The Alabama Crimson Tide will look to accomplish what they couldn’t a year ago when they fell short of winning it all after reaching the first-ever four-team College Football Playoff. In order to get where they want to go, the Tide will have to beat a feisty Michigan State team that has made a habit out of hanging in games until they can strike. The two national championship hopefuls will square off in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl college football betting match up on Thursday, Dec. 31 at 8:00 PM ET, live from AT&T Stadium, in Arlington, Texas.
How To Bet the Crimson Tide vs Spartans Cotton Bowl NCAA Football Odds, TV & Game Info
When: Thursday, December 31, 8:00 PM ET
Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
LINE: Alabama -9.5
Alabama is favored to beat Michigan State by 10 after opening as an 8.5-point favorite. The game’s O/U total is sitting at 47 after opening at 49.
Why Bet The Michigan State Spartans Odds at +10
Because they keep pulling out games when it looks like all is lost! The Spartans have won four straight games since suffering their only loss of the season and squeaked past nationally-ranked Iowa 16-13 in the Big Ten title game on Dec. 5. Michigan State is led by quarterback Connor Cook with the future NFL performer completing a modest 56.9 percent of his passes for 2,911 yards with 24 TD passes and just five interceptions.
The Spartans also have an elite wide receiver in senior Aaron Burbridge, who caught a school-record 80 receptions for 1,219 yards and seven touchdowns. Freshman running back LJ Scott rushed for a team-high 691 yards and 11 touchdowns as the Spartans averaged a solid 32.1 points per game to finish 48th in the country in scoring.
Cook said his sprained throwing shoulder is improving and he’ll be ready to go in this huge contest. “I’m pretty much doing everything in practice now,” Cook told reporters in mid-December. “I’m pretty confident.”
Why Bet The Alabama Crimson Tide Odds at -10
The Crimson Tide have won 10 straight since suffering their only loss of the season against Ole Miss in mid-September, including their convincing 29-15 win over Florida in the SEC title game on Dec. 5. Alabama is led by Heisman Trophy-winging running back Derrick Henry. The powerful junior running back rushed for a stellar 1,986 yards and 23 touchdowns to virtually carry the Tide’s offense this season. Henry topped the 100-yard mark nine times during the season while going over 200 yards four times. “Whatever I have to do to help my team win,” Henry told reporters. “I don’t care how many carries it is. As long as it’s successful and we’ve got the ball, I’m all for it.”
Senior quarterback Jake Coker has thrown for 2,489 yards and 17 touchdowns while tossing just eight interceptions. Coker will hook up early and often with elite wide receiver Calvin Ridley. The gifted freshman caught 75 passes for 893 yards to help the Crimson Tide average a solid 34.1 points per game (33rd).
Defensively, the Tide have future NFL stars all over the place starting with senior middle linebacker Reggie Ragland. The likely first round NFL draft pick racked up a stellar 90 tackles while junior defensive Jonathan Allen recorded a team-high 10 sacks. Alabama ranked a fantastic third in points allowed (14.4 ppg).
My Expert Pick & Final Score Prediction
I know Michigan State has made a habit out of hanging in games until the very end, but I just don’t believe they’ve got enough talent on the offensive side of the ball in order to keep the Crimson Tide’s aggressive defense off of quarterback Connor Cook and upright. Alabama has not allowed more than 16 points in any of its last six games and I don’t believe Michigan State will score much more than that in this CFP semifinal showdown.
The Crimson Tides have gone 6-4 ATS in their last 10 games while Michigan State has gone 5-4-1 ATS over the same span. Alabama has also won nine of its last 10 games against teams from the Big Ten while going 5-4-1 ATS over the stretch. While the Spartans have recorded an identical pair of SU and ATS records in their last 10 games against teams from the SEC, I’m still going to back the Crimson Tide because if their outstanding defense.
This point spread may look a bit high, but I like Alabama to cover it with just a bit of room to spare!
My final score prediction: Alabama 27, Michigan State 14