Sunday, January 23, 2022

2021 Cotton Bowl prediction, CFP semifinal odds, spread: Alabama vs. Cincinnati picks from model on 43-30 run

The No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide have their eyes on another title, but they’ll need to get past the No. 4-seed Cincinnati Bearcats on Friday in the 2021 Cotton Bowl Classic a semifinal College Football Playoff matchup. The Tide (12-1) are seeking their seventh national championship under Nick Saban, while the Bearcats (13-0) are the first Group of Five team to reach the College Football Playoff. The winner will face the Georgia-Michigan winner on Jan. 10 in Indianapolis. The Crimson Tide have won all five previous meetings between the teams, but they have not faced off since 1990.

Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. ET at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Crimson Tide are 13.5-point favorites in the latest Cincinnati vs. Alabama odds from Caesars Sportsbook, and the over-under for total points scored is 57.5. Before locking in any Alabama vs. Cincinnati picks or CFP predictions, you need to see what the SportsLine Projection Model has to say.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every FBS college football game 10,000 times. Over the past five-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated a stunning profit of almost $3,600 for $100 players on its top-rated college football picks against the spread. It also enters the third week of the 2021-22 college football bowl season on a 43-30 run on all top-rated college football side picks. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has zeroed in on the Cincinnati vs. Alabama Cotton Bowl matchup, and just released its picks and 2021 College Football Playoff predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see the model’s Cotton Bowl picks. Here are the CFB odds and betting lines for Alabama vs. Cincinnati:

  • Alabama vs. Cincinnati spread: Crimson Tide -13.5 
  • Alabama vs. Cincinnati over-under: 57.5 points 
  • Alabama vs. Cincinnati money line: Bearcats +400, Tide -550 
  • CINN: It is 8-3 ATS vs. ranked opponents since 2018 
  • ALA: It is 6-5 ATS in neutral-site games since 2018

Featured Game | Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Cincinnati Bearcats

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Why the Crimson Tide can cover

Alabama is 24-16 against the spread in neutral-site games under Saban (since 2007). The Tide lost a ton of talent to the NFL and had some hiccups, but they still have the ability to dominate. Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young leads an offense that scores 42.5 points per game (fourth in FBS), while the defense holds opponents to 20.2 (20th). Young has the second-most TD passes in the nation (43) and is fourth in passing yards (4,322). He threw just four interceptions in the regular season and averaged 9.4 per pass attempt (eighth in FBS). He also has two 1,000-yards receivers.

Jameson Williams (1,445 yards) averages 21.3 yards per catch (fifth in FBS) and has 15 TDs, while John Metchie III (1,142) has 96 receptions (sixth) and has scored eight times. Running back Brian Robinson Jr. (1,071 rushing yards, 14 TDs) gives the offense balance. The Alabama defense also has been playing at a high level, ranking seventh in the nation in total yards (304.6 per game) and third against the run (81.4). The unit ranks third in sacks with 46, and Will Anderson Jr. is tied for the most in the nation with 15.5. Alabama is 48-35 ATS against ranked teams under Saban.         

Why the Bearcats can cover

Cincinnati is 5-0 ATS in its last five as an underdog. Its signature has been a defense that allows just 16.1 points (fifth in FBS) and 167.5 passing yards per game (second). It has NFL-caliber cornerbacks in Ahmad Gardner (three interceptions) and Coby Bryant (four), and the unit has 29 takeaways (T-3 in FBS) and 37 sacks. Opponents are averaging just 4.3 yards per play (third in FBS) while the Bearcats offense averages 6.9 (sixth). Young has been sacked 33 times, so tackle Curtis Brooks (7.5 sacks) and linebacker Joel Dublanko (5.5) will get after him all day.    

The Tide’s defensive weakness is against the pass, which could equate to a big day for QB Desmond Ridder. Alabama ranks 46th among the 64 Power Five schools in passing yards allowed (2,903) and 48th in passing TDs allowed (23). Ridder has thrown for 3,190 yards, with 30 TD passes and eight interceptions. Six Bearcats pass-catchers have at least 24 receptions, led by Alec Pierce (50 catches, 867 yards, eight TDs). Tyler Scott (24 receptions, 467 yards) also averages more than 17 yards per catch. RB Jerome Ford, a transfer from Alabama, has 1,242 rushing yards, putting up 187 against Houston, and 19 TDs.

How to make Cincinnati vs. Alabama Cotton Bowl picks

The model is leaning under on the total, projecting 66 combined points. It has also generated a point-spread pick that is hitting in well over 50 percent of simulations. You can only get the model’s Cotton Bowl picks at SportsLine

So who wins Friday’s Alabama vs. Cincinnati Cotton Bowl Classic matchup? And which side of the spread is hitting well over 50 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Cincinnati vs. Alabama Cotton Bowl spread to back Friday, all from the advanced model on a 43-30 run on its top-rated college football picks, and find out.

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