The Cincinnati Bearcats will look to make history this New Year’s Eve as they take on the Alabama Crimson Tide, who have had their own struggles this year. The Bearcats likely needed to be perfect this season in order even to make it to the playoffs, and perfect they were, going 13-0 in the regular season and well and truly earned this opportunity.
Alabama only had one hiccup this season, losing to Aggie’s mid-season, but a lot of their adversity came in their wins as they looked downright bad during some of their victories this season. However, the Crimson Tide did answer a lot of questions in their last game against Georgia, so it is tough to argue they have not deserved favorites for the Cotton Bowl.
Cincinnati Bearcats Betting Preview:
It is tough to see the Bearcats winning this game outright when first looking at this matchup, but this team really is loaded with talent, and they may very well be more competitive with the Crimson Tide than many people think.
This defense can compete in a big way with the Crimson Tide offense, as this Bearcats unit has only allowed 305.8 yards per game, and they have some serious playmakers on the back end. Many people will point to the fact that the Bearcats have not played a tough strength of schedule, so that those numbers might be a bit inflated. Still, when you look at the actual personnel on the Bearcats defense, it is hard to argue that they won’t be able to hang with Alabama this Friday.
Another thing the Bearcats have is a solid QB in Desmond Ridder, who has thrown for 3190 yards and 30 touchdowns here in 2021. He does have some dual-threat upside with his legs, but most of the damage is done through the air, with Ridder acting more as a pocket passer. The Bearcats running game can be a bit hit or miss, but Jerome Ford and the rest of the running backs on this team do have the ability to hit big plays, so look for them to be involved early and often in this one.
Alabama Crimson Tide Betting Preview:
It was looking like the end of Alabama’s dominance here in 2021 if you took in and believed everything the media was saying. However, this is still a 12-1 team who is coming off of one of the more impressive performances I can remember in recent times with their win over Georgia. Alabama did the unthinkable in hanging 40+ on the vaunted Bulldogs defense, and they certainly get an easier spot here against Cincinnati, so they do not exactly need to show up with their A-game to come out victorious.
Bryce Young cemented his claim on the Heisman Trophy in that game against Georgia, looking incredible, throwing for 421 yards and 3 TDs with 0 picks, with the only knock on him being the low completion percentage of 59.1%. If he can get anywhere close to that performance here against Cincinnati, the Crimson Tide will demolish the Bearcats in this spot. Jameson Williams will play a big part in this one at the wide receiver position with Metchie going down with an injury, and he was awesome in that last game going for 184 yards and 2 TD’s, and a similar performance is not out of the question here.
The Crimson Tide also has an elite defense, and they proved that against Georgia, holding them to just 21 points, but they have been good all year long, allowing just 306.2 total yards per game. They should be able to take away the Bearcats’ ability to run here, as their front 7 has been awesome this season, giving up 82.8 rushing yards per game this year. If they are able to do that, they will make the Bearcats one-dimensional, forcing Desmond Ridder to be perfect to find success.
Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Alabama Crimson Tide Betting Prediction:
It would be easy to go with the Georgia side here and many other bettors, but I wouldn’t say I like the hook we have to Alabama looks fine here at -13.5, but I would prefer to look at the total, which I feel is a bit high here at 57.5. The Alabama offense was on fire against Georgia, but it feels like that was a one-time thing, and I do not see them putting up an offensive performance like that again against the Bearcats. I also do not think the Bearcats will have a ton of success against an awesome Alabama defense, so this under is looking quite solid from my perspective, with that total being so high given these defenses.
Free Betting Pick
Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Alabama Crimson Tide Betting Verdict: Under the total
Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Alabama Crimson Tide Final Score Prediction: 31-21 Alabama