College Football Betting: Cotton Bowl – ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE vs. MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS (12/31)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL — December 31

Cotton Bowl @ Arlington, TX
ALABAMA vs. MICHIGAN STATE

(America’s Bookie Line: Alabama -10, Total 44.5) — Obviously, Alabama has the Heisman Trophy winner in Derrick Henry (1986 yards), and that is going to be a major challenge for Michigan State, which has allowed just 3.6 yards per carry but may have to sell out anyway in order to stop him. Jacob Coker is a guy who could not when the starting quarterback job for Alabama last season, and had a battle with freshmen and walk-ons this season in the fall. Can the Crimson Tide win on his arm? That may be a question that is tested.

There is no doubting the ability of the Alabama defense, which has permitted only 13.5 first downs per game, 74 rushing yards per contest and 5.8 yards per passing attempt. They put a lot of pressure on the quarterback with 46 sacks. There are a lot of great numbers you can attribute to them. But Connor Cook, considered a top NFL prospect, is one of the few pro-style quarterbacks they will have faced this season, and the results of Nick Saban’s team against one previous guys like that, Chad Kelly of Ole Miss, was not so favorable.

Michigan State had five victories by four points or less, which may or may not say something about them. They do know how to play the close games, but having a close game with a team like Purdue is not a feather in your cap. However, facing down a team like Ohio State, in Columbus, without your starting quarterback, and allowing just 132 yards and FIVE first downs is about as exceptional a performancee aswe can think of. The Spartans did a great job against the rushing attacks of Oregon, Michigan, Iowa and, of course, Ohio State, limiting Ezekiel Elliott, who ran wild over everybody, including Alabama, last season on the way to the national title, to just 33 yards.

Michigan State has a +16 turnover margin, a record of 10-1 ATS in its last 11 as an underdog, and a quarterback in Cook with 38 career starts and 34 victories. They are well worth grabbing the double digits with.

PLAY BY JAY: MICHIGAN STATE +10 ***

(All information is for news matter only; All games are graded on a scale of 1-4 stars. Lines are subject to change)