Liberty vs Alabama Odds, Predictions | Friday College Basketball Betting Preview (Nov. 11)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Darius McGhee of the Liberty Flames.
Liberty vs Alabama Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Can the ASUN preseason favorite Liberty Flames surprise the Crimson Tide? Or will Alabama start the year 2-0 by handing a pair of capital “L’s” to two strong mid-major programs in Longwood in Liberty?
It’s impossible to glean much from the Flames 1-0 start after a resounding win against the Regent Royals. The 104-38 victory says far more about the opponent than Liberty.
We will know much more about the Flames’ potential this year by 11 p.m. ET and, although difficult to imagine at the moment, a win Friday could be a huge bullet point on Liberty’s resume should it need to make a push for an at-large bid in March.
Liberty failed to win the ASUN conference tournament for the first time in four years last year, largely due to over-reliance on star Darius McGhee, who is truly one of the best scorers in the country. He is capable of winning a game on his own, but maybe not every game.
Success for Liberty will require occasional contributions from senior forwards Kyle Rode and Shiloh Robinson.
Alabama struggled late last season due to Jahvon Quinerly’s absence and consistently recurring defensive breakdowns. Early indications would imply Alabama’s defense will be much improved this year, but McGhee will test that theory.
I tend to think the experience of Liberty will translate to offensive success against an Alabama team still needing time to develop into a cohesive defensive unit.
Alabama opened with an impressive win against a more than competent Big South foe in Longwood. Nate Oats’ bunch is led by 1st-Team All-SEC nominee Brandon Miller, who led the team in points (14) and rebounds (13) in the opener.
Ohio transfer Mark Sears figures to be the primary guard responsible for trying to contain Darius McGhee. Still, fresh bodies will likely rotate onto McGhee throughout the game as he will be the primary focus of Alabama’s defensive efforts.
St. Bonaventure transfer Dom Welch and key returner Jahvon Quinerly both figure to contribute to Alabama’s scoring this year, but neither will play Friday night in Tuscaloosa. Both are injured and have been ruled out for the contest against Liberty.
I’d still expect Sears, Miller and center Charles Bediako to provide plenty of scoring against a less athletic Flames roster. Despite the scoring ability, I would have a hard time laying the points with Alabama until it proves its defense has improved. I just have to see it first.
Oats has now experienced having the full support and excitement of the passionate Crimson Tide fanbase, as well as having his office chair being warmed, at least above room temperature, last year. Still, his ability to recruit and bring in talent has improved the national status of Alabama as a program. Expect the Tide to rebound and sit somewhere near the top of the SEC standings when early March rolls around.
Liberty vs. Alabama Betting Pick
Rather than take a side, I will trust Liberty’s offensive prowess and its ability to score. Liberty plus the points would be my side lean, but I don’t trust the defense quite enough to simply take the points.
Alabama’s effort against Longwood is also a factor in scaring me off the Flames. The key decision point for me is derived from the belief that Alabama will need time together to showcase a potentially improved defensive unit.