Alabama Crimson Tide Odds to win the College Football National Championship with Expert Betting Predictions
I will fully admit it - I am bored by Alabama. In awe of what they are doing, and full of respect for Nick Saban and his wizardry, but totally bored. I can't get excited by things anymore - they recruit like crazy, they develop like crazy, and they win like crazy. Ho hum. I mean, their biggest issue this year is whether they should start the quarterback who has a 26-2 career record or the one who is the Heisman co-favorite despite only playing one half of meaningful football. Poor guys - what a tough choice. It's not even August yet and we know what is ahead - division winners again, conference winners again, playoff team again, and quite possibly National Champions again. So impressive. And far more boring.
2017 in a Nutshell
They humiliated what proved to be a vastly-overrated Florida State team in the opener and then never looked back. They won 11 straight games, including three by at least 56 points. Three were against ranked teams. They lost the Iron Bowl to close out the season, and that was almost very costly. Auburn made the SEC Championship Game instead of Alabama, and if they had won it the Tide may not have made the playoff. But they did, and they saved themselves a game along the way. Then they humbled a Clemson team that was the top seed and beat a tough Georgia squad in overtime to win yet another title. The loss exposed some vulnerability, but they quickly brushed that aside and drew on their experience, silly amounts of depth and talent and the robotic precision of the coaching staff to come out on top.
Key Additions and Departures
This is pretty much an exercise in futility. The team had 12 players drafted - including four in the first round. And do you know how much it will hurt the team? Basically not at all. They have a blue-chip prospect to replace every player they ever lose, and each one seems to be better than the one that came before. Running back really exemplifies it. Damien Harris was a top prospect in his class and has had two 1,000-yard seasons in a row, but he has been limited to less than 10 carries a game because of depth and will likely only now be the true No. 1. And if he has any kind of issue then there are plenty of options. Their top three receivers are gone, so they will have to settle in with a newer group, including sophomore Jerry Jeudy, who only averaged 18.9 yards per catch as a freshman. The offensive line is deep enough that they will likely have at least two former five-star upperclassmen as backups. And we've already discussed their 'issues' at quarterback.
The defense is more of the same. They lost some depth on the defensive line but are still just fine, and the top-ranked recruit, Eyabi Anoma, is a pass rusher. Last year injuries forced youngsters into action. Now those young guys are more experienced, and the injured guys are back as well. Depth is not an issue. Obviously. And they added five more guys in the position in the newest class. The secondary is the biggest area of concern as their top six performers in the corps last year are all gone. But the cupboards aren't bare. Guys like Juco transfer Saivion Smith, who started his career as a highly-touted recruit at LSU, could step up, and they have new additions like the nation's top DB recruit Patrick Surtain Jr. to join the fray. They are vulnerable here but only in relative terms.
The coaching staff saw some changes as co-coordinators on both sides of the ball moved on, and Saban had to elevate from within and draw new blood for position coaches from outside. He obviously doesn't struggle to recruit talent, though, so we can't be really concerned about this, either.
Biggest Area of Concern
You could argue that it is the secondary, but I would submit that it is the QB battle. They will be fine regardless of who wins, but it will be a distraction. There is a decent chance that the loser of the race will transfer - especially if it is Jalen Hurts. If the team can't put that aside, or if the drama factor is higher than things usually get at Alabama, then it could be a problem. But it probably won't.
Alabama Crimson Tide Schedule Analysis
They are used to starting with marquee games, and Louisville is much less daunting than many opponents. And Arkansas State and at a transitioning and undermanned Ole Miss team are two easy wins. They'll beat up on Jimbo Fisher and his new and troubled A&M team. They'll crush Louisiana. Chad Morris has a ton of work to do at Arkansas and is doomed in this matchup. Mizzou should be solid but not good enough to win in Tuscaloosa. They will win at Tennessee. And very likely at an LSU team that could be in for a rough year as they search for an identity, too. Mississippi State could be a bit of a challenge, though Joe Moorhead has to adjust to running the show in the SEC. The Citadel will get beaten by at least 50. And then it's the Iron Bowl. And anything can happen in the Iron Bowl - and often does. I am a long, long way from an Alabama homer, and I still can't find more than maybe one loss. If that. They will be the best team by a wide margin in every game they play - at least until the SEC Championship Game. If then. I'm not saying they will go undefeated, because they regularly find weird ways not to. But this schedule makes it far less likely than some have.
2018-19 Alabama Crimson Tide Betting Odds and Trends
Oddsmakers and the betting public are very high on the defending champs. They are favored to win the national title against at +180 - second choice Clemson is far back at +550. They are -230 favorites to win the SEC West and -130 to win the conference. The season win total is set at 11, with the "under" somewhat surprisingly mildly favored. Bettors have a clear choice in the quarterback battle - Tagovailoa is the co-favorite to win the Heisman at +800, while Hurts is well back at +5000.
2018-19 Alabama Crimson Tide Predictions and College Football Picks
They are going to be in the playoff. And probably the Championship Game. And if they don't win that it will be close. Yawn. And, of course, there is no value in betting on them.
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