The No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide decimated opponents on its way to Monday’s national championship game matchup with the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes. Through 12 games, the Tide won by an average margin of 29.2 points and enter the title bout as a healthy nine-point favorite.
Offensively, Bama’s highly explosive and efficient unit is tops in the land per SP+ and has topped 40 points in 10 contests this season. Averaging 7.9 yards per play, the Tide offense of course boasts an embarrassment of riches that includes Heisman trophy winner Devonta Smith, quarterback Mac Jones and running back Najee Harris. Potentially returning to the mix on Monday is All-SEC receiver Jaylen Waddle, who is a game-time decision after missing most of the 2020 campaign due to an ankle injury.
Led by SEC Defensive Player of the Year Patrick Surtain II, the Tide’s defense hasn’t been as dominant as their units of years’ past, but has been stellar enough to warrant a No. 5 ranking in SP+. Games against Ole Miss and Florida saw them give up 48 and 46 points, respectively, but they’ve been stout otherwise. They’ve held opposing QB’s to under 65 percent passing eight times, yielded just 3.2 yards per carry to opposing rushers and have 22 takeaways to resume.
The path to Alabama covering the spread in the national championship game is basically staying the course with what they’ve done throughout the regular season. If they keep their foot on the gas offensively even with a lead, make things uncomfortable for an injured Justin Fields and force a few turnovers, then a nine-point cover is well within range for the Tide.