Nick Saban is on the hunt for a fifth National Championship as his Alabama team faces Michigan State in the College Football Playoff semifinal.
Cotton Bowl Odds
Point spread: Alabama Crimson Tide -9.5
Current College Football Bowl Odds
Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama hasn’t lost since September – which shouldn’t be surprising to anyone. The Crimson Tide rank second overall in total defence, first in rushing defence, third in points allowed and also have Heisman Trophy- winning running back Derrick Henry anchoring their offence. That’s without even mentioning legendary head coach Nick Saban, who lives for big games like these. Henry could easily be the difference after he rushed for nearly 2000 yards to go along with 23 touchdowns on 5.9 yards per carry. He’s the real deal and when you combine his rushing and Alabama’s nasty defence, the Tide can play keep-away with the best teams in the country.
Michigan State Spartans
Oddsmakers aren’t giving Michigan State much respect with this point spread. The Spartans started the season by failing to cover a single point spread in their first six games, but rallied to go 5-1-1 against the spread to finish the season. The Spartans rely on a balanced offence and a run defence that ranks seventh nationally, but even though quarterback Connor Cook will start, it’s fair to have concerns about his shoulder injury. If Michigan State can’t move the ball on the ground, Cook is going to have to step up against a lot of pressure.
College Football Playoff Prediction
Nothing against Michigan State, which has had a storybook season, but Alabama will likely be too much here. The Crimson Tide are too much to handle just about everywhere, from the coaching and preparation to the nastiness of the defence, to the tremendous talents of Derrick Henry. For the Spartans to score and upset, a number of things would have to go very, very wrong for Alabama and the Tide’s roster is too deep to allow that to happen. It’s a big point spread, but outside of the Tide’s lone loss they have beaten every opponent excluding at 19-14 victory over Tennessee by double digits.
Alabama Crimson Tide 27, Michigan State 13.