Orange Bowl Pick: Oklahoma Sooners vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners (12-1 SU, 5-7-1 ATS) vs. No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (13-0 SU, 8-5 ATS)
College Football Playoff SemiFinal
Date/Time: Saturday December 29th, 2018. 8:00PM (EST)
Where: Hard Rock Stadium Miami, F.L.
Point Spread:OKL +14/ALA -14
Over/Under Total: 81
The College Football Playoffs SemiFinal match-ups will take place on Saturday, December 29th which will decide the two teams that will move on to play in the CFP National Championship Game. Headlining the primetime game will be one of the most exciting match-ups of the season when the no. 4 Oklahoma Sooners meet the no. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide in the Capital One Orange Bowl. Not only does this game feature the two best offenses in college football but it also features the two best players in the country. Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray recently won the Heisman Trophy over Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa in one of the closest Heisman Trophy decisions in history. Now the two standouts will get the chance to square off against each other in the Orange Bowl with a National Championship opportunity on the line.
Over/Under of 81 the highest in College Football Playoff History
Obviously, a pairing between the two best players in college football should provide some fireworks, but this Orange Bowl pairing is really special when you consider the numbers. The Sooners own the top-ranked offense in college football that has averaged a whopping 49.5 points per game on the season. The 49.5 scoring average is the highest mark since Baylor’s 2013 campaign. Meanwhile, Alabama boasts the 2nd best scoring offense in college football that has averaged 47.9 points per game on the season; the highest in Alabama history. Now, these two dynamic offenses are ready to square off against each other featuring the highest rated offenses to face each other in College Football Playoffs history. The result is a staggering over/under total that has been listed at 81 making it the highest in the history of the CFP and the highest total of any postseason bowl game.
Crimson Tide defense provides significant advantage over Sooners
Outside of the great offensive teams featured in this Orange Bowl pairing, another reason this over/under is extremely high is because the Sooners defense has been awful. Despite the fact Oklahoma has average more points and arguably has the best playmaker in college football, the Sooners are large 15 point underdogs who are a direct correlation to their defensive woes. The Sooners defense has been downright putrid allowing 32.4 points per game. The Sooners pass defense ranks dead last in the FBS allowing 291.4 yards per game which will be eye candy for Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. If you want to know just how bad Oklahoma’s defense has been this year, they have allowed 40 points or more in 4 of their last 5 games.
Meanwhile on the other side of the field, Alabama has one of the best defenses in college football that will undoubtedly give Kyler Murray a much bigger challenge. The Crimson Tide is extremely fast and physical along the defensive front which will make things difficult for Sooner’s tailbacks Kennedy Brooks and Trey Sermon who have averaged nearly 2,000 yards combined with 12 touchdowns each. Unlike Oklahoma’s weakness against the pass, Alabama has actually been very strong against the pass allowing just 178 yards (13th in FBS) per game. Obviously, this secondary will be tasked with a difficult match-up in this game against receivers Marquise Brown and CeeDee Lamb. If Alabama can contain the explosive play potential of the passing attack, their size and speed should present Oklahoma some challenges they have not faced against Big 12 defenses this year. As a result, Alabama’s defense is the key differential in this match-up and the reason the Crimson Tide are 14 point favorites to remain undefeated.
Oklahoma vs. Alabama betting trends
Alabama has remained a solid performer for bettors this year with an 8-5 ATS mark on the season. The Crimson Tide have also covered the mark in 5 of their last 7 games. Meanwhile, Oklahoma has not been as impressive this year going just 5-7-1 ATS on the season. The Sooners are just 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games. With this high total of 81, it is also worth mentioning the Sooners are 9-2-1 at hitting the ‘over’ in their last 12 games.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Despite the enormous total, I actually think the ‘over’ is the play here. I fully expect this game to be 100% full throttle for both offenses and I am not sure if either defense will get too many stops. While I have more confidence in Alabama’s defense, they are not invincible especially against a mobile quarterback like Murray. Expect both offenses to live up to the hype and this extraordinary total to be breached. Take the over 81 and also consider a small play on Oklahoma +14