Alabama is on a tear for bettors and is a legit title contender

It would be pretty funny if Alabama finally didn’t make the final four for the College Football Playoff this season, but did make the men’s basketball Final Four.

And not only does Alabama look like a team that could make a Final Four in basketball, the Crimson Tide could win the whole thing.

Alabama has been a force lately. Purdue is No. 1 in the nation and deservedly so with its 19-1 record, but Alabama is the best team right now. The Crimson Tide is 17-2 and has been obliterating teams since a Dec. 17 loss to Gonzaga. They’ve won all eight games since then by double digits. Seven of those wins came against SEC opponents. Alabama has been great to bettors too. The Crimson Tide has covered the spread seven times in a row.

Mississippi State is not a terrible team (57th in KenPom’s rankings) but it’s a huge 13.5-point underdog at BetMGM for Wednesday night’s game at Alabama. And it’s hard to come up with a reason to bet on Mississippi State.

Alabama is led by freshman Brandon Miller, a 6-9 freshman who is a contender for national player of the year and is a top-three pick in most NBA mock drafts. Alabama has more than Miller though, with a deep team that plays fast, forces a lot of misses on defense and will get up a lot of 3-pointers. Perhaps the Crimson Tide’s reliance on 3s will be an issue in a one-and-done tournament if they have an off night, but all the ingredients are in place to win a championship.

Alabama is +1000 at BetMGM to win it all this season, the third-best odds in the sport. You might want to be holding that ticket in March.

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Alabama forward Brandon Miller (24) has led a huge surge for the Crimson Tide. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

Here’s the first look at the sports betting slate for Wednesday:

Top 25 college basketball action

Seven top-25 teams are in action on a busy Wednesday in college hoops.

There’s one game between two top-25 teams, as No. 19 UConn hosts No. 13 Xavier. UConn was the story of the early part of the season but has cooled off lately. The Huskies are 6.5-point favorites, which seems a little high. Xavier’s only loss in its last 13 games was a one-point loss last week at DePaul.

A 10-game night in the NBA

It’s a busy night in the NBA, as well. The Brooklyn Nets at Philadelphia 76ers on ESPN would have been a fantastic game if not for Kevin Durant’s knee injury. The Nets haven’t been the same without Durant, and the 76ers are 5.5-point favorites.

We could get a pretty fun matchup between the two players who have combined for the last four MVP awards in Milwaukee, as Nikola Jokic’s Denver Nuggets take on Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. But Jokic has been battling a hamstring injury, Denver played at New Orleans on Tuesday night and Jokic (along with Jamal Murray could sit). The Bucks are 7.5-point favorites, and keep an eye on the injury report as tipoff approaches.

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Best of the rest

The Farmers Insurance Open begins on Wednesday with a good field for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines. Jon Rahm is the clear favorite at +450, with Xander Schauffele second at +1100.

There are five games in the NHL with the top game being the New York Rangers at the Toronto Maple Leafs, with the Leafs as a +165 favorite.

What’s the best bet?

It’s not the sexiest matchup, but I’ll go with the Oklahoma City Thunder as a 1.5-point underdog at home against the Atlanta Hawks. The Thunder is 8-0-1 against the spread in their last nine games and is coming along a lot faster than expected this season.

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