Peach Bowl 2016 odds
Peach Bowl 2016 predictions
Alabama Crimson Tide (-16.5) vs. Washington Huskies (+16.5) December 31
Date: December 31
Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia
Time: 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
This line for the 2016 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl should surprise literally no one. The Alabama Crimson Tide are supposed to be heavily favored over the Washington Huskies.
It’s a wonder, in fact, that the line hasn’t moved even further. Alabama opened up as a 14-point favorite but has since moved to a 16.5-point alpha. It is a big line, make no mistake, but this is to be expected.
For starters, Alabama, coached by the legendary Nick Saban, sports the top defense in the nation. The Crimson Tide allowed less than 12 points per game during the regular season, and defense becomes so much more important during the postseason dance, when teams are scrapping and clawing for possession time.
Bake in an offense that averaged nearly 250 rushing yards per contest over the course of a perfect 13-0 campaign, and it’s easy to see why the oddsmakers are putting Washington at such a stark disadvantage.
But the Huskies deploy one of the three most potent offenses in college football. They averaged 44.5 points per game during the regular season, while racking up more than 475 total yards of offense every week. They pose a legitimate test even for Alabama’s stingy defense.
Still, there are some concerns about the Huskies’ regular-season competition. Their strength of schedule ranked 31st in college football, compared to the Crimson Tide placing 18th. That November loss to a middling USC squad doesn’t do anything to inspire much confidence in their chances against Alabama.
Simple Rating System (SRS), which combines the strength of schedules and point differentials to rank teams throughout the country, has the Crimson Tide as the absolute best program around this year. While the Huskies check in at third, their margin of victory doesn’t stand up to the Crimson Tide’s monstrous differential.
Alabama beat opponents by around 28.7 points per game during the regular season—more than four touchdowns. Washington outpaced opponents by 27.3 points per tilt—impressive, but still not as good.
Indeed, a mere 1.4 points doesn’t sound like much. But we are talking about every week. And we are talking about a Crimson Tide group that, statistically, battled through a much tougher schedule yet still won by more points, every week, without ever suffering a loss.
What’s bizarre, though, is the line relative to the over/under.
Oddsmakers have the Crimson Tide winning by more than two touchdowns, but without the two teams combining for more than 54 points. This is beyond hard to do. And while it is something the Crimson Tide did religiously, almost on cue, in previous weeks, this is much different.
The competition is stiffer, and most importantly, the quality of their opponent’s offense is better. Washington can burn you through the air or on the ground, and a top-ranked defense should not be able to hold them to less than two touchdowns.
And if we are to assume that the Huskies will amass at least 14 or 17 points, it’s hard to like the under. The Crimson Tide can put points on the board themselves, and it will probably take one of their routine, albeit still ridiculous, 40-plus point outings to snag a victory by 17 or more points.
In other words, it is smart to pick the Crimson Tide. It would be a major upset if they didn’t win by a sizable double-digit margin. But respect Washington’s point-piling machine as well. It’s for real, and this is not a game that should include a cumulative points total south of 60.
The Pick: Alabama Crimson Tide (-16.5), over
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