By the time the initial rush of money slowed, the Crimson Tide were a 14.5-point favorite. Of the first $12,000 bet on the game Sunday, approximately $11,000 of it was on Alabama, according to CG Technology vice president Jason Simbal.
At MGM's sportsbook, seven of the first nine bets on the national semifinal were on the Crimson Tide, with an average bet size of $1,800.
"I think it's an indication of what the public is going to do," Jay Rood, vice president of MGM race and sports books, said of the early wagering.
The line for the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl (3 p.m. ET, Dec. 31, ESPN) got to as high as Alabama minus-15 on Sunday at the MGM before settling at minus-14.5. It could be found as high as Alabama minus-16.5 in the offshore market and is the largest line of any College Football Playoff matchup to date.
Alabama has been favored in 95 of its past 96 games.
The Buckeyes winning the national title is the worst-case scenario for some Las Vegas sportsbooks. William Hill took two $25,000 bets on Ohio State to win the championship at 4-1 odds. Each would net $100,000 if the Buckeyes win their second national title in the past three years.
William Hill also accepted a $6,400 national championship bet on Washington at 15-1, which would net $96,000, and a $10,000 bet on Clemson at 9-1 that would produce a $90,000 profit. The largest bet on Alabama was $5,000 at 11-2, which would pay $27,500 if the Crimson Tide repeat as national champions.