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Cincinnati vs. Alabama 2021 Cotton Bowl Odds, Preview & Pick

By Hank Blaine

While Alabama has won three national championships in the College Football Playoff era, the top-ranked Crimson Tide have yet to repeat. They are favored to do so, however, as well as nearly two-TD favorites over Cinderella and No. 4 Cincinnati in the Cotton Bowl semifinals on New Year’s Eve.

Alabama and Cincinnati will meet for the sixth time overall. The Crimson Tide won the previous five by a combined score of 156-27 but they haven’t played since 1990. Alabama head coach Nick Saban has never faced Cincinnati during his time as a collegiate head coach. Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell has never squared off with the Crimson Tide during his six-year head coaching career.

Check out the latest College Football odds, analysis, and a free pick for Cincinnati vs. Alabama.

Cincinnati vs. Alabama 2021 Cotton Bowl Game Information

READ MORE: Georgia vs. Michigan 2021 Orange Bowl Odds, Preview & Pick

Why Bet on the Cincinnati Bearcats?

Cincinnati (13-0) is the only unbeaten team in the nation and the first Group of 5 school ever in the playoffs. Fickell was named the National Coach of the Year. He is a three-time AAC Coach of the Year, winning the conference honors in 2021, 2020 and 2018.

QB Desmond Ridder has been named AAC Offensive Player of the Year in each of the last two seasons, and he is the Bearcats’ all-time leader in passing touchdowns and the AAC leader in total yards and touchdown responsibility. In 13 games this year, Ridder has completed 65.9% of his passes for 3,190 yards with 30 touchdowns and eight picks.

Cincinnati features the nation’s top cornerback tandem in senior Coby Bryant and junior Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner. Bryant won the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation’s top defensive back, becoming the first Bearcat to win a national award since kicker Jonathan Ruffin won the Groza Award in 2000. Gardner became UC’s third ever consensus All-American.

Cincinnati and Georgia are the only two teams in the nation that rank in the Top 10 in both scoring offense (UC – 39.2, 8th) and scoring defense (UC – 16.1, 4th). Cincinnati sports a 22-1 record (.957) since the start of 2020, with the Bearcats only loss over the last 24 months coming by three points, 24-21, to Georgia in the 2020 Peach Bowl, on Jan. 1, 2021. Against ranked teams, UC is 2-0 in 2021 and 5-1 since the start of 2020. Fickell is 6-8 against ranked teams with UC.

Why Bet on the Alabama Crimson Tide?

The Tide (12-1) retook the No. 1 spot in the polls with a 41-24 domination of Georgia in the SEC title game. Quarterback Bryce Young was named the game’s MVP after setting an SEC Championship Game record with 421 passing yards on a night when he completed 26-of-44 passes for three touchdowns. He added 40 rushing yards on three attempts including a touchdown. Young’s 461 yards of total offense (421 pass, 40 rush) is also a championship game record.

Wide receiver Jameson Williams hauled in 184 receiving yards on seven catches, including two touchdowns, while John Metchie III added 97 yards and a touchdown on six catches. Williams’ 184 yards receiving ties for the second-most in the championship game with Alabama’s DeVonta Smith (184 in 2020). Metchie, though was lost for the season to injury in the game. He has 96 catches for 1,142 yards and eight scores.

Young of course won the Heisman Trophy, the first-ever Alabama quarterback to do so but second straight Tide player after Smith last year. It marks just the fifth instance a school has had back-to-back Heisman Memorial Trophy winners.

Young has completed 68.0 percent of his passes (314-462) for 4,322 yards with 43 touchdowns compared to just four interceptions. He’s third nationally in points responsible for (284), while ranking fifth in the country in passing efficiency (175.5). Young led the Alabama offense to the No. 2 third-down conversion percentage in the nation (53.6 percent), completing 71.7 percent of his third-down pass attempts (81-113) for 1,329 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Brian Robinson Jr. has been the Tide’s workhorse back this season, leading UA in attempts (223), yards (1,144) and rushing touchdowns (14). Defensively, the star is linebacker Will Anderson Jr. as he leads the nation with 15.5 sacks 32.5 tackles for loss (an NCAA record since 2000), Alabama assistant coaches Bill O’Brien and Doug Marrone tested positive for COVID-19 but should be able to return in time for the Cotton Bowl. O’Brien is the offensive coordinator and Marrone the offensive line coach. Both are former NFL head coaches.

Cincinnati vs. Alabama Betting Trends

  • Bearcats are 5-0 ATS in the last 5 games as an underdog.
  • Bearcats are 6-0 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
  • The total went under in 5 of Cincinnati’s last 7 games.
  • Crimson Tide are 5-2 ATS in the last 7 neutral site games.
  • Crimson Tide are 2-5 ATS in the last 7 games following a ATS win.
  • The total went under in 4 of Alabama’s last 6 games when playing as the favourite.

Cincinnati vs. Alabama Expert Betting Predictions

Pick: Tide advance but Bearcats cover the big number.

Check out our latest sports betting guides for the 2021 College Football season. Stay tuned for more Football previews and articles and don’t forget to check out the latest Football betting odds at our online Bitcoin sportsbook.

*All odds stated are subject to change without prior notice.