College football Thursday and we will see the Ohio State Buckeyes take on the Alabama Crimson Tide at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana in the Sugar Bowl. The game has a start time of 8:30 pm (Eastern) and will be televised on ESPN. Current Vegas betting odds have the Crimson Tide listed as 9 point favorites, while the total is set at 58.5.
Analysis: The Ohio State used their 59-0 whitewashing of Wisconsin in the Big 10 Title game to leapfrog a couple of teams and make their way into the college football playoffs. For the year the Buckeyes are 12-1, with that lone loss coming earlier in the year at home to Virginia Tech. The Buckeyes are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 non-conference games and 27-11-2 ATS in their last 40 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game. Ohio State has been a very good offensive team this year, ranking 9th in total yards, 52nd in passing, 11th in rushing and 5th in scoring (45.2 ppg). The defense for the Buckeyes has been very good this year, ranking 14th in yards allowed, 14th vs the pass, 34th vs the run and 20th in points allowed (21.2 ppg).
The Alabama Crimson Tide are in familiar territory as they are once again right in the thick of the National Title race. Te Tide come in with a 12-1 record and are off 42-13 win over Missouri in the SEC Title game. Alabama is 9-3 ATS in their last 12 neutral site games and 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. Big Ten, but 0-7-1 ATS in their last 8 non-conference games. Alabama has been a solid offensive team this year, ranking 16th in total yards, 25th in passing, 35th in rushing and 16th in scoring (37.1 ppg). The defense for the Tide has been excellent as always, ranking 10th in yards allowed, 59th vs the pass, 1st vs the run and 3rd in points allowed (16.6 ppg).
Pick: I will go with the Over. Both teams come in with solid defenses, but these offenses have been very good as well and both teams did just score 42+ points in their respective conference title games. Ohio State shut out Wisconsin in the Big 10 Title game, but they did allow 29 ppg in their 4 games prior to that game. Tyhe best offense that Alabama played this year was Auburn and they allowed 44 points in that game. Alabama's last 3 games have put up 72 ppg, while Ohio State's games have averaged 63.4 ppg overall this year, including 68 ppg in their last 6 games. This one has the makings of an exciting shootout.
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