Alabama vs Ohio State: FREE Sugar Bowl Pick, Odds & Prediction

Ohio State Buckeyes (12-1) vs Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1) (-9, 58.5)

Thursday January 1st 8:30pm EST

Super Dome, New Orleans, LA

The college football season is dwindling down and the top 4 teams that made the college football playoffs will kick it off New Year’s Day on Thursday.  The primetime game features the (12-1) Ohio State Buckeyes vs the (12-1) Alabama Crimson Tide.  The books favor ‘Bama by (-9) with the total set at 58.5.  The winner will move on to the National Championship.

Alabama has rattled off 8 straight wins to close out the 2014 regular season.  Quarterback Blake Sims has had a slightly un-noticed season throwing for 26 touchdowns and 7 INT’s, however, 3 of those interceptions have come in the last 2 games.  Sims has benefited from throwing to possibly the top wide receiver in college football, Amari Cooper.  Cooper is expected to be the first wide receiver taken in the 2015 NFL Draft.

If the passing game isn’t working then Alabama can attack the opposing defense with a heavy dose of RB T.J. Yeldon who rushed for 932 yards and 10 TD’s.  While Alabama doesn’t lack offensive weapons, their defense is the reason they are playing in the college football playoff.  Defensively, ‘Bama is allowing only 16.6 points per game with 28 sacks and 18 turnovers.  Alabama was ranked #11 in total defense.  Ohio State’s defense is right behind them ranking #14.

Despite the Buckeyes ushering out their 3rd string QB this season they have won 11 straight games since losing in week 2 to Virginia Tech after starting QB Braxton Miller went down for the season.  It’s hard to argue that coach Urban Meyer doesn’t deserve Coach of the Year after guiding his team to a #4 ranking all while losing 2 quarterbacks throughout the season.

Current QB Cardale Jones has thrown 5 TD’s to 0 INT’s and is coming off an impressive 54-0 drubbing of Wisconsin.  Wide receivers Devin Smith and Michael Thomas have combined for more than 1,400 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns.  RB Ezekiel Elliott leads the way with 1,402 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns and has been even more impressive than T.J. Yeldon.

Ohio State is 6-2 ATS last 8 non-conference games

Alabama is 4-0 ATS last 4 games vs the Big 10

Alabama is 4-1 ATS last 5 games in January and 4-1 ATS last 5 bowl games

However, Alabama is 0-7-1 ATS last 8 non-conference games

This game will feature two very good defenses and two of the top college football coaches in history.  Both have won championships and understand how to prepare for a big game.  We’re not really sold on either QB but Sims has the luxury of more game time this season but the pressure will be evident on both sides and typically in big games like this the defenses will shine.

Alabama is a powerhouse and there is no doubt about it but -9 points is a lot to lay vs a very good Ohio State team that continues to win despite the adversity they have endured throughout the season.

Prediction: Alabama wins 24-21 but take the Buckeyes and the +9 points and if you’re feeling aggressive take a chip bet on the Under 58.5.

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