Alabama is 11-0 straight up and 10-1 against the spread in season openers under Coach Saban. Do we back the Tide with our free college football picks for their Week 1 encounter with Louisville in Orlando?
The early Week 1 college football betting odds opened the Crimson Tide at around -25.5 for this game, but as of this writing they could be found as low as -24 at some shops.
Louisville returns just 11 starters this year from a team that finished 8-5 last season (5-8 ATS). The Cardinals just couldn’t capture the same magic of 2016, when they reached 9-1 and No. 3 in the polls. Then they lost Heisman-winning QB Lamar Jackson to the pros. Seven starters are back this year on an offense that averaged 545 YPG last year, including last year’s top three receivers and four along the offensive line. But just four starters return on a defense that allowed 388 YPG last year, following the loss of four of last year’s top five tacklers, and they’re operating under a new defensive coordinator. So we expect some regression with that unit.
Alabama, meanwhile, returns just 10 starters from a team that went 13-1 last year (6-7-1 ATS) and won the national championship. The Tide started 11-0 last year, lost to Auburn, then beat Clemson and Georgia (in overtime) to win the title. Seven starters are back on an offense that averaged 444 YPG last year, including a pair of pretty good quarterbacks, a two-time thousand-yard rusher and four along the O-line. But only three starters are back on a defense that held foes to just 260 YPG, following the loss of five of last year’s top six tacklers. And they’re operating under a new defensive coordinator. However, that didn’t seem to faze them too much last year.
Alabama leads the all-time series with Louisville 2-1 but the last time they met was back in the 1991 Fiesta Bowl, a 34-7 Cardinals victory.
Free Week 1 College Football Pick
Alabama, of course, doesn’t rebuild; it re-loads. And Coach Saban seems to do a great job of getting his team ready for season openers. Louisville, meanwhile, has a very large hole to fill. We’re giving the points here with the Tide.
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