Cincinnati vs. Alabama Odds, Player Props: Our Top CFP Bets for Jerome Ford, Desmond Ridder & Ryan Montgomery
Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jerome Ford.
Cincinnati vs. Alabama Odds
-115o / -105u
-115o / -105u
Alabama vs. Cincinnati is one of the biggest College Football Playoff games in recent memory from a storyline perspective. But even more, the Cotton Bowl has plenty of valuable player prop bets across the board.
Our staff came through with three of their top player props for Friday’s game, and they’re all on the Bearcats, including running back Jerome Ford and quarterback Desmond Ridder.
So, check out all three of our top player props below. Let’s end 2021 on a high note.
Jerome Ford is averaging over 100 rushing yards per game and has surpassed this number in eight of his 12 games. On the year, he’s ranked 20th in rushing yards and seventh in rushing touchdowns while averaging 6.2 yards per carry.
His 89.5 rushing grade, 50 missed tackles forced and 31 explosive runs all lead the American Athletic Conference, per Pro Football Focus.
He’s also running into a buzzsaw with this Alabama run defense.
There are some question marks about the Tide’s coverage unit, but the same can’t be said for their ability to stop the run, with Alabama ranked second in yards before contact per attempt, fourth in EPA allowed per carry, and first in PFF run-defense grade.
Individually, edge defender Will Anderson’s 90.5 run defense grade ranks second in the nation at his position, while teammate Byron Young’s 90.2 run defense grade ranks third among all interior defenders.
There have only been two running backs to surpass this number against Alabama this year: LSU’s Tyrion Davis-Price and Florida’s Malik Davis. Other than that, opposing running backs haven’t gotten anything against this group.
While Cincinnati’s been able to get it done on the ground for the most part this season, it hasn’t played a team anywhere near Alabama’s caliber, and it’s not hard to see an offensive line that ranks 50th in PFF run-blocking grade get overpowered by this Alabama front.
That, combined with the high probability of Cincinnati playing this game in catch-up mode from behind, makes it tough to see Ford having a big game on Friday.
Pick: Jerome Ford Under 67.5 Rushing Yards
By Doug Ziefel
After entering the season as a dark horse Heisman Trophy candidate, Desmond Ridder did not exactly fulfill those lofty expectations on multiple occasions this season.
Though, when it was all said and done, he was 23rd in passing yards and held a 30:8 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Many of his “down” performances can be attributed to game script. It was no secret that the Bearcats could run at will with Jerome Ford, and with no real flaws in that plan, utilizing Ridder was put on the backburner.
That will not be the case in the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide. This Tide defense is going to be the toughest test Cincinnati has faced all season, and like many others, I believe it’s up to the task.
Though, for Cincinnati to have success on offense, Ridder will have to throw because no one runs on Alabama.
The Alabama secondary has been beaten on multiple occasions this year, and the numbers show it. The Tide are 93rd in opponent completion percentage allowed and 65th in passing yards allowed per game. That average allowed per game is 228 yards — 13 yards less than what we need from Ridder here.
To continue with averages, despite his up-and-down totals, Ridder averages 245 passing yards per game.
Lastly, this is the one game that Ridder will be game-script-proof. As I said earlier, I expect Ridder to throw early and often, but if Cincy goes down early, he will be throwing for the duration of the game.
Pick: Desmond Ridder Over 240.5 Passing Yards
Running against Alabama has been a near-impossible task this season. The Crimson Tide have been historically good at stopping the run, allowing just 2.6 yards per carry against FBS teams (second in the nation).
When you remove the Florida debacle from the equation, Alabama has allowed an insane 2.1 yards per carry.
The group held Auburn to 22 yards on 40 carries, New Mexico State to nine yards on 27 carries and Mississippi State to -1 yards on 19 attempts. The NFL-like front seven has produced 107 tackles for loss this season, which means Cincinnati is going to have a tough time finding running room.
Ryan Montgomery is the backup running back for the Bearcats — he also returns punts.
Montgomery has been efficient, averaging 6.1 yards per rush when he gets the rock. The issue is, he averages only 3.4 carries per game and had three separate games with zero rushing attempts.
Montgomery may not even see the ball in this game, especially if the Bearcats are trailing and need to go with a more pass-heavy approach.
But if he does, there is a better chance that Alabama gets to him in the backfield than him hitting 18 rushing yards in this game.
Pick: Ryan Montgomery Under 17.5 Rushing Yards
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