We could go in a lot of different directions in the lead-up to Monday night’s BCS National Championship Game here at Crystal Ball Run. We could talk about the battle in the trenches between Alabama’s offensive line and Notre Dame’s defensive line or how Nick Saban plans on to defend Irish quarterback Everett Golson.
The problem is you don’t want to talk about any of that non-sense. No, no, no... you want to talk gambling!!!
That’s right, following a weekend where Johnny Manziel proved that any dope with a two-bit smile, a hot hand and a Heisman Trophy could cash out big, you’re ready to make some wagers yourself, aren’t you?
So what are the prop bets you need to consider prior to Monday night’s BCS title game?
Let’s take a look:
First Score of the Game: Field Goal/Safety (+120)
In a battle of the two lowest scoring defenses in all of college football, it’s no secret that points will be at a premium Monday night, especially since neither team gives up very many points once they get in the red zone. Notre Dame famously gave up just two rushing touchdowns all season.
So entering Monday, why should we expect anything other than a low-scoring, field goal fueled game? And why would we expect the first score of the game to be anything other than for three points instead of seven?
We can’t think of one good reason, and as we approach kick-off, taking “field goal as a first score” seems like the safest bet on the board.
Manti Te’o and Robert Lester wouldn’t have it any other way.
Player to Score First Touchdown: Tyler Eifert (+1000)
Obviously, there are plenty of other high-profile players who could be the first to punch in a score Monday night. In specific, Eddie Lacy (+400) and T.J. Yeldon (+450) seem like especially strong bets.
But when making your wagers, why not take a chance on someone who is a bit more of a long-shot and will give you an even bigger payout if you win? You know, like Notre Dame All-American tight end Tyler Eifert.
It’s like we said, neither of these teams gives up many points on the ground so if someone does score a touchdown on Monday night (and frankly, we’re not totally sure anyone will), it seems like it’ll come in the passing game. And it’ll likely come from Eifert. He led the Irish with four touchdown catches this year, and at 6’6 251 lbs. is an imposing red zone threat.
Not to mention at 10-1 odds, you’re getting Eifert at a much better price than you would Lacy, Yeldon or any of the other stars of this game. Take Eifert and thank us later.
Everett Golson UNDER 17 Pass Completions (-130):
While Vegas’ odds aren’t in your favor on this bet (you’d have to wager $130 just to win $100), the actual, tangible odds are: Golson completed more than 17 passes just three times this season, and those performances came against Purdue, Pittsburgh and Wake Forest. Last time we checked, those weren’t exactly college football powers, if you know what I mean.
More importantly, under what scenario do you see Brian Kelly letting Golson attempt enough throws to complete that many passes? Notre Dame isn’t going to win by throwing the ball all over the field, but instead with long, time-consuming drives and a heavy dose of their defense.
Frankly, we wouldn’t even be surprised if Golson attempted less than 17 passes, let alone completed that many.
Amari Cooper OVER five catches (+100):
The numbers speak for themselves, and over the final half of the college football season few wide receivers were as effective as the Crimson Tide’s freshman wide out. Cooper finished the season with a team-high 48 catches, a number that is even more impressive when you remember that he had just nine through the Crimson Tide’s first four games of the season.
More importantly, Cooper caught fire late in the season with at least five catches in three of his last four games and four of the final six he played in. And while Notre Dame’s defense is solid, their secondary is questionable and certainly not the caliber of some of the other teams the Crimson Tide played this season. You mean to tell me Cooper will have a tougher time finding open space against Notre Dame than he did against Georgia? A team which he had eight catches against?
Take Copper and take the over.
Most importantly, enjoy the game!!
For all his insight, analysis and opinion on college football, be sure to follow Aaron on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.