Alabama and Ohio State have both been tremendous on third down offensively throughout the year, which provides value to the betting total in the 2015 Sugar Bowl.
Excelling On Third Down
Alabama converted 9 of its 13 third-down opportunities in securing a 29-point victory over Missouri in the 2014 SEC Championship Game, which is important to consider when making your NCAA football picks, as it entered that affair ranked third nationally in that all-important statistical category.
The Crimson Tide are capable of scoring points against any team if they protect the football, but they do enter this high-profile matchup with a minus-one turnover differential, while their opponent has scored 118 points off opponent’ miscues.
Over the last two-plus seasons, the squad has gone OVER the betting total in six of seven opportunities when playing on a neutral field.
Moving the Chains
Ohio State finished just behind Alabama in moving the chains on 85 of its 165 chances on third down, which can’t be ignored when looking over the College Football odds, as its an impressive number given the fact that it had a redshirt freshman signal-caller for virtually the entire year.
J.T. Barrett entered fall camp as the No. 3 option at the position, but he won 11 of his 12 starts under the watchful eye of third-year head coach Urban Meyer—finishing with a Big Ten-record 45 total touchdowns.
The Ohio State Buckeyes are capable of moving the ball against a defense that ranked 11th nationally during the regular season in total yards allowed, as they’ve averaged 6.3 yards per carry since 2013.
The Alabama Crimson Tide may offer some value in the first-half betting market, as they’ve scored in the opening 30 minutes of play in 102 consecutive games, including 21 points versus Missouri last time out.
Watch for Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin to take some downfield shots with quarterback Blake Sims targeting Amari Cooper, as the group is on a record-setting pace in terms of total offense.
Since Meyer arrived in Columbus in 2012, Ohio State has been one of five teams among the Power conferences to average at least 40 points per game over that period of time—joining Baylor, Oregon, Florida State and Texas A&M.
With plenty of time to coach up Cardale Jones under center, the Buckeyes may have an opportunity to eclipse the 500-yard mark offensively—something they actually did in four consecutive games during the 2014 regular season.
I’m going to recommend that readers play the total as one of their College Football pick, as the OVER is 21-6 in the Buckeyes last 27 overall games, while the Crimson Tide have gone above the number in seven of their last eight postseason contests.
Free College Football Pick: Over 58.5 at Pinnacle Sports