Another college football season is getting underway and soon this will be another opening blowout for Alabama. The Crimson Tide controlled Florida State in this spot last year and now face a Louisville team that has to break in a new quarterback with the departure of LAmar Jackson. That being the case, the Tide are huge -25 point favorites as seen at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
A week before the Game, Alabama still didn’t know its starting quarterback, but that shouldn’t matter much early in the year. Whether it’s Tua Tagovailoa, who was big in the National Championship win over Georgia, or Jalen Hurts, the starter for most of last season, it doesn’t matter. The Tide still have a dominant offensive line and rushing attack that will run through everyone. Damien Harris (1,000 yards, 11 TDs) is set for another big year, while Najee Harris should also see plenty of work. There’s a good chance they average near 5.7 yards per carry as a team again because that’s what Alabama does and Louisville will have trouble stopping that.
The Cardinals may not be as bad as some people think, but the defense is going to have issues in this Game under new coordinator Brian VanGorder, who implemented a new look in the offseason. They also only return Four starters from a mediocre group so there’s no reason to think they’ll be able to stop Bama’s running Game or whoever is at quarterback.
To have a chance at covering, Louisville may only need to Scoreonce or twice, but that’s not exactly a given. Jawon Pass could be an elite quarterback by the time he’s done with school, yet expecting him to be ready in his first collegiate start against Alabama is asking for a lot. Most of his experience last year came against Kent State and Murray State in the Fourth quarter. To help, there are pieces around Pass, whether that’s Four starters on the line or stout wide outs in Jaylen Smith (980 yards, 7 TDs), Dez Fitzpatrick (699 yards, 9 TDs) and Seth Dawkins. They probably won’t get much of a ground Game going against a dominant defensive front, but Dae Williams will get carries to keep the defense honest.
There’s a chance Alabama’s defense won’t be as good with only two returning starters, but that usually doesn’t matter for Nick Saban’s teams as he has studs in the waiting every year. Not to mention a lot of those guys already have experience in backup roles like Raekwon Davis, who led the team in sacks, or Christian Miller and Terrell Lewis at linebacker. The Tide’s defense may look a little different, but so will Louisville’s offense and the advantage goes to the defense in this situation.
This spread is huge, but it’s usually a bad idea to go against Saban and Alabama, especially in the first Game of the season when you haven’t seen the opposing team’s quarterback in meaningful action. Pass could be good for Louisville at some point this season, but it probably won’t be in this Game and there’s a chance the Tide run out to 21 points in the first quarter, making the cover more than attainable.
Our Pick – Alabama -25