- No. 5 Alabama (10-2) is a 3.5-point favorite over No. 9 Kansas State (10-3)
- Bryce Young and Will Anderson are questionable to suit up for the Crimson Tide
- The Sugar Bowl kicks off from the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans on Dec. 31 at 12pm E.T.
After missing the College Football Playoff for only the second time in its nine-year history, Alabama will meet Kansas State for the first time ever on New Year’s Eve. While the Big 12 champions are eager for a shot at the Crimson Tide, it’s fair to wonder whether Nick Saban’s club will be motivated to win the Sugar Bowl.
Alabama (5) vs Kansas State (9)
|Spread||Money Line||Total Points|
|Kansas State||+3.5 (-115)||Ov 54.5 (-110)|
|Alabama||-3.5 (-105)||Un 54.5 (-110)|
Crimson Tide favored
Alabama is a 3.5-point favorite over Kansas State and the over/under is set at 54.5 points. Before placing any bets, understand that both Bryce Young and Will Anderson could skip the game in New Orleans. The 2021 Heisman-winning quarterback and the junior outside linebacker are both expected to be top-10 picks in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Thanks to the transfer portal, Nick Saban will also be missing two key receivers, JoJo Earle and Traeshon Holden, as well as a number of other players. There’s also the question of ‘motivation’ for those who do suit up on New Year’s Eve.
Only QB in Alabama history to have 3,000+ passing yards in back-to-back seasons:
• Bryce Young
The Crimson Tide QB is currently tied as the favorite to go first overall in the NFL Draft 👀 pic.twitter.com/ApG00a02BE
— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) December 9, 2022
Will K-State win?
The Crimson Tide’s 9-7 all-time record at the Sugar Bowl is deceiving. Since 2008, Alabama is 0-3 when the game was not part of the College Football Playoff or BCS. SEC programs are also just 3-6 in the last nine Sugar Bowls that weren’t part of the national championship structure.
Meanwhile, Kansas State is coming off a 31-28 upset victory over previously-undefeated TCU in the Big 12 Championship Game. Now, the Wildcats get to prove themselves against a college football powerhouse in their first-ever Sugar Bowl appearance.
Crimson Tide vs Wildcats
Bryce Young passed for 3,007 yards and 27 touchdowns in 2022 and Will Anderson led the SEC with 10 sacks this season. Both are unlikely to step on the field at Superdome on Dec. 31. It’s simply too risky for both soon-to-be millionaires to play in a meaningless game. After all, what’s a Sugar Bowl victory worth to Tide supporters who have witnessed six national championships in the Nick Saban era?
Will Howard will likely start at quarterback for K-State after leading his team to four-straight wins, but Adrian Martinez is expected to be available to play. The Wildcats also have electric running back Deuce Vaughn, who piled up 130 yards and a score in Big 12 title upset over TCU.
Another year, another first-team AP All-America honor for Kansas State all-purpose playmaker Deuce Vaughn.
He is the first Wildcat to go back-to-back since Chris Canty in 1994-95. pic.twitter.com/KLfAdlW6qS
— Kellis Robinett (@KellisRobinett) December 12, 2022
Kansas State coach Chris Klieman is 3-0 all-time against AP top-five opponents. Furthermore, this particular Alabama opponent will be without key players (and any motivation to win).
Keep an eye out for news related to Anderson and Young’s playing status, but bet on the Wildcats before there’s definitive word they’re not suiting up. When that happens, the line will move in K-State’s direction.
Final Score Prediction: Kansas State 30, Alabama 23
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