Alabama-Oklahoma Sugar Bowl Point Spread Preview, Expert Picks, Score Prediction
The day after New Year’s, there is only one bowl game, but it is going to be a doozy. The Alabama Crimson Tide, who was the first team left out of the BCS National Championship Game, will go to battle in the midst of SEC Country at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome against the Oklahoma Sooners. The Tide are amongst the biggest favorites of the bowl season at -15, while the ‘total’ heads into Christmas at 51.5.
ALABAMA – OKLAHOMA 2014 SUGAR BOWL BETTING LINE:
OPEN: ALABAMA -14 | CURRENT: ALABAMA -16.5 | O/U: 52
1. Why OKLAHOMA will cover the spread: The good news for the Sooners is that there is definitely a precedent for the Crimson Tide laying an egg. Right here in this Sugar Bowl five years ago to the day, they were beaten as 9.5-point favorites by 14 points by the Utah Utes, who dominated the game from start to finish. Since that point, beating Alabama in a bowl game has been seemingly impossible.
Oklahoma though, has been able to stand up to some of the best offenses in the nation, and it would have to have a dominating defensive performance in this one to have any shot. OU’s defense ranks 14th in the land in total ‘D’ at 336.3 yards per game, and it ranks 23rd in scoring at 21.3 points per game allowed.
2. Why ALABAMA will cover the spread: The Tide will cover if they decide they want cover. That’s probably the bottom line. For our money, this is still easily the best team in the nation, and the only team with an argument isn’t the team that beat it (Auburn would still lose that game at least seven out of 10 times if these two teams kept playing against each other). It’s Florida State. We have a tough time believing that the Crimson Tide are going to end up struggling in this game. Oklahoma is never prepared for its big time bowl games (just look at last year’s Cotton Bowl to know that), and it doesn’t have the offense to keep up against what probably is the most talented defense in the country.
QB AJ McCarron is playing in his last game for Alabama, and as long as he stays upright and continues to play with the poise and focus he has demonstrated his entire career, the Crimson Tide should be fine.
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3. Sugar Bowl Total Talk: Though Oklahoma only ended the season at 6-5-1 for ‘over’ bettors, it was a massive ‘over’ team at the end of the season, going 4-1-1 for ‘over’ backers in the second half of the campaign. Alabama also went 6-5-1 against the ‘total’, and the bag was definitely a bit mixed when you talk about the teams that it played against. If you just look at the games against bow teams, the Tide went 3-3-1 for ‘over’ bettors, but the better the team, seemingly the better result. Games against LSU, Texas A&M, and Auburn all went past the number.
4. Betting Trends for BAMA/OU: Alabama hasn’t covered a game since November 9th against LSU (0-2-1), and that has to at least factor a bit into this game, especially knowing that the Sooners are 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall. However, the telling stat is clearly what these teams have done in bowl games. The Tide checks in a perfect 4-0 SU and ATS in their last four bowl appearances. Oklahoma is 2-5 ATS in its last seven bowls and 0-5 ATS in its last five games played against SEC foes.
Alabama 31 – Oklahoma 13