Can Cincinnati Cover the Spread Against Alabama?

Can Cincinnati Cover the Spread Against Alabama?

Sam Frohman
1 year ago
3 min read
Can Cincinnati Cover the Spread Against Alabama?

The Cincinnati Bearcats have a tall task of being the first non-Power 5 team to make it into the College Football Playoff. They will be heavily tested in their first game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at AT&T Stadium in Dallas Texas on December 31st at 3:30 p.m.

Alabama had a great end to their season as they went on to beat Georgia in the SEC Championship. They went 12-1 with their sole loss being to Texas A&M by a score of 41-38 on October 9th.

Cincinnati went a perfect 13-0 in the American Athletic Conference. They were also perfect last year until they lost to Georgia in the Peach Bowl on a last-second field goal. The Bearcats had marquee wins at Notre Dame and at home against Houston.

Odds

As expected, Alabama is a heavy favorite coming into this game. The 13.5 point favorite Crimson Tide has odds of -110 to win at this spread. The Bearcats have odds of -110 to cover. The question is: will Cincinnati be able to cover the 13.5 point spread against Alabama?

Cincinnati is a respectable 8-5 against the spread this season, but this is undoubtedly their toughest game so far this season. The Bearcats are averaging 19 more points and 124 more yards than Alabama has allowed this season. Alabama is averaging 24 more points and 191 more yards than Cincinnati allows.

Keys to the Game

Both teams will be relying on their star quarterbacks to win this game. Desmond Ridder is completing 66% of his passes with 30 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. His passer rating this year was 164.8. Sophomore Heisman Bryce Young has had an incredible season with 43 touchdowns and 4 touchdowns. His passer rating this season was 175.5.

The Cincinnati defense slightly edges out the Crimson Tide’s by ranking sixth in opponent points per game, sixth in opponent yards per game, third in takeaways per game, and third in opponent completion percentage. Alabama’s defense ranks seventh in opponent yards per game, second in opponent yards per rush, eighth in sack percentage.

The weak spot in the Alabama defense is in their pass defense. They struggle to prevent opponent completion and allow the 63rd least amount of pass yards per game. If Ridder is able to exploit the holes in the Alabama pass defense, they could make this interesting.

So, Will the Bearcats Cover?

The Bearcats have had a historic season and have the chance to build on that with another huge win against a quality opponent in Alabama. This is a tall task for a team that is an underdog by almost two touchdowns. Alabama has been one of the best teams in the past decade and knows the effect of losing to the first Group of 5 team in the Playoff.

As a fan, I want to think that the Bearcats will cover, but I have seen too many Cincinnati teams blow it in big games. In terms of the Bearcats history, they were demolished in back-to-back bowl games, 20-7 in the Orange Bowl in 2009 and 51-24 in the Sugar Bowl in 2010. They were able to hang with the big dogs in Georgia last year and will hope to do the same on New Year's Eve.

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