In Depth Report on Alabama’s 2016 College Football Betting

Posted by Eric Williams on Wednesday,July 6, 2016 2:39, EST in

Alabama may be the reigning national champions, but my college football odds predictions for Nick Saban’s team as they get set for the upcoming 2016 regular season suggest that the Crimson Tide could struggle in their efforts to repeat. Let’s find out what likely lies in store for the polarizing Tide in 2016.

In Depth Report on Alabama’s 2016 College Football Betting

Offense

Alabama (14-1 SU, 8-7 ATS) has won three of the last five national championships and many observers think they can do so again in 2016, but I’m not so sure, seeing as how Nick Saban needs to find suitable replacements for five starters on offense, including Heisman Trophy wining running back Derrick Henry, quarterback Jake Coker and center Ryan Kelly.

In addition to Henry, Alabama also must replace second leading rusher Kenyan Drake, marking a first in the Saban era in the fact he won’t have either of his top two leading rushers back. Top recruit Bo Scarbrough is being touted as the next star running back, but I’m going to remain cautious for now.

At the quarterback position, upper classman Cooper Bateman is the only one of the four quarterbacks to ever appear in a collegiate game, but it is third-year sophomore David Cornwell that I believe will start under center for the Crimson Tide, although dual-threat signal-callers, Blake Barnett and Jalen Hurts could challenge for the spot.

The good news is that, whoever starts at quarterback, they’ll have an elite target in leading receiver Calvin Ridley, No. 2 wideout ArDarius Stewart and big-play threat Robert Foster. Alabama finished last season ranked 45th in total offense (427.0 ypg) and 30th in scoring (35.0 ppg).

Defense

The Crimson Tide will have a new defensive coordinator in 2016 with Jeremy Pruitt replacing Kirby Smart. Alabama has five returning starters on defense, but they’ll need to overcome the losses of three players that were NFL Draft picks in Jarran Reed, Reggie Ragland and A’Shawn Robinson.

Saban will depend on a talented rotation of front seven defenders that include Da’Shawn Hand, Da’Ron Payne, Dalvin Tomlinson, Jonathan Allen, Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson with Reuben Foster replacing Ragland at middle linebacker. The secondary loses its best player from last season in cornerback Cyrus Jones but returns All-American safety Eddie Jackson.

The Crimson Tide ranked a stellar third in total defense (276.2 ypg) and an equally impressive third in points allowed (15.1 ppg).

By The Numbers

Alabama went 10-0 SU and 7-3 ATS over its last 10 games a year ago.
The Crimson Tide are 9-1 SU and 6-4 ATS in their last 10 SEC conference matchups.
Alabama is 7-0 SU over its last seven road dates.
Alabama has gone 4-0- 1 ATS over its last five road games.

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2016 Betting Prediction

The Crimson Tide (+600) are the top pick at numerous sportsbooks to win the 2017 national championship, which kinds of stuns me, because no matter how hard I try, I just can’t see Alabama bringing home the hardware this coming season. I think it’s more likely that 2016 is one of the seasons that Nick Saban’s team has a solid season but falls short of not only winning the national championship, but of reaching the four-team CFB Playoff.

I guess it’s possible that the majority of Alabama’s first-time starters surpass all expectations, but right now, I’m banking on a lack of experience being the Crimson Tide’s undoing in 2016.