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Capitol One Bowl 2011

Although their quest to repeat as national champions ended back in November, the Alabama Crimson Tide can clinch a third straight 10-win season and add to their hardware with a win over the Michigan State Spartans in the Capital One Bowl. Head coach Nick Saban watched his team suffer through inconsistencies all year, but will look to salvage the season against an old friend in Spartans’ head coach Mark Dantonio.

•Capital One Bowl
•Alabama Crimson Tide @ Michigan State Spartans
•Saturday January 1, 2011 – 1:00 PM ET
•Online Sports Betting Odds: Alabama – 9.5
Dantonio served as an assistant coach under Saban, but the respect these men share will have no bearing on the actual college football betting game, as the former looks to do something the latter never did after Saban went 0-3 in bowl games as coach of the Spartans.

Capital One Bowl Betting Preview: Alabama
The Crimson Tide simply couldn’t overcome a tough schedule that included seven ranked opponents, and two occasions of at least back-to-back games against top 25 teams. Still, Alabama lost by just three points in a tough road game at the LSU Tigers and pushed the No. 1 Auburn Tigers to the brink in a 28-27 loss in the SEC Championship game, a testament to how strong this team still is. Former Heisman trophy winner and running back Mark Ingram is back at full strength, and if he can improve on the 5.6 yard per carry average he recorded during the regular season, he could make the difference.

Quarterback Greg McElroy has looked good when he hasn’t had to take over football betting games on his own, and should have no problem complimenting Ingram. The Crimson Tide ranked fifth in the nation in scoring defense, allowing an averaged of 14.1 per game.

Capital One Bowl Betting Preview: Michigan State
That defense will need to slow a Spartans’ offense that utilizes a balanced attack, relying on the pass nearly as much as the run. Michigan State will certainly take a hit with the loss of leading wide receiver BJ Cunningham, who is out after breaking his foot in practice a couple of weeks ago. That will put the pressure on Mark Dell and Keshawn Martin as the prime targets for quarterback Kirk Cousins, who finished the season with 2,705 passing yards and 20 touchdowns.

The Spartans would be just as well to hand the ball off to running back Edwin Baker, who ranked third in the Big Ten with 1,187 yards, but that might not be the best option against an Alabama defense that allowed just 33.9 rushing yards per game. AP first-team All-American linebacker Greg Jones will need to rally his teammates to slow Ingram and company, or this one could get out of hand in a hurry.

The Match Up: Alabama vs. Michigan State

The Crimson Tide missed out on their chance to defend their national championship, but this team still ranks among the best in the nation, and should be even better after a couple of weeks of rest. The Spartans don’t match up with Alabama on either side of the ball in terms of talent, and that will show as Saban clinches another postseason win.

Capital One Bowl Betting Pick: Alabama

Written in tandem with professionals from BetOnline