Alabama vs Oklahoma 2018 Orange Bowl Odds & Prediction

Posted by Derrick Harper on December 26, 2018 in

Defending national champion Alabama faces Heisman winner Kyler Murray and Oklahoma in the 2018 Orange Bowl in a College Football Playoff semifinal on Saturday, Dec. 29. Find a prediction, time, TV channel and a preview below. The Crimson Tide comes in as the NCAAF Betting favorite.

Alabama vs Oklahoma 2018 Orange Bowl Odds & Prediction

Crimson Tide Top Ranked

Alabama is 13-0 and picked up the No. 1 ranking in the final CFP rankings of the season. Oklahoma and coach Lincoln Riley are 12-1 and No. 4. While coach Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide won the title a season ago, the Sooners lost to Georgia in a CFP semifinal in the Rose Bowl.

Some things of note here would include the fact that Alabama’s defense is down this year, Tua was recently hurt but is still one of the best quarterbacks in the country, and Oklahoma has an outstanding offensive line. All of these things might make someone think the Sooners might have a chance to upset the reigning king of the hill, but I’m not quite sold just yet. The coaching matchup isn’t even close. Nick Saban is far better at coaching defense than Lincoln Riley is as coaching against a good one. Riley has had two Heisman quarterbacks in back to back years, yet still hasn’t accomplished the ultimate goal of a National Championship.

Fair or unfair, until he delivers more serious hardware, he remains a bit of a boy wonder, rather than the caped crusader himself. If Lincoln Riley wants to change the perception of himself, his team, or his conference, he will have to play a full game including dominant play from all three facets of the game. He needs a complete package.

Even if QB Tua Tagovaila isn’t completely healthy, Jalen Hurts proved he is ready to be the difference-maker thanks to his heroics in rallying the Tide against Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.

Sooners Score a Ton

On paper, Oklahoma probably won’t offer up too much resistance against Alabama. The Sooners might score 49.5 points per game, but they allow 448 yards and 32 points per game. Those 448 yards rank 108th nationally. Even though some of that is because the offense is so deadly and can score quickly, that’s still a huge discrepancy among the rest of the College Football Playoff teams. Alabama, for instance, averages more points than Oklahoma, but even the Tide surrender only 295.4 yards per game which rank 10th in the country.

Alabama vs Oklahoma is going to be a close one.

Murray might need to play an almost-perfect game, with the Sooners turning this into a shootout with a score approaching arena football levels. Turnovers could be the great equalizer, but Alabama is too tested and too good to bet against now. I’ll take the Tide to take it to Oklahoma by a score of 48 – 37.

Pick and Prediction for 2018 Orange Bowl

After all, the Tide is a team that produces in a similar fashion to the Sooners, but that defensive unit, despite being down for a traditional Nick Saban led Alabama team, don’t forget is still giving up less than 300 yards per game, less than 15 points per game and ranks 10th in the country as a unit. The combination of their defensive stubbornness and their abilities on offense will keep the repeat in play, for one more week at least.