In absolutely no surprise, the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide are the No. 1 team in both major preseason polls and figure to have little trouble with unranked Louisville in the teams’ season opener on Sept. 1. Maybe this would be a ballgame if U of L still had Lamar Jackson, but the Tide are nearly four-TD betting favorites.
Louisville vs Alabama NCAA Football Week 1 Odds & Pick
- When: Sept. 1, 8 PM ET
- Where: Camping World Stadium, Orlando
- TV: ABC
- Stream: WatchESPN
- Radio: TuneIn
- NCAA Football Betting Odds: Alabama Crimson Tide -25 (Total 59)
Why Bet on Louisville?As noted above, quarterback Lamar Jackson is now gone and the former Heisman Trophy winner was a first-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens. He wasn’t just the best player in school history but one of the most electric in NCAA history. So, yeah, Louisville will miss him.The Cards will turn the offense over to Jawon Pass. He is a very different-looking player than Jackson. At 230 pounds, Pass is as likely to run over guys that make them miss. Statistically, however, Pass’ numbers from Louisville’s spring game were eerily similar to those Jackson compiled a year ago. He passed for 342 yards in the Red team’s 42-13 victory over the White team, four yards short of Jackson’s 2017 total, and he matched the three touchdowns thrown by the Heisman Trophy winner. Pass was a four-star recruit out of a Georgia high school.While most of the starters are back along the offensive front, the Cardinals will likely have a new leader at center in sophomore Cole Bentley, another 300-pounder in the trenches. As a true freshman last season, tackle Mekhi Becton anchored an offense that was one of the best in the nation, finishing third in total offense at 544.9 yards per game and 38.1 points per contest.Where Louisville might be better than Alabama is in the kicking game as a pair of juniors, punter Mason King and kicker Blanton Creque have excelled at their craft the last two seasons, putting up record-breaking numbers. Not getting many opportunities to punt the football the last two years, King hasn’t cracked the national rankings because he hasn’t met the minimum requirements. However, the Louisville native has set the school record in consecutive seasons with a 43.9-yard punting average. The school’s record holder for field goal accuracy at 84.6 percent, Creque has kicked 33-of-39 field goals in his career, connecting on 17 of 20 last season to earn All-ACC honorable mention accolades.Otherwise, the Cards just aren’t on the same level as the national champions. Whoever plays quarterback for Alabama between Jalen Hurts or Tua Tagovailoa — and we’ll likely see both — has an edge against Louisville’s defense.
Why Bet on Alabama?Uh, the team is loaded yet again with future NFL players. The Crimson Tide are just the second team to be ranked No. 1 in the preseason Associated Press Top 25 poll for three straight seasons. Alabama received 42 out of 61 first-place votes. The preseason AP poll started in 1950 and since then only Oklahoma from 1985-87 had started No. 1 in three straight years until now.Alabama has won five national championships since 2009 and now has been No. 1 to start the season five times under Nick Saban. Last season was the first time Saban’s team started and finished the season No. 1.We still don’t know who the starting QB will be, Jalen Hurts or last year’s national championship hero Tua Tagovailoa. Frankly, it doesn’t much matter. Even with the quarterback controversy, the fact remains that Alabama has two QBs who could start almost anywhere and succeed. At running back and receiver, the Crimson Tide are loaded.Alabama’s offense should be potent with running back Damien Harris working behind a powerful line anchored by tackle Jonah Williams. The Tide’s defense will have all new starters in the secondary, but defensive end Raekwon Davis and linebackers Mack Wilson and Dylan Moses are primed to be Alabama’s next All-Americans.There have been some injury concerns. Matt Womack, who was competing for the starting right tackle job for Alabama, suffered a broken bone in his foot and reportedly will miss 4-6 weeks. Womack started at every game at right tackle last season but was in competition with sophomores Alex Leatherwood and Jedrick Wills. He is one of four returning starters on the offensive line, including preseason first-team All-SEC selections Ross Pierschbacher and Jonah Williams.Meanwhile, Christopher Allen is the second Alabama linebacker to suffer a significant knee injury that might cost him the season. Allen was hurt over the weekend in a scrimmage. Terrell Lewis, a projected starter, tore his ACL in July.
Latest NCAA Football 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
- 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