I have to admit I’m a bit surprised that No. 1 Alabama was able to crawl back into the CFP after losing to Texas A&M and having to beat Georgia in the SEC title game to punch their ticket, especially after narrowly avoiding a loss to Auburn in the Iron Bowl.
That game, and the SEC title game, were taken over and won by Bryce Young and this amazing offense. Young will be the Heisman Trophy winner this season no matter what happens in this game but he wasn't to take his team to the championship game no doubt.
The No. 4 Cincinnati Bearcats, the only undefeated team left in the nation, will pose a challenge for Bama however. The Bearcats made history already by just making it to this game as the first group five team to qualify for the CFP. They are coming off a 35-20 win over the Houston Cougars in the AAC Championship game thanks to performances by Jerome Ford and Desmond Ridder.
It was the Bearcats' second straight AAC title and the first time the program has gone undefeated.
Cincinnati vs. Alabama Spread and Over/Under
- Cincinnati: +14.0 (-110)
- Alabama: -14.0 (-110)
- Cincinnati: +420
- Alabama: -580
- 58.0 (Over -110/Under -110)
Cincinnati vs. Alabama Betting Trends
- The Bearcats are 13-7 against the spread (ATS) in their last 20 games.
- The Bearcats are 10-0 straight up (SU) in their last 10 games.
- The UNDER is 5-2 in the Bearcats' last seven games.
- The Bearcats are 2-4 SU in their last six games against the SEC.
- The Crimson Tide are 7-0 SU in their last seven games.
Cincinnati vs. Alabama Prediction and Pick
The biggest knock against the Bearcats making it to the playoffs was that they don’t have as tough of a schedule as a lot of other teams. When pushed, however, they have responded. They beat Notre Dame on the road in South Bend and the win over Houston in the title game was also impressive. The Cougars were the No. 24 ranked team in the nation at the time.
While Cincinnati is coming off a big win and will have a ton of momentum, Alabama’s win was bigger and even less expected. The up-and-down season from this team can be forgotten after playing up to their potential when it mattered. The offense managed 536 yards and scored 41 points against what was considered the best defense in the nation. But, the Crimson Tide rolled into town and scored 41 points on a team that was giving up an average of 6.9 points per game.
Aside from Young, the passing game was dominated by WR Jameson Williams who caught seven passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns. WR John Metchie went down in the second quarter with an ACL tear, so Williams will have to have a repeat performance against the Bearcats.
As much as I love a Cinderella story, this is where the Bearcats’ one stops. They are a great team but the critics are right and they haven’t been tested in the way that Alabama will test them.
When the Bearcats have the chance to play a team from the SEC, it rarely goes well. Cincy has a 6-35-1 record against the SEC. However, with the injury to Mitchie, I do think that the Bearcats can keep it close enough to cover here. The WR depth isn’t what it has been in years past for Bama, and the Bearcats can focus a lot of their attention on Williams.
Pick: Cincinnati Bearcats +14.0 (-110)