Alabama is the top-ranked team in the nation – again – and will be playing No. 4 Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN in the Orange Bowl, so make sure you clear your Saturday night itinerary. The Tide comes into this one with a head of steam and some of the best online sportsbooks, found all at one convenient site, Sportsbook Review, are dealing Alabama as 14-point favorites. To put that into perspective, the LA Rams, arguably the best team in the NFL, were on the road playing arguably the worst team, the Arizona Cardinals, last Sunday and the oddsmakers installed Los Angeles as an identical 14-point favorite.
But this is not a contest between the best college football has to offer vs. one of the dregs. Quite the contrary, as the Sooners have steamrolled their way to a 12-1 record and won their fourth consecutive Big 12 title. Not too shabby, but still they are substantial underdogs to upset the juggernaut that Nick Saban has crafted once again, as the Crimson Tide keeps rolling along and gunning for their third CFP crown in four years.
The Tide is 13-0 and ruled the toughest division in college football, the SEC, with an iron fist. Alabama dispatched the likes of Texas A&M, LSU, Mississippi State, Auburn and then rallied to beat Georgia in the conference championship game. The Crimson Tide has a two-headed monster under center in Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts, coupled with a miserly defense that surrenders points about as often as Nickelback releases a decent album. OK, so that might be a stretch as Alabama has actually been scored upon this season but you catch our drift.
As offensively prolific as Oklahoma is, they are far from even middling defensively having allowed 32.4 points per game, which is 18 points more than their opponents on Saturday night. On top of that, the Tide is nearly even with the Sooners in producing 52 points per game on average. Let’s also not forget that Oklahoma has not faced the same caliber of competition that the Tide has routinely trounced and will be the latest casualty of Nick Saban’s shock and awe campaign. Succinctly put, the Tide will roll again and if you want to put your money where your mouth is, make sure to visit Sportsbook Review where all the best online sportsbooks reveal all their lines on every game in every sport.
Notre Dame Gets Their Irish Up
Notre Dame will enter their first-ever College Football Playoff as the No. 3 seed and will have their hands full with No. 2 Clemson in the Cotton Bowl on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN. This will be the opening act of the Saturday CFP double-header and the oddsmakers are not giving the Irish much of a chance to upset the Tigers as they are hanging Clemson as 12½-point neutral site favorites. However, Notre Dame comes into this one with an unblemished record, as does Clemson, having knocked off the likes of Michigan, Stanford, Virginia Tech, and Syracuse.
The difference here could well be the man under center for the Irish, junior Ian Book. With all due respect to Clemson freshman phenom Trevor Lawrence, Book has the ability to run when needed and has broken the plane of the end zone on four occasions this season. We wouldn’t classify him as highly mobile, but he does have the chops to seek daylight when his targets disappear. In addition, he is completing his passes at a stellar 70.4 percent of the time and took the starting job from Brandon Wimbush after just three games into the regular season.
Common opponents between the two this season sees Notre Dame defeating Syracuse, Florida State and Wake Forest by a combined 134-43 while Clemson trounced the trio 149-36. Certainly, Clemson has the edge, but these are two teams not so dissimilar. Clemson has a thunderous rushing attack but that could very well be mitigated by the Irish run-stop unit that has coalesced into a formidable force, limiting their last four opponents to 106 rushing yards per game. Below are a few trends that appear very Notre Dame friendly:
- Fighting Irish are 4-0-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
- Fighting Irish are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games.
- Fighting Irish are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. ACC.
- Tigers are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games.
Notre Dame will not only cover this generous number given to them by the oddsmakers but will pull an upset and meet the Tide in the CFP Championship Game.