Cincinnati, the first non-Power Five team to advance to the college football playoffs, hasn’t lost since suffering a 24-21 loss to Georgia in last season’s Peach Bowl on a field goal. 53 yards in the dying seconds.
The Bearcats led the Bulldogs 21-10 in the fourth quarter before suffering the only loss in their last 24 games.
Cincinnati (13-0) will need a similar effort against defending national champion Alabama to cover the underdogs by 13½ points in Friday’s CFP semi-final at the Cotton Bowl.
Pamela Maldonado, betting analyst on Yahoo Sportsbook, and Westgate SuperBook vice president of risk, Ed Salmons, like the Bearcats to compete with the Crimson Tide and cover.
“They played with Georgia,” Salmons said. “Playing in Alabama can be a little intimidating. But they’ve stood up to everyone so far.
Maldonado came in tied for the Review-Journal College Bowl Challenge on Friday with a 9-6 ATS record. She mainly backs Cincinnati because of her defense, which ranks second in the country for passing yards allowed (168.3 yards per game) and 27th for sacks.
Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young had 421 yards and three touchdowns in Alabama’s 41-24 rout against Georgia in the Southeastern Conference title game. The Tide will be without John Metchie III, who leads the team in receptions.
“With Metchie out, is Nick Saban looking more towards the ground game?” I’ll go with no because he has a Heisman winning QB in Bryce Young, ”said Maldonado (@ pamelam35). “The problem with that is that for two consecutive seasons the Bearcats have proven they have a high school that can stop anyone. It will be competitive.
Alabama have qualified for the CFP seven times in their eight-year history, and Texas-based professional sports bettor Paul Stone enjoys covering the Crimson Tide, in part because of his wealth of background.
“We know Alabama will be ready and reacting favorably in the playoffs,” Stone said (@PaulStoneSports). “However, we can only guess how Cincinnati will handle this as the whole experience is brand new for the Bearcats.”
Stone also pointed out that Alabama have been a collective +78 in the turnover department since the start of the 2015 season. Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder has committed more turnovers in the past three seasons than any. other player except Spencer Sanders of Oklahoma State.
“Rolls can be part of a handicap in a game,” said Stone. “And I predict Alabama will have the advantage in this category.”
A SuperBook bettor has bet a total of $ 100,000 on Cincinnati +13.
Sharp objects sink
The total is 57½ after opening at 59, and savvy bettors are betting the least.
“Strong money is definitely under it,” Salmons said. “It makes sense. Cincinnati is probably going to be a little careful in the game.
Michigan and less
In the other semi-final, Georgia is a 7½-point favorite over Michigan in the Orange Bowl, and the total is 45½.
Handicapper Doug Fitz, tied for the Bowl Challenge lead with Maldonado with nine points (5-3-6) after hitting his best bet and pushing six canceled games, likes Wolverines ATS and on the silver line (+260) .
“Michigan has an 11-2 ATS score and a +5 turnover rate,” Fitz said (Systemplays.com). “Their defense is expected to dominate Georgia, similar to Alabama’s defensive dominance in the SEC title game.”
Maldonado likes the game to go below, and Salmons leans below.
“This is the wheelhouse of Georgia, which faces strong racing teams,” said Maldonado. “The Bulldogs and Wolverines are both in the top 10 in points per game and opponent’s red zone scores and touchdowns are allowed.”
Georgia leads the country in scoring defense, allowing 9.8 points per game, and Michigan is third (16.1 points per game).
“I wouldn’t be surprised if this game started off slowly and both teams were very conservative for a while,” said Salmons.