Happy Thursday! Today we have a loaded betting slate with five NBA games and 25-plus college hoops matchups. For an updated breakdown of Thursday's betting action, be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at noon ET. I'll also be joining Rush Hour with Danny Burke at 7:05 p.m. ET to offer a market update.
In the meantime, let's discuss where the smart money is flowing for the final game of the college football season...
Monday 8 p.m. ET: Ohio State vs Alabama
This is the College Football National Championship game between undefeated powerhouses will be played outdoors at Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins. Ohio State (7-0 SU, 4-3 ATS) enters ranked 3rd overall and just upset 2nd-ranked Clemson 49-28 in the semifinal, winning outright as 7-point dogs. The Buckeyes have outscored their opponents by an average score of 43-21 throughout the season. Now the Buckeyes will face their stiffest test of the year as they face top-ranked Alabama (12-0 SU, 8-4 ATS). The Crimson Tide took down 4th-ranked Notre Dame 31-14 in the semifinal, although Alabama failed to cover as 18.5-point favorites. It marked the second straight game that Alabama failed to cover. In the SEC Championship, Alabama beat Florida 52-46, but didn't cover as 16-point favorites. The Crimson Tide beat their opponents by an average score of 48-20 throughout the season.
This line opened with Alabama listed as a 7-point favorite. The public sees Alabama as an auto-beat and a majority of tickets are laying the points with the Crimson Tide. We also saw some early sharp money hit Alabama -7 early, pushing the line up to -7.5. The line remained at 7.5 until Wednesday, when we saw more Alabama pour in and push the line up to -8. This move coincided with the news that Ohio State was dealing with COVID-19 issues affecting an entire position group. The next move will be telling. If you see this line tumble back down to 7.5, that will indicate some respected Buckeyes money pouring in. If you see it rise higher to -8.5, that will indicate further Alabama support and possibly more COVID issues for Ohio State. Alabama is a popular moneyline bet at -300 while the Buckeyes are + 250. The Buckeyes have value as a contrarian primetime dog in what will be the most heavily bet game of the season. Dogs are 5-1 ATS over the past six National Championships.
We could also be looking at a shootout. The total opened at a sky high 76 but has taken in some respected under money, dropping the line down to 75. Both teams have been profitable to the over this season, with Ohio State 4-2-1 and Alabama 7-5. The weather looks to be ideal for Monday's kickoff, with high 60s, overcast and 5 MPH winds. One wild card to watch here is Alabama star wide receiver Jaylen Waddle. He is nursing an ankle injury and is considered a game-time decision.