Alabama at Louisville College Football Picks and Predictions 9/1/2018
Saturday, September 1, 2018
Camping World Stadium
Get todays College Football Odds & Lines on this game
The defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide are ready to begin the defense of their title with a key nonconference game to kickoff the 2018 season. The Crimson Tide will take on Louisville at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.
The spread on this game opened with Alabama installed as a 21-point favorite. The spread has surged up to -25.0 for the defending champions. According to tracking sites 60 percent of the wagers in this game have come down on Alabama. The total is set at 61.0, a massive jump from its open at 53.5. The total betting on this game is split 50-50.
Valuable Alabama Crimson Tide Betting Trends
Crimson Tide are 3-6 ATS in their last 9 games overall.
Crimson Tide are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games on field turf.
Crimson Tide are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 vs. ACC.
Crimson Tide are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games.
Important Louisville Cardinals Betting Trends
Cardinals are 5-12 ATS in their last 17 games overall.
Cardinals are 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 games in September.
Cardinals are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games on field turf.
Cardinals are 1-7-1 ATS in their last 9 non-conference games.
Key Alabama Crimson Tide Injuries
08/20 OLMatt Womack (Foot) is doubtful Saturday vs Louisville
08/18 LB Christopher Allen (Knee) is out indefinitely
08/16 RB Najee Harris (Leg) is "?" Saturday vs Louisville
08/16 DB Daniel Wright (Shoulder) is upgraded to "?" Saturday vs Louisville
07/10 LB Terrell Lewis (ACL) is out for season
Key Louisville Cardinals Injuries
08/22 WR Jaylen Smith (Appendectomy) is probable Saturday vs Alabama
08/20 RB Harry Trotter (Transferred) is out for season
08/20 FB Tobias Little (Knee) is out for season
06/25 RB Colin Wilson (Knee) is probable Saturday vs Alabama
Useful Offensive Statistics
The biggest storylines surrounding both teams involve the quarterback position, but for very different reasons. For Alabama, a quarterback controversy has dominated their offseason and fall camp. Last year’s starter, junior Jalen Hurts, is locked in a battle with last year’s backup, Tua Tagovailoa despite the fact that Hurts has led the Crimson Tide to a 26-2 record as a starter the past two seasons. Tagovailoa is best known for his relief role in the national championship game last January, replacing an ineffective Hurts against Georgia and eventually throwing the game-winning touchdown pass in overtime.
The Crimson Tide were No. 15 in the country in scoring last season, averaging 37.1 points per game. They achieved that on the back of a rugged rushing game that averaged 250.6 yards per game. Leading rusher Damien Harris returns and will run behind four returning offensive line starters.
Defense has been the calling card of Nick Saban’s dynasty in Alabama. This year will be no different. The Crimson Tide were No. 1 in the country in total defense and scoring defense last year, surrendering just 260 yards and 11.9 points per game in 2017. Alabama only has two returning starters from last year’s defense. But Saban routinely replaces NFL-caliber talent with future NFL talent thanks to the top tier recruiting Alabama has done over the last decade.
Special Teams Stats
Alabama loses their Ray Guy finalist punter and their starting kicker. Senior Austin Jones is expected to take over field goals and is a graduate transfer from Temple. Jones is a former 3rd Team all-AAC performer.
Useful Offensive Statistics
Louisville’s quarterback issue is trying to replace one of the best players in school history, Lamar Jackson. The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner was a one-man gang last year for the Cardinals and was a first round draft pick into the NFL. Sophomore Jawon Pass is tasked with replacing Jackson’s productivity on the ground and in the air. Fortunately he will be working within a Bobby Petrino offense. The Cardinals were No. 11 in scoring and No. 3 in total offense last year. Petrino’s offenses have routinely been in the Top 20 in passing and rushing and may be again this year.
If Louisville is going to stand a chance against Alabama they will have to bow their backs on defense and try to slow down that Crimson Tide running game. They were No. 63 in the country last season against the rush and they ranked outside the Top 60 in total defense and scoring defense. They have a new defensive coordinator in Brian Van Gorder and he will switch their base defense to a 4-3. Van Gorder will only have four returning starters to work with and the Cardinals lost four of their top five tacklers.
Special Teams Stats
Kicker Blanton Creque and punter Mason King are both back in the fold this year, giving the Cardinals plenty of stability in the kicking game. They do need to replace both their kickoff and punt returners from last season. But Petrino has no shortage of offensive weapons to try out on special teams.
Who will win tonight's Crimson Tide/Cardinals college football game against the spread?
Robert's Pick: Take Alabama -25
Saban has absolutely dominated opponents in his career when he has had extra time to prepare. They have also been outstanding in these season opening blockbusters, going 4-1 against the spread in their last five openers. That includes hammering No. 2 Florida State 24-7 last year and blowing out USC 52-6 the year before that. Louisville will need some time to adjust without Jackson. And I think that in the second half of this game Alabama is going to simply run the ball down Louisville’s throat. I think this game will be close to this number. But I can see this one settling at 44-17 for the Crimson Tide.
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