College Football Betting News and Notes Thursday, January 2

College Football Betting News and Notes Thursday, January 2

OKLAHOMA (10 - 2) vs. ALABAMA (11 - 1) - 1/2/2014, 8:30 PM

Top Trends for this game.
OKLAHOMA is 0-7 ATS (-7.7 Units) against SEC opponents since 1992.

Head-to-Head Series History
There were no past matchups in this series during this time period.


OKLAHOMA vs. ALABAMA
Oklahoma is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Oklahoma's last 6 games
Alabama is 15-1 SU in its last 16 games


Oklahoma at Alabama
Oklahoma: 0-7 ATS against SEC opponents
Alabama: 18-7 ATS after gaining 7.25 or more yards/play in their previous game

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Thursday, January 2

NCAAF Bowl Previews
Insiderangles.com

Sugar Bowl – Oklahoma vs. Alabama (-15) - Perhaps no bowl team is more susceptible to “not wanting to be there” for their bowl game than the Crimson Tide, even if they did end up in the third BCS bowl. Two-time defending national champion Alabama was undefeated and seemingly on its way to another BCS Championship Game when it was stunned by Auburn in the Iron Bowl on that memorable return of a missed field goal attempt on the final play of the game in literally one of the best college games ever. Conversely, Oklahoma is thrilled to be here after upsetting Oklahoma State on the road in Stillwater as a double-digit underdog in the season finale. Alabama is 3-11 ATS in its last 14 games following a straight up loss.

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Thursday, January 2

Sugar Bowl Preview
By Brian Edwards
VegasInsider.com

Sugar Bowl

Matchup: Oklahoma Sooners (10-2) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1)
Venue: Superdome
Location: New Orleans, LA

Following a six-pack of college football bowl games on New Year’s Day, gamblers have only the Sugar Bowl to wager on Thursday. From New Orleans at the Superdome, Alabama and Oklahoma will collide in a showdown between storied programs.

As of early Wednesday afternoon, most betting shops had Alabama (11-1 straight up, against the spread) installed as a 17-point favorite with a total of 51.5. Gamblers can take the Sooners on the money line for a +550 return (risk $100 to win $550). For first-half wagers, ‘Bama is favored by nine with a total of 27.

Alabama’s quest for a third consecutive national title was derailed by Auburn in a crushing Iron Bowl defeat. If you’re reading this, you know how it happened and Chris Davis’s name won’t soon be forgotten.

The burning question for bettors is if Alabama’s team has put the gut-wrenching loss in the rearview mirror. In a similar situation in 2008 after losing to Florida in the SEC Championship Game, the Crimson Tide went to the Sugar Bowl and got thumped 31-17 by Utah as a nine-point ‘chalk.’

Oklahoma (10-2 SU, 7-5 ATS) has been an underdog three times this season, going 2-1 both SU and ATS. This will be the Sooners’ third double-digit ‘dog spot. They got smashed 41-12 at Baylor while catching 17 points but won 33-24 at Oklahoma St. as 10-point ‘dogs.

Bob Stoops’s team earned the BCS bowl invite thanks to the Bedlam win in Stillwater. Jalen Saunders was the catalyst against the Cowboys, scoring a pair of touchdowns. He got into the end zone on a 64-yard punt return in the first quarter and then scored the game-winning points on a seven-yard TD catch from Blake Bell with 19 ticks remaining.

OU is expected to use Bell and Trevor Knight at QB against the Tide. Both signal callers had their ups and downs during the regular season.

Bell got most of the playing time, completing 60.1 percent of his throws with a 12/5 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He had 255 rushing yards but averaged only 3.4 yards per carry.

Knight completed just 52.2 percent of his passes with a 5/4 TD-INT ratio. He was a more effective runner, producing 438 rushing yards, two TDs and a 7.1 YPC average.

Brennan Clay will get the bulk of the carries for the Sooners. He rushed for a team-high 913 yards and six TDs, averaging 5.8 YPC. Saunders is OU’s best playmaker, hauling in 56 receptions for 654 yards and six TDs. Saunders tallied 1,051 all-purpose yards.

OU’s defense gives up an average of 21.3 PPG and ranks 14th in the nation in total defense.

Senior QB A.J. McCarron will return to the venue where he enjoyed one of his finest performances as a sophomore. He was on the money from start to finish in the Big Easy two years ago in leading the Tide to a 21-0 win over LSU in the BCS Championship Game.

Regardless of what happens Thursday night, McCarron will go down as the greatest QB in Alabama football history. In his senior campaign, the Mobile native has completed 67.6 percent of his passes for 2,676 yards with a 26/5 TD-INT ratio.

McCarron spreads the sugar around to a talented array of wide receivers. Kevin Norwood and Amari Cooper are his favorite targets. Both wideouts brought down 36 catches apiece for more than 1,100 combined yards. Norwood and Cooper had seven and four TD grabs, respectively.

T.J. Yeldon rushed for a team-high 1,163 yards and 13 TDs, averaging 6.1 YPC. His back-up Kenyan Drake is equally as effective, with 694 rushing yards, eight TDs and a 7.5 YPC average.

Saban’s squad has been favored by double digits in 11 of its 12 games, compiling a 6-4-1 spread record. Alabama finished second in the country in scoring defense, allowing only 11.3 PPG.

The ‘over’ is 6-5-1 for ‘Bama, 5-2 in its last seven games. The Tide’s games averaged a combined score of 50.1 PPG.

The ‘over’ is 6-5-1 for OU, 4-1-1 in its last six games. The Sooners’ games have played to average combined score of 53.2 PPG.

These schools played a home-and-home series in 2002 and ’03. OU prevailed in both encounters but the Tide took the cash both times. We should note that Alabama was dealing with probation sanctions at the time.

Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

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Bama made big 'chalk'
By Sportsbook.ag

Sugar Bowl

Matchup: Oklahoma Sooners (10-2) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1)
Venue: Superdome
Location: New Orleans, LA
Sportsbook.ag Line: Alabama -16½, Total: 52

No. 11 Oklahoma earned a trip to the Sugar Bowl after defeating in-state rival Oklahoma State off in the final week, but will be facing an angry No. 3 Alabama Crimson team in Thursday's matchup.

These are two of the most historic teams in college football history with crazy fan bases, so expect an incredible atmosphere. However, these two teams are coming into the game on complete opposite ends of the spectrum. For the Sooners, they appeared to be on their way to potentially the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl before defeating Oklahoma State. In that game, quarterback Blake Bell came in for the injured Trevor Knight and led the team on an impressive final drive to help secure the victory for Oklahoma (7-5 ATS).

While the Sooners are happy to be in this game, the same cannot be said for the Crimson Tide. They are coming off one of the craziest losses in recent history when Auburn scored a game-winning touchdown on a 100-yard field goal return. Senior QB AJ McCarron will look to end one of the greatest college careers for a quarterback (36-3 career record, two national titles) on a positive note. The last time Alabama (7-5 ATS) was in the Sugar Bowl after being eliminated from the national title race in the 2008 season, the Crimson Tide were drilled 31-17 by Utah. For Alabama to avoid that same kind of result, the team must come out prepared and ready to match Oklahoma’s excitement and energy.

The Sooners' rushing attack is one of the best in the country, ranking 18th among FBS schools with 235.8 rushing YPG. Senior RB Brennan Clay (913 rushing yards, 5.8 YPC, 6 TD) is the leader of the offense, and has proven that he is capable of taking a game over by himself. In a 41-31 victory over Kansas State on Nov. 23, he rushed for 200 yards (6.5 YPC) and two touchdowns, but was held to 70 yards (2.9 YPC) on 24 carries in the season finale.

While the passing attack isn’t the most prolific in the country (186.7 YPG, 99th in FBS), junior QB Blake Bell (1,648 pass yards, 7.1 YPA, 12 TD, 5 INT) has played well at times, and figures to get the starting nod on Thursday ahead of QBs Trevor Knight (471 pass yards, 5.2 YPA, 5 TD, 4 INT) and Kendal Thompson (64 pass yards, 4.9 YPA, 1 TD, 1 INT). Whoever is under center does have wide receivers that are capable of making big plays though. Senior WR Jalen Saunders (56 catches, 654 yards, 6 TD) and sophomore WR Sterling Shepard (44 catches, 540 yards, 6 TD) are both able to make big plays with the ball in their hands. In the win over Oklahoma State, Shepard had 112 yards on seven receptions, while Saunders caught the game-winning touchdown pass with less than a minute left in the game.

The Sooners defense has once again been solid this season, allowing only 21.3 PPG (23rd in FBS). They give up 138 rushing YPG on 4.1 YPC, but hold opposing passers to a mere 198 YPG (6.3 YPA) on 54% completions. The secondary of the Sooners is one of the very best in the country, led by junior DB Julian Wilson (three interceptions) and senior CB Aaron Colvin (49 tackles and one interception). This duo has the ability to shut down the opposing receivers, and that will be key against Alabama QB AJ McCarron and his potent passing attack.

McCarron (2,676 passing yards, 8.8 YPA, 26 TD, 5 INT) deservedly gets a lot of the credit for his team's offensive success, but there are a lot of weapons on that side of the ball as well. His favorite receiver this season has been sophomore WR Amari Cooper (36 catches, 615 yards and 4 TD), who is one of the most electric receivers in all of the country. Against Auburn in the season finale, Cooper had six catches for 178 yards, including a 99-yard touchdown reception that gave the Crimson Tide a lead.

While the passing game has been great this season, the focal point of the offense is sophomore RB T.J. Yeldon (1,163 rush yards, 13 TD). Yeldon is just another in the line of superstar running backs for the Crimson Tide, as he is a perfect combination of size (6-foot-2, 218 pounds) and speed (6.1 YPC) at the running back position. He has rushed for more than 130 yards in each of his past three games, totaling 434 yards (5.8 YPC) and 3 TD during this stretch.

Alabama ranks second in the nation in scoring defense (11.3 PPG allowed), but in that loss to Auburn, the team surrendered 296 rushing yards on 52 carries (5.7 YPC). For the season, the Tide hold opponents to 108 rushing YPG on 3.4 YPC, and limit opposing passers to 166 YPG (6.4 YPA) on 53% completions. Much of that is due to sophomore DB Landon Collins (58 tackles, 6 PD), who makes a lot of big plays in the secondary like his 89-yard interception return for a touchdown against Tennessee on Oct. 26. However, his biggest role against the Sooners may be trying and slow down the run. The biggest key in this game is whether or not Alabama is hungry enough to play with maximum effort following a demoralizing defeat to Auburn.


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Sugar Bowl

Alabama won three of last four national titles, some are questioning how much they'll want to be here after not even making SEC title game, but Saban won his last four bowls, whacking Michigan State 49-7 in Capital One Bowl in '10, after winning title year before- that was also last year Alabama lost the Iron Bowl. Last time Alabama was in Sugar Bowl was Saban's only bowl loss with Tide, 31-17 (-9.5) to Utah in '08. Oklahoma lost by 10-28 points last two times they were bowl underdog- their last three bowl wins came as double digit favorites. Sooners had trouble with QBs this year; neither Bell/Knight was especially good. Oklahoma has edge in experience on OL; they covered two of three as an underdog this year, beating Oklahoma State 33-24 (+10) in its rivalry game. Alabama is 7-5 vs spread this year, 2-2 if spread was less than 20. Big X teams split their first four bowls; SEC teams are 3-2 in their first five bowls. Bowl favorites are 15-12 after going 1-5 Wednesday; under is 18-9-1.

Armadillosports.com

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Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Oklahoma
Chuckedel.com

Matchup: Alabama vs. Oklahoma
Line: Alabama -17. Total 52

Key Points for Alabama

-Alabama goes as their defense does. Which has obviously been their strong suit during their most recent dynasty. AJ McCarron should not be overlooked however. While they're still a run-first team, McCarron leads one of the nation's most efficient passing games.
-The Crimson Tide will stick to their strength. That is playing physical football and utilizing a ground game that ranked third in the SEC in rushing yards per game with an average of 212.
-Alabama ranks 12th in rushing differential, averaging over 103 yards more per game than their opponent.

Key Points for Oklahoma

-Will it be Knight or Bell that will start behind center for the Sooners? Personally, my choice would be Blake Bell. He plays his game similar to Tim Tebow, which works just fine as long as he limits his mistakes. Bell is also much more proficient in his passing as he completes 60% of his throws compared to Knight's 52%.
- Led by star corner Aaron Colvin, the Sooners rank 15th in pass defense. However, the secondary has faltered against better competition.
-To be successful, Oklahoma must run the football. They averaged 7.1 runs per game of 10+ yards. Running back Brennan Clay had 23 such runs while quarterback Trevor Knight had 16 of those runs.

Prediction: This one is pretty obvious, Alabama should win, but the big spread is definitely in question.

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