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Odds Favor Alabama over Virginia Tech in Week One Betting

9/5/09

College football fans are in for a huge treat in the opening week of play as two heavyweights in the Alabama Crimson Tide and Virginia Tech Hokies prepare to do battle. The victor will be rewarded with a marquee win and the loser will take a serious hit to their chances of making the BCS Championship. Top Sportsbooks have Alabama the early favorite at -6.5, but donít count the Hokies out. This game will take place in Atlanta, Georgia. Letís take a look at this matchup.

The Hokies are 1-10 all time against Alabama, with their last victory coming in 1998. If they wish to improve on that record they will have to score points on a very tough Crimson Tide defense, and cause confusion for Nick Sabanís relatively inexperienced offensive unit. The secondary will have their hands full with WR Julio Jones, but if anybody can stop him it would be Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech did a wonderful job last year, ending their season with a dominating victory over the Big East Champion Cincinnati Bearcats in the Orange Bowl. They are going to win games this year the same way that they did last year; with a strong running game and a terrific secondary. They are returning 17 total starters and should have a tough team this year.

Some potential problems come in QB Tyrod Taylor and the offensive line. Taylor is a skilled player, but is injury prone. The junior is quick on his feet and will keep the pass rushers guessing, but he needs to improve his passing accuracy. The offensive line is relatively strong by Virginia Tech standards, but could still use some work. They will get a big test from the Alabama defense.

Alabama is back and looks as strong as ever. Nick Saban didnít take long to bring this team back to life, sneaking up on teams last year and getting upset wins en route to a 12-0 regular season record. What is the problem now? They wonít be surprising or sneaking up on anyone. The cat is out of the bag. They return 9 starters from a lockdown defense that was rated third in the nation last year.

First year starter Greg McElroy is tasked with leading Alabama past the Hokies. He isnít as big (or as good) as his predecessor John Parker Wilson, but he is good enough to get the job done. He has a plethora of strong WRs in Julio Jones, Marquis Maze, Mike McCoy and Darius Hanks. Jones is the best of the bunch, a physical player who is not afraid to cut across the field. He can make things happen. Maze is the best down field threat on the team and he possesses great speed.

The defense is where the Crimson Tide shines. They have two players who are almost assuredly going to be selected in the first round of the NFL draft in NT Terrence Cody and LB Rolando McClain. The defense is very athletic. Not only that, but it is a deep unit. Some would argue that the second string players have more potential than the starters! They will be keeping Virginia Tech on their toes in this one.

It will be interesting to see how effective RB Darren Evans is in this game. He racked up 1,200+ yards as a freshman for the Hokies, but will have a tough challenge in the Alabama defense. Freshman Ryan Williams will also be a threat on the ground for Virginia Tech. Both have enormous potential and canít be overlooked by opposing coaches.

The line is solid at -6.5 for the Alabama Crimson Tide. This game promises to be a physical and exciting one, but Nick Saban and company may be just a notch ahead of the Orange Bowl winning Virginia Tech Hokies. While it would come as no shock if Virginia Tech found a way to win this game, it appears that Alabama will handle them. We'll take the SEC over the ACC any day. While the number is still under a touchdown, we'll take our chances with the Tide -6.5. We'll also lean towards the Under 38 in this one. 24-10 Tide sounds about right!

 

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