Alabama freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts could lead his squad to a second straight national title, beginning New's Years Eve, Saturday, Dec. 31. Reuters

Marking their third straight appearance and sizing up a second consecutive title, the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (13-0) are favored by more than two touchdowns over the surprising No. 4 Washington Huskies (12-1) ahead of their College Football Playoff national semifinal on New Year’s Eve, Saturday Dec. 31 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

With less than two weeks remaining until the showdown, Alabama stands as a 16-point favorite over Washington the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, according to online sportsbook Bovada.lv. The winner moves on to face either No. 2 Clemson or No. 3 Ohio State for the national title on Jan. 9, 2017.

Considering how dominant Alabama’s been both this year and last, odds makers have good reasons to make the Tide massive favorites.

Head coach Nick Saban’s Tide have won 25 straight games dating back to last season’s title run, and they’ve done so by playing almost perfect on each side of the ball. Alabama’s outscored opponents 527-153 – surrendering a mere 14 touchdowns for the entire year – while pounding defenses for 245 rushing yards per game and taking down opposing quarterbacks for 45 sacks, fourth-best in the nation.

Multi-faceted freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts and running back Damien Harris have powered the seemingly unstoppable Tide attack. Hurts completed 65.3 percent of his passes for 22 touchdowns and rushed for 841 yards and 12 more scores, while Harris has chipped in 983 rushing yards at 7.4 per carry.

But it’s the SEC champion’s defense that’s truly stood out. Defensive lineman Jonathan Allen and linebackers Ryan Anderson and Tim Williams have combined for 25.0 sacks and 37 quarterback hits, helping stud defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick haul in a team-best five interceptions and break up another seven passes.

Still, the Huskies, making their first trip to the CFP and with head coach Chris Petersen at the helm, have enough firepower to potentially ebb the Tide.

Washington ranks fourth in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 44.5 points per game and netting a top ranked 76 touchdowns. Only Western Kentucky, totaling 586 points, racked up more than the Huskies’ 578 points.

The Pac-12 champion Huskies, too, showed opponents they could score on the ground or the air. Quarterback Jake Browning notched 3,280 yards and 42 touchdowns to only seven interceptions while completing 63.2 percent of his passes, and running back Myles Gaskin leveled opponents for 1,373 yards and 10 touchdowns with some help from backfield mate Lavon Coleman and his 836 yards and seven scores. Browning also rushed four times for touchdowns this season.

In the process of posting their first 12-win season in 25 years, Washington also took down some of the country’s best defenses. They topped previously No. 7-ranked Stanford, which finished the season 17th in the nation in scoring defense at 20.2 points allowed per game, Utah (No. 38 at 23.9 points allowed), and Colorado (No. 18 at 21 points allowed).

And while the offense ran roughshod over everyone – the only exception being a poor 13-point effort against rival Southern California in the only loss of the Huskies' season – Washington’s defense finished eighth in the country by letting up 17.2 points a game.

Betting Odds: Alabama -16

Prediction: Alabama over Washington, 34-20