Cotton Bowl 2021: Odds, Daily Fantasy Tips for Cincinnati vs. Alabama

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIDecember 30, 2021

Cotton Bowl 2021: Odds, Daily Fantasy Tips for Cincinnati vs. Alabama

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    Vasha Hunt/Associated Press

    As the heavy favorite to win the Cotton Bowl, Alabama is expected to score a lot of points and power its way back to the College Football Playoff National Championship. But in that scenario, Cincinnati could keep up to turn Friday's CFP semifinal matchup into an offensive shootout.

    The Crimson Tide and Bearcats are both loaded with talented offensive players who have had impressive seasons. And if Cincinnati is going to make the Cotton Bowl a close game or potentially even pull off an upset, it will likely have to do so by putting up a lot of points.

    If you're planning on playing daily fantasy during Friday's playoff action, then you're likely going to want to include several Alabama and Cincinnati players in your lineup. Not least because the Orange Bowl matchup between Michigan and Georgia figures to be a defensive battle.

    Here's a look at the key info for the Cotton Bowl, one of the two CFP semifinal matchups, along with several players you should consider playing in DFS.  

Game Information, Odds

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    Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

    Cotton Bowl Info

    Date: Friday, Dec. 31

    Start Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

    TV: ESPN

    Live Stream: ESPN app


    Game Odds

    Spread: Alabama -13.5

    Over/Under: 57 total points

    Moneyline: Alabama -525 (bet $525 to win $100); Cincinnati +385 (bet $100 to win $385)

Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    When you're constructing your DFS lineup for the College Football Playoff action Friday, don't overthink it. Bryce Young may be the most expensive player, but the Alabama quarterback should be at the core of your lineup. The Heisman Trophy winner will likely have a big performance in the Cotton Bowl.

    Young ($9,000 on DraftKings; $12,000 on FanDuel) is having a special season. He's passed for 4,322 yards, 43 touchdowns and only four interceptions, and he's thrown for more than 300 yards in seven of his past eight games.

    In the SEC Championship Game against Georgia, Young passed for 421 yards and three touchdowns against one of the best defenses in the country. If he can do that against the Bulldogs, he should have no trouble putting up big numbers against Cincinnati.

    Spend big to get Young in your lineup, and then enjoy watching the best player in college football this season have another terrific showing.

Jerome Ford, RB, Cincinnati

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    Jeff Dean/Associated Press

    Alabama has the No. 4 run defense in the country (82.8 rushing yards allowed per game), so Cincinnati may not rack up a ton of yardage on the ground in the Cotton Bowl. However, nearly every team has struggled to keep Bearcats junior running back Jerome Ford out of the end zone this season.

    Ford has 20 touchdowns this year (19 rushing and one receiving), and he's scored in 11 of his 12 games. He's also coming off a big performance in the AAC Championship Game, in which he ran for 187 yards and two touchdowns.

    Although Ford comes at a fairly high DFS price ($7,200 on DraftKings; $8,500 on FanDuel), it's hard to imagine he won't score at least one touchdown in the Cotton Bowl. He may not have his best showing against the Crimson Tide's tough defensive front, but his nose for the end zone makes him a solid DFS option.

    If the Bearcats are going to have success in the Cotton Bowl, they will likely need Ford to score at least one touchdown. Expect him to do just that.

Ja'Corey Brooks, WR, Alabama

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Alabama lost one of its top receivers when John Metchie III tore his left ACL in the SEC Championship Game, leaving its receiving corps short-handed for the matchup against Cincinnati, which ranks second in the country in pass defense (168.3 yards allowed per game).

    There's a good chance that the Bearcats are going to try to take away junior Jameson Williams, the Tide's clear No. 1 wide receiver for the matchup. And if they are successful, then Alabama may have to rely on less experienced playmakers to step up and give Young receivers to throw to.

    Ja'Corey Brooks has only five catches in 2021, but one of those was among the biggest of Alabama's season. He caught the game-tying 28-yard touchdown pass in the final minute of regulation against Auburn on Nov. 27, a contest the Tide went on to win in four overtimes.

    With Brooks coming at a bargain DFS price ($3,900 on DraftKings; $5,500 on FanDuel), it's worth taking a chance on him as a wide receiver who could have an increased role in the Cotton Bowl. And considering he's already shown his big-play potential, he may break out with increased opportunities Friday.


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