 7½ for the Jan. 11 game in Miami. It was bet down to 7 before going back up to 7½ on Friday night and then to 8 on Saturday.
Westgate vice president of risk Ed Salmons said sharps bet Alabama -7 in case the injury Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields suffered against Clemson was more serious than it appeared.
“I think some people laid 7 thinking if he’s hurt or limited, they’ve got a really good bet,” he said.
The Tide beat Notre Dame 31-14 in Friday’s first semifinal but didn’t cover the 19½-point spread, the largest in CFP history.
The consensus total for Alabama-Ohio State is 76, a record high for a CFP title game.
The total opened at 76½ at the Westgate before sharp action on the under caused it to dip to 75½.
“Sharps always bet the big totals under. Always,” Salmons said. “We knew when we put up a big number they would bet it under. But the public is going to overwhelm them and bet the over.”
Alabama is -300 on the money line and Ohio State +250 at William Hill, which expects bettors to back the Crimson Tide against the spread, the Buckeyes on the money line and the over.
“I think we’ll need the exact same thing as pretty much any big game,” Bogdanovich said. “The favorite not to cover, the favorite to win the game and to go under. It’s going to be fun to book.”