Well, Cincinnati has done it. A Group Of Five team has made it into the College Football Playoff.
As the No. 4 seed, the Bearcats will take on the newly crowned No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide in this year’s Goodyear Cotton Bowl. We all thought the Tide would lose to the Georgia Bulldogs, but they handled them with ease.
Ironically, this is probably a better matchup for the Bearcats.
Below, we have some props that we’ve found from a few different books, as well as some projected player props.
Let’s see how this American East team stacks up against the kings of the SEC.
Please note that all NCAAF gameday odds and lines are current as of 12 p.m. ET on December 6, 2021.
Cincinnati vs. Alabama Prop Bets: Cotton Bowl Prop Betting Picks
First Half Spread: Bearcats +7 (-105) at Caesars
Although they are from a land distant from the SEC, the Bearcats have proven time and time again that they are more than just a good team amongst bad competition. Cincinnati has NFL talent on the roster, including EDGE Myjai Sanders, cornerback Ahmad “Sauce" Gardner, and even quarterback Desmond Ridder, who could all hear their names called on draft day.
Ridder is not afraid to throw the ball downfield with his nearly 11.0 average depth of target. In fact, 19.2 percent of his attempts have been on passes 20-plus yards downfield. He has nearly 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns on such plays.
While the Crimson Tide performed beyond anyone’s expectation against Georgia, Georgia doesn’t exactly have an offense that has the firepower to make up a large deficit, as evidenced by the SEC Championship Game.
The Alabama defense definitely still has its holes, too. And the Bearcats passing attack, while not the strongest in college football, has shown an eagerness to throw, which should allow them to hang around for a bit—at least during the first half.
At -105 you’re getting back a bit more juice than if you were to take the Alabama -7 side (-115).
Check out the best NFL prop bets to make with our props comparison tool, including projections to help you make the best decisions.
Click “Place Bet" to unlock the associated sportsbook’s welcome offer and place your NFL prop picks, including Broncos vs. Chiefs prop picks.
Learn more about NFL prop bets and the best sportsbooks for prop betting.
First Half Total: Over 29 (-120) at Caesars
Taking the Under here will actually get you a plus price, but we have to bet what we think will happen.
Both of these offenses have excellent players. It’s going to be fantastic to see Gardner go up against Crimson Tide receiver Jameson Williams all night long.
When you look at the defense of the Bearcats vs. Alabama, there is without a doubt a talent discrepancy. However, as we mentioned, there is enough on offense for the Bearcats to do some damage against a penetrable Crimson Tide defense.
At the end of the first half, something like 21-17 or 20-14 makes sense to me.
Bryce Young Passing Touchdowns: Under 3.5
This is not an actual prop bet available out there, but as time gets closer, player props should start to arise, especially for a highly anticipated game such as this.
Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young is up for the Heisman Award, and a statement performance in this game would definitely increase his already likely odds.
With 42 touchdowns on the year, his average is right around three passing touchdowns per game, hence where this line came from. I have a feeling that the player props will inflate here due to the perceived mismatch between these two teams.
This season, Young has thrown for four or more touchdowns in five games and it’s definitely possible that he reaches that threshold here. Also, with a point total set around 58 points across major sportsbooks, and a point spread nearing 14, this indicates a likely Alabama blowout.
However, I don’t believe that will be the case and this game could be closer than you’d anticipate.
As mentioned, Cincinnati does have Gardner on the backend and Sanders upfront. Gardner is going to be one of the better matchups Williams has gone against, which should limit Young’s passing prowess just a little bit.
We could see him on the move more and also see running back Brian Robinson Jr. get a bit more run after a slow day against Georgia.
Desmond Ridder Passing Yards: Over 260.5
Averaging under 245 passing yards per game this year, Ridder will need to throw quite a bit more than he is accustomed to in this matchup to hit the Over. Again, this is a projection, but if this prop is made available, the books will likely account for the need to throw. There’s also the “David vs. Goliath" storyline, so the line will be a bit higher than his per-game average.
Ridder is averaging just over 30 dropbacks per game. That will need to change. Even if they run the ball well and keep it close, the only way Cincinnati has a shot at winning this game is with Ridder throwing.
There is some risk with this prop, especially if Cincinnati doesn’t gameplan for Ridder needing to drop back more than usual. He may have to top the 44 times he dropped back against USF in Week 11.
Thanks for reading our Cincinnati vs. Alabama Cotton Bowl Prop Bets! For more Cotton Bowl betting tips, check out our ——-
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Focus (subscription required).