Oregon a 7-Point Favorite over Ohio State in National Championship Game

The Oregon Ducks go into the 2015 NCAA National Championship Game as a 7-point favorite, according to Caesars Palace Sportsbook. The Ducks entered the 4-team BCS Playoff as the #2 seed, while OSU entered as the #4 seed.

The Ducks are the favorites perhaps due to the youth of the Buckeyes, which plays 11 Redshirt or true Freshmen. The biggest advantage is at quarterback, where the Ducks field Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota against an admirable third string fill-in.

Ducks Defeat Seminoles 59-20

The Ducks took care of business in dispatching the defending national champion Florida State Seminoles. The Seminoles went undefeated as the champions last year and had posted a matching undefeated season coming into the game versus Oregon, which led some to believe the Noles should have been the #1 rated team. The season-long detractors who said FSU’s spotless record was a manifestation of the easier ACC schedule were proven right, as the Ducks simply overwhelmed them with a 59-point onslaught. In the end, their hopes of repeating ended early in the game, as the Jameis Winston and the Seminoles were blown out 59-20.

Buckeyes Defeat Crimson Tide 42-35

The Ohio State Buckeyes added the biggest surprise of the college football season when it upset the #1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide, led by the irrascible Nick Saban. OSU was a controversial selection by the 11-person selection committee, because it had the worst blowout loss of all the contending teams and its leapfrogged two Big 12 schools (TCU and Baylor) to claim the fourth spot.

That didn’t matter, as the Buckeyes came back from a 2nd Quarter deficit of 21-6 with a 28-point deluge to seize control of the game. Alabama mounted a late comeback to keep things interesting, but OSU never trailed after they seized the lead in the 3rd Quarter. The Buckeyes were able to score two touchdowns late in the 1st Half to cut the deficit to 21-20. When they came out for the second half, they continued their run with two big plays: a 47-yard touchdown pass from Cardale Jones to Devin Smith and a 41-yard interception return by Steve Miller.

From the time of T.J. Yeldon’s touchdown run with 8:07 left in the 2nd Quarter until Blake Sims’ 5-yard run with 1:01 left in the 3rd Quarter, the Crimson Tide was held scoreless. That 24-minute span of scoreless football proved to be the difference in the game.

Oregon Versus Ohio State: The Spread

The line of 7 points has been fairly stable so far. The game opened with a 68.5 over/under, but quickly was bet to the current 75-point over/under. In some locations, gamblers will be able to find an over/under of 75.5, so those wishing to bet the under should find those odds.

Preview of the Ohio State Buckeyes

The Buckeyes’ season has been a story of overcoming adversity. When the team lost senior quarterback Braxton Miller to a season-ending shoulder injury in August, most people assumed that was the end of their national title hopes. Redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett filled in admirably, even finishing 5th in the Heisman Trophy competition. Barrett himself was lost before the Big Ten Championship Game, but Cardale Jones replaced him and has no one the Big Ten Championship and the NCAA playoff semifinal. It’s impressive by any standards.

In the championship, Ezekial Elliot should be the key to a Buckeyes victory (if it happens). Elliot was the MVP of the Crimson Tide game, compiling 230 yards and two touchdowns. Elliot’s 85-yard touchdown run may have saved the game for the Buckeyes, because it came after with Alabam down only 6 points with 3 minutes left. If coach Urban Meyer and OSU hopes to slow down the Oregon Ducks, then Ezekial Elliot will have to control the clock in the running game. Otherwise, the Ducks’ prolific offense will simply overwhelm the Buckeyes.

Preview of the Oregon Ducks

The Oregon Ducks spread offense is considered the most exotic and unstoppable force in college football. The attack, which was designed by Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly and is now executed by Ducks head coach Mark Helfrich and offensive coordinator Scott Frost, is meant to keep defenses off-balance and winded. Interestingly, Chip Kelly borrowed a lot from Urban Meyer’s Florida Gators offense when he began installing his own brand of football.

When he was an analyst for ESPN in 2011, Urban Meyer went to Oregon and did a piece with then-Ducks coach Chip Kelly. He came away deeply impressed. Meyer spoke of his deep respect for the Ducks offense to ESPN. He said, “I just like their approach. When I went out there, I brought back with me that there’s an unbelievable culture. This is the way they do their business. Everyone is aligned. I brought that back to our place.

Ducks Offensive Pace

The difference in the OSU offense and what the Ducks do is speed. Oregon wants an up-tempo game at all times, much like what Nick Saban does at Alabama. The Ducks take it to an extreme. OSU likes a fast-paced offense at times, but also slows the game down when it suits their needs.

The real difference in the coming National Championship Game is Marcus Mariota. Mariota is the quarterback of the Ducks, but he is also expected to be the first pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, going to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has masterfully led the Ducks these past few seasons. While Ohio State has an amazing story at the quarterback position, Oregon has the Heisman Trophy winner. That’s worth 7 points in the championship game, which takes place on Monday, January 12th in Arlington, Texas (Dallas) at AT&T Stadium.

About Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller has been an online writer for 14 years. He worked for Small World Marketing for a decade, where he covered topics like gaming, sports, movies, and how-to guides. Since 2014, he has blogged about US and international gambling news on BestOnlineCasinos.com, USPokerSites.com, and LegalUSPokerSites.com

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