College Football Playoff national championship player prop bets: Sermon on the mountaintop

Trey Sermon of the Ohio State Buckeyes
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Ricky Dimon

NCAAF · 1 year ago

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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

For the Ohio State Buckeyes, a season that was almost cancelled before it even started is one win away from ending with a national title. If the Buckeyes get to the top, you can be sure it will have a lot to do with red-hot running back Trey Sermon. Obviously, quarterback Justin Fields has to have a huge game, too, but Fields is banged up following a College Football Playoff semifinal win over Clemson and he is going to need some help from his offensive weapons.

And what could be in store for some of the Alabama Crimson Tide’s big names such as Mac Jones and Najee Harris? Let’s take a look at the best player prop bets for Monday’s CFP National Championship.

Justin Fields Under 309.5 passing yards (-125)

Fields was awesome in the Sugar Bowl, torching Clemson for 385 passing yards and six touchdowns. Making his performance all the more incredible is that Fields got absolutely blown up in the ribs by Tigers linebacker James Skalski in the second quarter (Skalski was ejected for targeting). The Kennesaw, Ga. native was clearly less than 100 percent the rest of the way and it’s hard to see him being at full strength just 10 days later. Either way, Ohio State has every reason to run its offense through Sermon. After all, Alabama’s offense is the best in the nation by a country mile and the Buckeyes’ best defense will be keeping the Crimson Tide off the field by controlling the clock. For multiple reasons, I see Fields being held in check through the air—much unlike the case against Clemson.

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields celebrates with teammates after throwing touchdown during win over Rutgers

Mac Jones Under 3.5 passing touchdowns (+110)

As good as Jones is and as dynamic as Alabama’s passing attack can be, I’m just not willing to bet on a four-touchdown performance. The senior signal-caller has been kept to two touchdown passes or fewer on five occasions this season—including zero twice. Now he faces a confident Ohio State defense that has held opponents to 12, 10, and 28 points in its last three outings (28 against presumptive No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence and Clemson). The Buckeyes have surrendered just two TDs through the air in their last three games. Although I’m not taking this specifically because of the odds, getting it at plus money makes it an even more intriguing play.

Dec 19, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Mac Jones (10) throws a pass against Florida Gators defensive lineman Tedarrell Slaton (56) during the first half in the SEC Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Chris Olave Over 6.5 receptions (-125)

Although I don’t see Fields going completely crazy like he did in the semis, he will have to throw the ball a fair amount. The Buckeyes will likely run a whole bunch of quick stuff to keep their quarterback upright and out of harm’s way. That will result in plenty of attempts and completions, albeit not necessarily a boatload of yards. Olave has been Fields’ favorite target basically the whole season and especially over the past three games (24 receptions during this stretch).

Trey Sermon to rush for more yards than Najee Harris (+140)

As mentioned above, Sermon is likely in line for a massive workload. And it’s not just because Ohio State wants to keep the clock moving. Sermon has been absolutely on fire throughout the proverbial postseason. The Marietta, Ga. native racked up a ridiculous 331 yards on 29 carries in the Big Ten Championship against Northwestern. He then toted the rock 31 times in the Sugar Bowl and parlayed those into 193 yards. Harris is awesome, to be sure, but the Tide have a whole host of weapons (such as Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith) and they can spread the wealth to a greater extent than the Buckeyes.

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