NCAAF Betting: Alabama to Win the National Championship
It’s true that the Clemson Tigers are the nation’s only undefeated team — and it’s true that they had their way with the Oklahoma Sooners in their semifinal of the College Football Playoff. However, the demolition that the Alabama Crimson Tide applied to the Michigan State Spartans should tell you that Alabama should be your NCAAF betting favorite in the title game on January 11. Here are three reasons.
— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) January 7, 2016
Defense, Defense, Defense!
By just about every statistical measure, the Alabama Crimson Tide have one of the best defenses in the land. According to the Defensive S&P+ ratings applied by Football Outsiders, Alabama is #1 in the nation in each category except for passing downs defense (where they are “only” #3). Their overall rating (a permitted points per game, adjusted for opponents), is 7.6, easily #1 in the nation. The next best team, Michigan, is almost twice as high, as 13.0. Alabama only permitted 113 plays of 10+ yards, #2 in the nation. Opponents only converted 27.92 of their third downs, a rate that ranked Alabama at #5. They only permitted 74 yards per game on the ground. They did permit 184.2 yards per game through the air (#16), which means that the passing game is their only weakness — if being #16 in the nation is a weakness. Opponents only completed 49.1 percent of their passes.
They Have the Heisman Trophy NCAAF Betting Winner
Derrick Henry quietly (if that’s possible) ran for 1,986 yards (a Crimson Tide record) and 23 scores. He was responsible for 36.1 percent of the team’s offensive production. Having a strong rushing game helps you win the time of possession battle, which Alabama certainly did, holding the ball for 33:52 per game. With Henry coming at you over and over, the Tide wears down the defense of the opposition. So when the fourth quarter comes, the defense has little left in the tank. That’s why 8 of the team’s 21 runs for at least 20 yards took place in the fourth quarter this year.
Don’t Forget Those Lines
The defensive line has at least eight players who are already at NFL talent levels, which means that the depth and talent are considerable. This was the only group to rank in the nation’s top 10 in adjusted line yards (#2) and adjusted sack rate (#3). They were #1 in the nation with 46 sacks.
The offensive line is also a terrific group, anchored by Ryan Kelly, the center who won the Rimington Award. The team was #13 in the nation in adjusted line yards, and they are particularly skilled at one-on-one blocking, which frees up the line to do a lot of pushing to the second level to create big running lanes.
So as good as Clemson is, the numbers don’t lie — and Alabama made those numbers in the SEC West. The smart money goes on the Crimson Tide to win the national championship this year.