Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:15 AM EST odds are subject to change.
Kansas St +7½ over Alabama
Allstate Sugar Bowl – Caesars Superdome, New Orleans, LA
12:00 PM EST. It seems repetitive every year when the bowl season approaches that we say that Alabama is a team that requires no introduction, as they are the gold standard of college football and one must pay a premium to get behind Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide, especially on New Year’s Eve (da) when even the most casual of fans will watch (and bet).
In an era where even marquee bowls can be diminished by opt-outs (and where the length of the schedule often leaves postseason rosters significantly weakened by injury), this game promises to be just as good as advertised. The only absences for either team will be the few players who have entered the portal or are still recovering from injuries, and every major star on both sides is set to participate.
Kansas State will have quarterback Will Howard, dual-threat rusher Deuce Vaughn, and receiver Malik Knowles to lead the way on offense, while edge rusher Felix Anudike-Uzomah and cornerback Julius Brents will be the standouts on defense. The Wildcats were one of the most balanced teams in FBS this season, and making a switch at quarterback was the final puzzle piece that made them unstoppable down the stretch. In their last five games with Howard under center, K-State went 5-0, averaging 41 points per game with over 30 points in every game. Howard himself threw 13 touchdowns and just one interception in that span.
Alabama’s two best players (arguably the two best players in college football) quarterback Bryce Young and linebacker Will Anderson also elected to play in the Sugar Bowl and not opt-out despite being penciled in as top-five overall picks in the forthcoming NFL Draft. Indeed, we applaud the two captains for their leadership and team-first attitude but the market has absolutely salivated over the breaking news.
Alabama at one point this season was ranked as the top team in America and pegged by many to win the National Championship, as Alabama is expected to do every year. Kansas State started the season unranked and incredulously won the Big 12 title and now sits #9 in the country. The Sugar Bowl will be seen as a step down for Alabama while it is billed as a grand chance for Kansas State to square off with college football royalty. The market and media’s fascination with Alabama and its pedigree has elevated the price to the point that we cannot recommend getting behind.
Against Texas, Ole Miss, and Texas A&M, the Tide won by an average margin of 3.7 points and could have lost those games just as easily as they had won them if the aforementioned opponents didn’t find ways to beat themselves. Kansas State meanwhile has some wins to marvel in, as they defeated TCU in the Big 12 Championship (who was undefeated and ranked #3), rolled the then defending Big 12 conference champion Baylor 31-3, shutout #9-ranked Oklahoma State 48-0, and for what it’s worth beat #6 Oklahoma in Norman in September. In their regular-season loss against TCU, K-State led by as much as 18 and the Wildcats also led against Tulane before both games got away from them. Alabama’s namesake has the market completely disavowing all of what we mentioned. This is an even matchup, a fair fight if you will and therefore, we must adamantly suggest you take the points and cash the ticket.
Kansas St +7½ -110 (Risking 2.20 units - To Win: 2.00)