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Alabama vs Kansas State Sugar Bowl Predictions, Picks & Best Bets

Dan Kilbridge for Bookies.com

Dan Kilbridge  | 6 mins

Alabama vs Kansas State Sugar Bowl Predictions, Picks & Best Bets

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Alabama faithful won’t be throwing any parades in Tuscaloosa after a 10-2 finish, but the party is always raging in the Big Easy as the No. 5 Crimson Tide match up with No. 9 Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl at Caesars Superdome. 

This is just the second time in eight years that Alabama is missing out on the College Football Playoff, but it still won’t sit well with coach Nick Saban after the Tide went off as the preseason college football betting favorites to win the national championship. 

It’s been tough to handicap this Tide team all season. On one hand, they haven’t really passed the eyeball test from week-to-week when compared to recent Tide teams. On the other hand, they were really just two plays away from running the table and earning a No. 1 seed in the CFP. 

The Tide gave up a field goal to Tennessee with no time left for a 52-49 loss in mid-October, and they gave up the game-winning two-point conversion in a 32-31 loss to LSU in mid-November. 

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Kansas State is back in a New Year’s Six bowl for the first time since 2012, when they took a 29-16 loss to Arkansas. The Wildcats flew under the radar for most of the season after a 17-10 loss to Tulane, which was unranked at the time but has since risen to No. 16. They had some seriously impressive wins, including Oklahoma and Kansas, to get to the Big 12 title game where they upset CFP-bound TCU in a 31-28 overtime win. 

It all led to this for Kansas State, a chance at one of the biggest program wins in decades. We’ll see if Alabama has something to say about that. 

Alabama vs Kansas State Point Spread Prediction

Alabama is favored by nearly a touchdown, going off at -6 according to the latest college football lines. The Tide were favored in every game this season and went 5-6-1 against the spread. They were certainly overvalued by oddsmakers in the second half, going just 1-5-1 ATS over the last seven games. It was quite a turnaround for a team that successfully covered a -49.5 line in a 63-7 win over Louisiana Monroe in Week 3. 

Kansas State fared far better at the sportsbooks. Kansas betting apps went live at the beginning of the college season and the Wildcats were one of the most valuable teams in the country at 9-3-1 ATS, including four straight covers to finish the regular season. They were underdogs five times and went 3-2 ATS in those spots. 

The Wildcats should be close to full strength for this game, while Alabama is missing a few contributors at receiver and on the offensive line. Quarterback Bryce Young is expected to play and the offense shouldn’t be too far off regardless of the transfers. 

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He chewed up weak secondaries all season but tended to struggle against the really strong defensive backs groups. Kansas State is really strong at defensive back. Texas was the only opponent to throw for 300-plus yards all season, and Kansas State held the Horned Frogs to just 199 yards through the air in the Big 12 title game. 

Stopping Alabama at the line of scrimmage will be a much bigger challenge, but we believe Kansas State can do enough offensively to hang tough for four quarters. 

We’re on Kansas State +6.

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Alabama vs Kansas State Moneyline Prediction

Alabama will certainly be one of the most popular moneyline picks for all of bowl season at -230. But the Kansas State line is juicy enough at +195 on Kansas betting sites to attract serious attention as well. These teams aren’t far off statistically. 

Games like this always present an interesting challenge for Nick Saban – how do you motivate players for a bowl game outside of the CFP when you’ve already made it clear that anything less than a national championship is a failure? 

Whatever he does, it seems to piss his players off. It also seems to work. When regular-season losses to LSU and Auburn had Alabama out of the CFP in 2019, they responded by pounding Michigan in a 35-16 Sugar Bowl win. When the Tide ripped off three national titles in four years from 2009-2012, the one down year resulted in a Capital One Bowl appearance against Michigan State. The Tide beat the Spartans 49-7 in one of the most violent and mismatched blowout wins you’ll ever see on the college gridiron.    

The point is, we’re not worried about motivation for Alabama. The Tide are still the more talented team and should win a tight one. 

We’re on Alabama moneyline at -230.

Alabama vs Kansas State Over/Under Prediction

Betting apps have the total right around 56 and we see it as too close to call. If we were forced to make a pick, we’d look at the fact that these teams boast two of the top secondaries in the country and love to establish the run on offense. 

We do think the Wildcats will be forced to air it out more than normal against this Tide front seven, but they won’t totally change their identity. And they have the potential to frustrate the Alabama offense. Again, we could see this total going either way. We lean slightly on the Under. 

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About the Author

Dan Kilbridge for Bookies.com
Dan Kilbridge
Handicapper Dan Kilbridge writes about college football, MLB and other sports for Bookies.com after spending three years covering Tiger Woods’ comeback and the PGA for Golfweek.