The Sugar Bowl kicks off on Thursday January 2 from the New Orleans Superdome between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Alabama Crimson Tide.
The Tide is double digit favorites in the game, making it the third time during this season that Oklahoma has been a doubt-digit ‘dog.
Nearly across the board, the Crimson Tide has an advantage talent wise on the field. One of the biggest advantages will be at quarterback. A.J. McCarron the senior quarterback for the Tide will be starting in his fourth straight bowl game. McCarron has three national title rings and only three losses in his career at Alabama.
However, his latest loss was one of the most dramatic, as Auburn ran back a missed field goal attempt by Alabama for a 109-yard touchdown and knocked the Tide out of a chance to win its third consecutive national title and put their motivation for playing in tonight’s Sugar Bowl in question.
A similar situation happened to Alabama in 2008, when they lost the SEC title game to Florida and then was defeated 31-17 by Utah in this same Sugar Bowl, as a favorite by 9.5 points.
While McCarron is a lock at quarterback for Alabama, the Sooners do not know who will start. Blake Bell a junior and Trevor Knight a redshirt freshman have split time at quarterback.
The Sooners over the course of the season have lost three key players, two on defense and one on offense. The loss of those three players has hurt the team immensely.
The two-touchdown spread seems like a large number for this game, but 80% of the wagers on sites like Bovada, topbet and betonline placed thus far took Alabama.
The Tide opened on sportsbook.com as a favorite by 14.5 points, but that was pushed as high as 16.5 on Bovada on Wednesday. It is the third time the Sooners have been underdogs by 10 or more points and Oklahoma in that capacity is 1-1 SU and ATS.
Most recently, the Sooners defeated Oklahoma State 33-24 as a dog of 10-points and lost to Baylor 41-12 as a 17-point dog. Prior to the start of the season, the last time the Sooners were a 10-point or more dog was in 2005.
This season, Alabama has been a double-digit favorite 11 times and is 7-4 ATS. The Tide has been favored in every game (54), since the 2009 Championship game of the SEC. Over that period, the Tide is 31-22 ATS.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops is 5-9 ATS in 14 career bowl games, while Alabama coach Nick Saban is 8-6 ATS.
Versus bowl teams this season, Oklahoma was 4-2 ATS and Alabama 3-4 ATS.
Even though Alabama lost to Auburn, they are the best of second best team in the nation. The double-digit spread is a large one, and motivation could be a problem with Alabama. Nonetheless, I like the Tide less the points.