The College Football Playoff National Championship Game has a Super Bowl-esque feel to it in the sports betting industry. With so many different ways of approaching the game line, handicappers may find more value in betting some of the player props and team props listed at the sportsbooks. For sake of consistency, we’ll be taking a look at Bovada.lv’s National Championship Game lines, but other books will have these numbers. Shop around for the best prices and the best lines to make money.
Here are some of our favorite prop bets for Monday’s big game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Oregon Ducks:
Marcus Mariota (ORE) Total Completions: Over 22.5
Marcus Mariota threw 17 of his 27 first half attempts within five yards of the line of scrimmage or behind the line of scrimmage. These are very high percentage throws. The Buckeyes defense will give Mariota the completion in order to limit the big plays in case of a double move or a missed tackle.
Royce Freeman (ORE) Total Rushing Yards: Under 90.5
This looks like a somewhat risky play because Freeman had exceeded 90.5 yards in each of his previous eight games before rushing for only 44 yards against Florida State. Call it a hunch, but Oregon will throw the ball quite a bit in this game and Thomas Tyner will be the primary running back. Freeman took advantage of Tyner’s injury to rack up some impressive yardage totals, but Tyner was the primary option against Florida State and that should be the case here.
Cardale Jones (OSU) Total Rushing Yards: Under 49.5
When asked at halftime of the Alabama game if the gameplan included so much running from Cardale Jones, Urban Meyer said no. Even with 17 carries, including some impressive runs, Jones ran for only 43 yards. The Oregon defensive backs should be an easier matchup for the Buckeyes wide receivers and that should allow Jones to stay in the pocket and throw. There could be more Jalin Marshall in this game and Dontre Wilson should be able to play, which gives the Buckeyes other options than Jones running. This is one of the strongest leans on the prop bet card.
Will there be a score in the first 4:30 of the game: No
This game should become a track meet and big plays will happen. However, Cardale Jones is making his third career start and Marcus Mariota will be in the spotlight for the biggest game of his career. That could lead to a bit of a sluggish start as both teams try to avoid a catastrophic mistake to fall behind early. It will pick up quickly, but it could be a rather conservative gameplan early on as the two teams feel each other out.
Longest successful field goal of game: Under 37.5 yards
Ohio State kicker Sean Nuernberger is 5-for-10 from 40+ with no attempts from 30-39 on the season. Oregon kickers have attempted just 19 field goals this season. Aidan Schneider’s long on the season is 42. It’s tough to see these teams settling for three when they’re in a position to get six because trading field goals for touchdowns isn’t going to work. Not to mention, both of these teams are good on third down.
First timeout of the game: Ohio State
Sophomore quarterback making his third career start. This is self-explanatory. The Buckeyes took a timeout on their first possession against Alabama. With their tempo, timeouts should be less critical inside of a two-minute drill type situation, so Meyer will instruct his young quarterback that using timeouts is not a concern.
Total TD passes + interceptions for Cardale Jones: Over 2.5
If the game approaches this total, Cardale Jones is going to have a big hand in it and not just from an offensive standpoint. He’s got a huge arm, but the Oregon disguises coverages fairly well and that could lead to a turnover or two. His skill set is undeniable, however, and the Buckeyes wide receivers should be able to get open in this game. Ezekiel Elliott will be the focus of the offense, but Cardale Jones is a special player in his own right and there has to be a bigger portion of the playbook that hasn’t been utilized with Jones yet because of the fact that he didn’t start the season.
Make sure to check out your sportsbook(s) and see what other props they may offer and compare prices because getting the best line or the best price is critically important to making money.