Ohio State football opens as underdog against Alabama in national championship game

Joey Kaufman
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State Buckeyes players leave the field following their 49-28 win over the Clemson Tigers in the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Allstate Sugar Bowl in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021.

Ohio State opened as a touchdown underdog to Alabama in the national championship game on Jan. 11.

Sports betting website installed the Crimson Tide as a seven-point favorite, as did other online oddsmakers.

Seeded No. 1 in the College Football Playoff, it defeated Notre Dame 31-14 in the Rose Bowl, which was relocated to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, setting up the matchup with the Buckeyes.

It is the fifth time in the last six years that Alabama has reached the national championship game, winning it all in 2017 and 2015.

Both of the Buckeyes’ previous wins in the national championship game over the last two decades came while they were underdogs.

They were six-point underdogs against Oregon in 2014 in the playoff format’s first season, as well as 12-point underdogs to Miami when they met in the Fiesta Bowl in 2002.

They were four-point underdogs to Louisiana State when they faltered in the Sugar Bowl for the 2007 Bowl Championship Series title game.

In Friday’s semifinal game against Clemson in the Sugar Bowl, Ohio State had been a touchdown underdog before prevailing in a 49-28 win.

It was only the second time it had been an underdog in Ryan Day’s coaching tenure.