College football betting got a nice boost to end a COVID-clouded season, as bettors piled money – likely in record numbers – on Monday night's College Football Playoff championship game. Alabama put on a scintillating performance in a 52-24 pasting of Ohio State to claim the national title.
Sportsbooks and bettors alike had plenty on the line in all the College Football Playoff betting markets, be it the point spread, the total, prop bets, futures and some wild moneyline wagering just before kickoff. Covers breaks down how the books did to CFP championship game odds.
BetMGM was seeing pretty even action, particularly at its Vegas operations, heading up to kickoff Monday night. Ticket count was close, with a lot of tickets on both teams, and BetMGM's Scott Shelton said money was close as well.
"But right at post time, we took a big bet on Ohio State +9," Shelton said. "So we won good on the spread."
However, a few miles down Las Vegas Boulevard at South Point sportsbook, it was a different story on the spread.
"We got beat up pretty good," South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews said.
Alabama opened -7 at South Point and ultimately got to -9 a couple of hours before kickoff. The Crimson Tide then piled up 35 first-half points and cruised to the win and cover from there.
By halftime, with Alabama up 35-17, it very much looked like Over bettors were in for an easy night. As it turned out, the two teams did beat the closing number – barely. The 52-24 final just did eclipse 75, though the total opened 76.5 or 76 at several spots back on New Year's Day.
"It was a nonfactor," Shelton said of the decision on the total at BetMGM Nevada, where the number opened 76, bottomed out at 73 Monday afternoon and rose to 75.5 by kickoff. "Good two-way action."
On straight bets, William Hill US actually needed the Over, as tickets and money were heavier to the Under. WillHill opened the total at 76 but was only there for two days before ticking to 75.5 on the way to 74.5, before closing at 75 Monday evening. So William Hill retained the Under money on the bulk of straight bets.
This was where the big money and big decisions were on Monday night. Most of that money came in late, in the form of two massive wagers: $500,000 on Ohio State moneyline +260 at BetMGM less than two hours before kickoff, followed an hour later by a $515,000 Ohio State moneyline +270 play at a William Hill US book in Vegas.
"We got wacked first half, wacked second half, won a little to the game," Bogdanovich said, alluding primarily to the book's favorable decision on the massive Ohio State moneyline play.
The moneyline proved huge for BetMGM.
"We did really good. That was the whole day for us, just Alabama winning," Shelton said.
The moneyline was good to South Point, too, but with a caveat.
"A lot of moneyline play on Ohio State, but not enough to offset Alabama futures bets," Andrews said. More on that below.
Most books were still sorting through all the prop bets late Monday night, but Shelton pointed to more success on the oddsmakers' side of the counter at BetMGM Nevada.
"We did really good on first player to score," Shelton said of Alabama running back Najee Harris' touchdown midway through the first quarter. Bettors were much more on Heisman Trophy-winning Alabama wideout DeVonta Smith, who didn't score first, but ultimately had a massive first half, with 12 catches for 215 yards and three touchdowns.
"All in all on the props, we did very good," Shelton said.
CFP Futures Odds
This was about the only losing outcome for BetMGM Nevada, and it was a small one at that – and one the book actually wanted to lose on. While Ohio State winning the title would've been a solid win for BetMGM's futures book, it would've been far more problematic to lose all the Buckeyes moneyline cash, most notably that $500,000 play.
"We had a pretty solid night from top to bottom," Shelton said.
Meanwhile at South Point, back on Dec. 31, a day before the CFP semifinals, a bettor put $130,000 on Alabama -185 to win the championship. That represented a payout of $70,270.25, and Andrews indicated there were some other noteworthy futures plays on Alabama that cashed Monday night.
"We definitely needed Ohio State big," Andrews said.
William Hill US's Bogdanovich put a bow on the night.
"We won a little to the futures," he said, before getting to the big picture of a season played under incredible circumstances, ending with incredible handle on the final game. "It was the biggest-bet college game ever at William Hill. And I would probably say of all time."
Where Can I Bet on College Football?
You can bet on college football odds at every online and casino sportsbook, including NCAA football point spreads, Over/Under totals, derivative bets and even prop plays as well. Head over to our best-suggested sportsbooks for the top spots to bet on college football odds in your area.