CFP National Championship Prop Picks: The 4 Ohio State Players to Bet vs. Alabama
Credit: Getty Images. Pictured, from left: Jeremy Ruckert (88) and Trey Sermon (8).
Ohio State vs. Alabama Odds
Alabama’s offense might be the one people have talked about all season, but what Ohio State did to Clemson certainly didn’t go unnoticed.
Now, the Buckeyes have a chance to pile on against what many considered to be the best team in college football all season.
Running back Trey Sermon went through a metamorphosis once Ohio State’s five-game regular season concluded, as he collected just nine avoided tackles and 175 yards after contact in that early span.
In the past two games against Northwestern and Clemson — the best defenses he’s faced all season — the Ohio State running back posted 293 yards after contact and 24 missed tackles.
Sermon’s biggest success in rushing direction has come straight over the left guard this season, as he’s averaged 10.9 yards after contact on 13 attempts.
Although offensive left guard Harry Miller is expected to miss the national title game with a positive COVID-19 result, sophomore Matthew Jones posted one of the highest run-blocking grades of the Sugar Bowl.
There’s no doubt the point of attack for Day in the passing game will be directly at Alabama linebackers Christian Harris and Dylan Moses through crossing routes and screens.
Of the 16 defensive players who have taken snaps in at least 11 games for the Tide, Harris and Moses grade as two of the bottom-six defenders in coverage.
Opposing quarterbacks have an NFL rating of 120 on targets to Harris, while Moses has allowed an average of 10.1 yards after the catch. Moses and Harris were targeted 11 times by Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl, allowing 75 yards and an Ian Book touchdown.
Specific bet recommendations for each player come via the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. The player props market moves notoriously quickly, so always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.
Running Back Trey Sermon
Ohio State should have plenty of success in Sermon rushing attempts and any targets crossing the middle on passing downs.
Sermon was virtually nonexistent to Fields in the passing game throughout the regular season. The Oklahoma transfer saw just five targets through five regular-season games, but that all changed against Northwestern and Clemson.
Sermon has been targeted 10 times over the past two games. The weakness of the Alabama defense is the linebacker unit, an area Kyren Williams and Book exposed with the screen pass.
Oddsmakers may look at Sermon’s totals from the year and not think twice about posting a low number of receptions and yards, but Sermon receptions over 2 and Sermon receiving yards over 20 certainly hold value when Day schemes to attack the middle of the Alabama defense.
Westgate has Sermon’s receiving yards number at 20.5 as of writing, and I would play it up to 37.
Player Prop Picks: Over 2 receptions | Over 28.5 receiving yards
Wide Receiver Garrett Wilson
In the passing game, the Crimson Tide field some of the best corners in the nation with Patrick Surtain II, Josh Jobe and Malachi Moore patrolling the outside and slot receivers.
The group shines in the area of breaking up passes. With 69 passes defended, Alabama averaged 5.75 per game, led by the cornerback trio.
Fields’ most targeted area of the field is right outside receiver, but to beat this Alabama defense, a look at the slot routes over the middle may produce a higher Success Rate.
Wilson lines up in the left slot, which will draw direct attention from Moore. The Crimson Tide freshman is one of the highest-graded slot coverage defenders in all of FBS, per Pro Football Focus. Garrett Wilson under total receiving yards and Wilson under 1 touchdown will be added to a number of props that mainly feature the over.
Player Prop Picks: Under 77.5 receiving yards | Under 1 touchdown
Tight Ends Jeremy Ruckert & Luke Farrell
If there’s a player to target in props, it’s tight end Jeremy Ruckert. He returned to action in the Sugar Bowl with four targets and two touchdowns. Prior to that game, Ruckert had not seen a target since Nov. 7 against Rutgers.
Similar to Alabama, Day has called for an increase in the usage of 12 personnel. After running a two-tight set in just 21% of plays during 2019, the Buckeyes have gone 12 in 33% of offensive play calls this season.
Farrell and Ruckert hauled in the second and third touchdowns, respectively, against Clemson. Look for odds on both Luke Farrell and Jeremy Ruckert to score the first touchdown at 30-1 or better.
If team-specific props are offered, betting Farrell or Ruckert to score Ohio State’s first touchdown 15-1 or better would be a good addition to the portfolio. Sermon is certainly going to get the first crack in the red zone, but second and third downs may belong to the play-action pass for both tight ends.
Luke Farrell & Jeremy Ruckert Prop Picks: First Touchdown +3000 | First Ohio State Touchdown +1500
My Full Betting Card of Ohio State Player Props:
- Trey Sermon: Over 2 receptions (up to 2.5) | Over 20 receiving yards (up to 36)
- Garrett Wilson: Under 77.5 receiving yards | Under 1 Touchdown
- Luke Farrell: First Touchdown +3000 | First Ohio State Touchdown +1500
- Jeremy Ruckert: First Touchdown +3000 | First Ohio State Touchdown +1500