NCAAF National Championship 2021 Picks

Quinn Allen
By , Updated on: Sep 4, 2022 08:00 PM
NCAAF National Championship 2021 Picks

After a college football season rife with twist and turns, plus the usual drama ahead of the playoff selections, we have finally made it to the National Championship game. And if the early indicators are a sign of what's to come, we're in for a doozy. Naturally, we have the NCAAF National Championship picks to pair with this anticipation.

First, though, here's a look at the latest college football betting odds on the upcoming game, courtesy of Bovada and BetOnline:

Ohio State+225+230

These lines will move between now and opening kickoff, so be sure to confirm them before deciding on any wagers. However, given this particular matchup, we don't expect them to shift all that much unless there's a surprise injury or absence—which is all the more reason to get in on the National Championship picks we're making now.

2021 College Football National Championship Breakdown

Let's understand how these teams reached the National Championship.

The Case for Ohio State

A lot of people are comparing this Ohio State-Alabama matchup to the one that took place in 2014. The Buckeyes in particular are drawing a lot of similarities to the team that pulled off the upset back then, in no small part because they sort of just burst onto the scene.

This year's squad arrives in a similar vein. It's not that they weren't considered spectacular; they made the playoff after all. But there were questions about whether their defense could hold up.

Ohio State dispelled all the notions about their big-game potential in a rousing 49-28 route of Clemson in the Sugar Bowl. Limiting an offense piloted by Trevor Lawrence, the projected No. 1 pick in this year's NFL draft, to under 30 points is no joke. The Buckeyes came up with plenty of big stops and even picked him off once.

Meanwhile, they partnered this defensive stand with an absolute offensive detonation. Quarterback Justin Fields threw for nearly 400 yards and six touchdowns while doing an expert job of controlling the pace when Ohio State jumped out in front.

It will take a similar performance to upend Alabama, who remains the heavy favorite for a reason.

The Case for Alabama

Truthfully, the case for Alabama writes itself. They're Alabama! Roll Tide, and what not. 

Comparisons to the 2014 showdown between the Buckeyes and Crimson Tide begin to fall apart when looking at the latter. The 2020 Alabama squad is waaay better than the team they fielded six years ago. They are second in points scored per game, and their perfect 12-0 record was compiled while winning matchups by an average of nearly 30 points. You read that correctly.

Alabama is dangerous. Quarterback Mac Jones is working off a season in which he threw for over 4,000 yards and 35 touchdowns and posted a QB rating north of 200. That is absolutely ridiculous.

Equally absurd: Alabama is still averaging nearly 200 yards on the ground. Take away one of their strengths, and they'll pummel you with another. It's a wonder, in fact, that they aren't favored by a greater margin.

National Championship Prediction

By this point, you can probably tell which way we're leaning: heavily in Alabama's direction.

In all fairness to Ohio State, they have the firepower to survive a shootout. Fields has the superior arm compared to Jones, and the Buckeyes will run it down your throat if all else fails. They averaged nearly 300 yards on the ground per game this past season while facing some of the stingiest frontline defenses.

Still, Ohio State's own defense presents cause for concern. They are strongest on the ground, where they allow under 90 yards per game, but they're vulnerable in the secondary. Jones just threw for nearly 300 yards and four touchdowns in the Rose Bowl—and that was light work. He is surgical with how he operates, adept at both spreading the ball around and authoring big plays both inside and outside the pocket.

We wouldn't even recommend picking the Buckeyes against the spread right now. Both Bovada and BetOnline have them at +7.5 against a -110 return. It feels like Alabama is going to take this one by more than that.

OSB Prediction: Alabama (-275), Alabama -7 (-110)

Alabama To beat Ohio State
Alabama To cover the spread of-7

Best National Championship Prop Bets

After poking around some of the markets at Bovada, these are our favorite prop wagers to invest in. However, if you prefer to wait, they sometimes expand options closer to opening kickoff.

Any Team to Score 40-Plus Points

  • Yes (-222)
  • No (+163)

You can tell oddsmakers are expecting this to be an offensive affair. We're inclined to agree with them.

Both Alabama and Ohio State rank in the top seven of points scored per game in the country. What's more, their defenses are both most vulnerable in the secondary. We wouldn't be shocked if they each clear 35 points—and one should almost certainly eclipse 40.

OSB Prediction: Yes (-222)

Yes Any team to score 40-Plus Points

Defensive or Special Teams Touchdown Scored

  • Yes (+150)
  • No (-204)

This one's tough. Ultimately, though, neither Alabama nor Ohio State forces turnovers in particularly high volume. Both are also averaging just one interception, and most defensive touchdowns are scored off those.

To top things off, the Alabama and Ohio State offenses are experts at protecting possession. They're not going to make a ton of mistakes, which means there should be fewer miscues for the defenses to capitalize on.

OSB Prediction: No (-204)

No Defensive or Special Teams Touchdown Scored

First Score of the Game is a Touchdown

  • Yes (-526)
  • No (+315)

We like going for the higher payout here.

Sure, Alabama and Ohio State are touchdown machines. The two sides combined for under 20 field goals between them, with Ohio State converting just seven all year. 

But championship games have a way of slowing teams down in the early going. Players are still settling in during the first few possessions. There's no real science behind this, but it feels like there's a better-than-average chance the first score is something other than a touchdown.

OSB Prediction: No (+315) 

No First score will not be a touchdown

Check out the below list of the best online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all of your college football betting:

Meet the author

Quinn Allen

Quinn Allen leverages his broadcast journalism degree and passion for sports in his betting previews and analysis. Based in Kelowna, Canada, he has emerged as an expert voice with picks featured on OSB, MTS, SBD, and as a ClutchPoints editor. With a lifelong fandom of...

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