NCAAF National Championship Odds for Week 13: Is it Alabama’s to Lose?

Nothing extraordinary happened over the weekend. No contenders lost. A new contender did not emerge. Theoretically, the national championship picture did not change. But it still might have been one of the more impactful weekends of the season.

How so?

Well, Clemson saw their game get postponed at the last minute. Assuming they get to play this week against Pitt, they will have had three weeks off since their last game (the loss to Notre Dame). Trevor Lawrence has not played in over a month.   

Few coaches prepare their teams as well as Dabo Swinney does, but if there happens to be a little rust and the Tigers do not play well… An upset loss at this point will eliminate them from playoff consideration.

Clemson is favored by close to four touchdowns, but this is 2020—crazier things have happened.

But Clemson not playing is far from the most impactful thing that happened over the weekend regarding the national championship picture.

College Football National Championship Odds: There’s A Chink in the Alabama Armor

Clemson’s (+350; odds via DraftKings) long layoff could prove problematic for them. With the loss to Notre Dame, they must run the table to make the playoffs. A loss, whether it is to Notre Dame in the ACC title game, or someone else will eliminate them.

Notre Dame (+1400) was off last weekend, so their outlook has not changed. They might remain in the top four if they lose to Clemson in the ACC title game, but they will be out more than likely.

Alabama (+135) did not face much of a challenge against Kentucky, so we learned nothing new about them. But from what we have seen, teams can score on Alabama. However, the hard part for most teams will be stopping Alabama from scoring.

The most interesting development over the weekend had to be the close call that Ohio State (+225) had. In their first three games, the Buckeyes did not face much of a challenge from anyone. Subsequently, they appeared to be fantastic on both sides of the ball—and nearly impossible to beat.

But then Indiana almost pulled it off by throwing for nearly 500 yards against the Ohio State defense.

Now, the Buckeyes are not going to be facing another good passing team until the playoffs. But if Indiana can decimate their secondary, Clemson and Alabama will be able to do so much more.

Florida (+1000) still belongs in the conversation and looked great in a win over Vanderbilt. But even if they beat Alabama in the SEC title game, they might not get in. Their best hope is to beat Alabama and for Notre Dame to beat Clemson.

That way, Notre Dame moves up to No. 1, but Alabama will not fall out of the top four. But a Clemson loss will knock the Tigers out, which would make room for Florida to move in. If they make it in, they have the kind of offense that could win it all.

Can the Boys from Bryant Make a Bang in the NCAAF National Championship Odds?

However, depending on how the Committee seats Florida and Texas A&M, the Aggies could be the team moving into the top four (+20000). With how well their defense is playing and their run game, they might be able to make things interesting if they make it in.

But they are going to be massive underdogs to whoever they face.

One team that has not been in the national title conversation, and will probably not win it, could impact it. But Northwestern could certainly affect who plays in the title game. With how well their defense is playing, Ohio State will have their hands full in the Big Ten title game.

If Northwestern (+5000) does win the Big Ten, they will probably not make the playoffs. But they will knock Ohio State out of the running—and potentially open a door for Florida or Texas A&M.

So, the teams viewed as contenders going into the weekend still are. But no one really looks as invulnerable as they once did. If any contenders play less than their best the rest of the way, their national championship dreams could end.

Kentucky Wildcats at No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide Betting Preview

Saturday, November 21, 2020, Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 4 p.m. ET

Wildcats at Crimson Tide Betting Preview: Wildcats (+30.5), Crimson Tide (-30.5)

Kentucky Wildcats Betting Preview

The Wildcats (3-4, 3-4 Southeastern Conference) are coming off a 38-35 win over Vanderbilt last weekend. Chris Rodriguez rushed for a career high 149 yards on 13 carries, including two scores, but the Wildcats struggled to put away the Commodores.

Vandy rallied from two second-half deficits of 17 points to make it a tight game. The defensive effort didn’t sit well with Wildcats coach Mark Stoops.

“Defensively, terribly inconsistent,” Stoops said. “We have a lot of work to do. There’s no excuse. They want somebody else to make the play, they want some miraculous call to stop the play.”

Stoops is still waiting to see a good effort on both sides of the ball in the same game.

“We’re terribly inconsistent on one side or the other. We’ve not put it all together. It’s frustrating. I can promise you this, it’s not for lack of effort,” he said. “The sense of urgency needs to be greater, the attention to detail throughout an entire game needs to be greater.”

Rodriguez and his 568 rushing yards lead the Wildcats, and Josh Ali’s 34 catches and 343 yard lead the receivers. Senior quarterback Terry Wilson averages 119 passing yards and 56 rushing yards per game.

Crimson Tide Betting Preview

No. 1 Alabama hasn’t played since Halloween after last week’s scheduled meeting with LSU was postponed due to an outbreak of COVID-19 among the Tigers. The Crimson Tide (6-0, 6-0 Southeastern Conference) had a scheduled open date on Nov. 7.

The Tide’s high-powered offense is averaging 46.5 points per game at home, with an average of 555 yards per game over six contests. On defense, Alabama shut out Mississippi State 41-0 in Tuscaloosa the last time out.

“We fully intend to be able to play this game and we certainly have enough players that are healthy enough to do that,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “Physically we’ve been able to take care of our players, psychologically is the real challenge for them to be able to stay focused on the things that they need to do continue to improve and play at a high level, especially when we’re halfway through the season.”

Next week, Alabama is planning its usual holiday fare: the Iron Bowl, Nov. 28 against Auburn.

Running back Najee Harris has 718 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns, and senior wide receiver DeVonta Smith is the leading receiver with 56 catches for 759 yards and eight touchdowns.

Smith caught all four of quarterback Mac Jones’ touchdown passes against the Bulldogs. Jones has thrown for 2,196 yards and 16 touchdowns this season. His passing yards are the most by any Alabama quarterback through the first six games of a season in program history.

The Tide have scored 35 or more points in 19 straight games, the longest streak in major college football history, and have 29 straight wins over SEC East opponents.

Wildcats at Crimson Tide Betting Pick

The Tide lead the series 37-2-1 and have won all 11 meetings in Tuscaloosa and six in a row overall. The two teams have played five common opponents this year with Alabama owning wins over Missouri 38-19, Ole Miss 63-48, Georgia 41-24, Tennessee 48-17, and Mississippi State 41-8 and Kentucky losing to Missouri 20-10, Ole Miss 42-41 in overtime, and Georgia 14-3, and beating Mississippi State 24-2 and Tennessee 34-7.

Wildcats at Crimson Tide Betting Pick:

Crimson Tide 45, Wildcats 17

Wildcats at Crimson Tide Best Bet

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones needs one more 400-yard passing game to tie the SEC record currently shared by LSU’s Joe Burrow (2019), Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel (213), and Kentucky’s Tim Couch (1998). The Wildcats have allowed only one foe (Ole Miss with 325) to top the 300-yard mark this season.

Wildcats at Crimson Tide Best Bet: OVER 57.5

–Field Level Media