Sports Prediction Central: Season 2, Edition 6


Brent Gelick/Talon

Welcome‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ sixth ‌edition‌ ‌of‌ ‌Season‌ ‌2‌ ‌for‌ ‌Sports‌ ‌Predictions‌ ‌Central,‌ ‌a‌ ‌column‌ ‌for‌ ‌predictions‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌most‌ ‌exciting‌ ‌games‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌sports‌ ‌docket‌ ‌this‌ ‌week.‌ ‌ ‌

In‌ ‌this‌ ‌edition,‌ ‌we‌ ‌will‌ ‌be‌ ‌predicting‌ ‌and‌ ‌breaking‌ ‌down‌ ‌the‌ ‌outcomes‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌following‌ ‌games:‌ #4 Baylor vs. Alabama, #12 Kentucky vs. #5 Kansas, #16 Ohio State vs. #6 Purdue, Bengals vs. Chiefs, and Rams vs. 49ers.

#4 Baylor vs. Alabama, Saturday, Jan. 29, 1 p.m.

Adam: Alabama has been one of the more disappointing teams of the 2021-22 season so far. Nonetheless, they have the talent to compete with anyone, as they showed when they took down Gonzaga earlier in the season. Even though they are at home, they have simply been far too inconsistent to pick them here. Baylor has had a couple losses recently, but I still expect them to pull this one out.

Baylor 83, Alabama 79

Alex: Coming off a valid win against Oklahoma last week after dropping to Oklahoma State, Baylor will be hungry to affirm their top 5 ranking with a key win over a strong Alabama team. Alabama is extremely streaky with their performances, and I believe this game will be determined by which form of Alabama comes out to play. In this case, I don’t think the Crimson Tide will be quite ready for a hungry Bears team. 

Baylor 82, Alabama 70

Eric: After two consecutive losses to Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, Baylor rebounded with two Big 10 wins. Though they dropped to #4 in the rankings, Baylor still has the talent to compete with any team in the country. Alabama had lofty expectations at the beginning of the season, but so far have failed to meet them. I think that this game will be close, but Baylor’s talent separates them, giving them the win on Saturday afternoon.

Baylor 86, Alabama 75

Final Score: Alabama 87, Baylor 78

#12 Kentucky vs. #5 Kansas, Saturday, Jan. 29, 1 p.m.

Adam: Despite the recent loss to the now-number one Auburn Tigers on the road, Kentucky should still win this one. They have a monster in the paint in Oscar Tshiebwe and a budding star guard in freshman TyTy Washington. As long as Washington plays (he suffered an injury versus Auburn), Kentucky should beat a Kansas team that, in my eyes, is overrated.

Kentucky 87, Kansas 79

Alex: While both of these teams have been dominant thus far, Kansas has had a long span of extremely close victories. Unfortunately for the Jayhawks, I see that ending at the hands of the Wildcats. I think it will come down to the last few minutes, but Kansas will walk away without the heroics that have become their new norm. Kentucky will take the win on Saturday afternoon. 

Kentucky 76, Kansas 71

Eric: Kansas has been on a roll, being on a 5 game winning streak and all things are clicking for the Jayhawks. Ochai Agbaji has been a star for Kansas, averaging 21.3 points per game, pacing a strong Kansas offense. Kentucky dropped to a highly ranked Auburn team, but they are still a very good team, as they always are. I see this one being close, but Kansas is used to the close games, so I think that they pull this one out. 

Kansas 78, Kentucky 75 

Final Score: Kentucky 80, Kansas 62

#16 Ohio State vs. #6 Purdue, Sunday, Jan. 30, 9 a.m.

Adam: If this game was in Columbus instead of at Purdue, I would probably pick the Buckeyes. However, I believe the Purdue home atmosphere, combined with Purdue’s length to counteract E.J. Liddell, will prove to be too much for them.

Purdue 78, Ohio State 73

Alex: In a big time matchup on Sunday morning, I think both teams will come ready to play. While it’s inherently difficult to beat Purdue, beating Purdue while on the road is an entirely different feat of difficulty. The Boilermakers put on a show for the home crowd and while the Buckeyes will hang on for a bit, they ultimately will fall just short of an essential win. 

Purdue 82, Ohio State 75

Eric: With both Big 12 teams being ranked, I think that this game is physical and the tone is set early on Sunday morning. Sophomore guard, Jaden Ivey, has led the Purdue offense with 16.7 points per game, and I expect him to have a big game. E.J. Liddell has been a strong force for opposing forwards, but I think that Purdue will create a game plan that will keep him in check. 

Purdue 77, Ohio State 64

Final Score: Purdue 81, Ohio State 78

Bengals vs. Chiefs, Sunday, Jan. 30, 12 p.m.

Adam: This game should be a shootout with two of the best quarterbacks in the game at the forefront for both offenses. The Bengals won this matchup in the regular season in dramatic fashion. The Chiefs haven’t forgotten that loss. The Chiefs have far more playoff experience than a Bengals team that, while they have been on fire recently, has little-to-none. I expect them to come out firing early and take care of business en route to another Super Bowl appearance.

Chiefs 31, Bengals 28 

Alex: In a rematch of one of the top-tier regular season games, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs look to bounce back against the Cincinnati Bengals to secure themselves a spot in the Superbowl. Both of these teams went through fourth quarter theatrics last week, so it’s intriguing to see how well they play on Sunday afternoon. While the Bengals have been on fire as of recently, I don’t think they have enough in the tank to take down the defending AFC champs. 

Chiefs 20, Bengals 14

Eric: After one of the best playoff games ever, the Chiefs look to continue that momentum against a high-flying Bengals team. Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce will be tough to stop as usual, and the Chief’s defense has improved greatly from the beginning of the season. Bengals quarterback, Joe Burrow, is one of the rising stars of the NFL and his connection with Ja’marr Chase is one of the best in the league. I think that this game will be a shootout of two amazing offenses with a trip to the Superbowl on the line.

Chiefs 40, Bengals 36

Final Score: Bengals 27, Chiefs 24

49ers vs. Rams, Sunday, Jan. 30, 3 p.m.

Adam: The 49ers have flat out owned the Rams the past couple seasons, including in the final week of the regular season to clinch a playoff berth. I expect the Rams to flip the script coming off the heels of that near-choke in the divisional round against the defending champs. The Rams and 49ers both have all the makings of a championship team, but the difference is at quarterback. When the game is on the line, I trust Matt Stafford. I’m not sure if I trust Jimmy Garoppolo.

Rams 28, 49ers 24

Alex: The third rematch between two stellar teams will prove to be the best of the bunch. These teams know one another’s ins and outs better than any other. While the San Francisco 49ers have won the last two affairs, I think Sunday afternoon will be an entirely different story. The Los Angeles Rams will come out ready to play and put the nail in the coffin by the end of the third quarter. While it wouldn’t be a Rams game if their opponent didn’t make a run at a comeback, the Rams lead will be enough to hang on and propel them to a spot in the Superbowl on their home turf.

Rams 31, 49ers 21

Eric: Even though the 49ers have beaten the Rams 6 consecutive times through 3 seasons. With the 49ers’ win in the last week of the season against the Rams, it boosted them into the playoffs and they have beaten the #3 seed and #1 seed. I think that this game will be different, as the Rams will be ready to beat their bitter rivals with a chance to play in their home stadium for the Superbowl on the line. This game will be physical and if the Rams can stop the run, I think that they will be in good shape. 

Rams 28, 49ers 17

Final Score: Rams 20, 49ers 17

Current Prediction Standings (Through Fifth Edition):

Alex: 13-10 (3-0 last week)

Adam: 12-11 (2-1 last week)

Eric: 12-11 (2-1 last week)