Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa. Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Alabama 2018 Betting Odds
- To win the National Title: +210
- To make Playoff: -325
- To win the SEC: +108
- To win the SEC West: -182
- Win Total: 11 (over -115, under -105)
All lines taken on Aug. 20. Always shop for the best line.
Alabama 2018 Schedule, Betting Odds
The Action Network Projected Wins: 10.3
Bet To Watch
Game of the Year: Ole Miss (+22.5) vs. Alabama
Alabama’s futures are overpriced once again. It never went over +300 to win the national title in 2017 until a loss at Auburn in late November, when the Tide hit +450 around the market. You won’t find a number like that this preseason for the defending champs.
No matter where you look, the Crimson Tide are overvalued. They are +108 to win the SEC, which indicates they’d be a small favorite over Georgia in the title game.
You could take them at -182 to win the SEC West, but if you have a book that allows open parlays, you could probably get better value betting ‘Bama to beat Auburn and Mississippi State on the moneylines.
Alabama is still a powerhouse, as these prices indicate, but there may be cracks in the foundation. Nick Saban’s program finished fifth in recruiting for the 2018 class, which is unlike the Tide — they finished first for seven consecutive seasons before that.
Saban will also be working with new coordinators. Mike Locksley will take over the offense, and Tosh Lupoi will serve as defensive coordinator.
Locksley has plenty of experience as an offensive coordinator. He’s been OC at Illinois and Maryland in the last decade. But Lupoi does not. Expect Saban, along with linebackers coach Pete Golding, to have a heavy influence on defense.
If you’re looking to poke holes in the ‘Bama defense, you’d need to look to the secondary. The Tide rank 102nd in returning production on defense, and any team that can air it out could hang with the defending champs.
While losses in the secondary are key for bettors, the quarterback situation is dominating the headlines. Tua Tagovailoa replaced Jalen Hurts in the national title game and showed off his playmaking ability downfield.
Saban is downplaying any QB controversy, but a December graduation looms for Hurts, and that could cause a distraction for the team. Tagovailoa is the more explosive passer; Hurts has just two losses in his career.
No matter who is under center, there is no value left in the futures market. But there is a ‘Bama bet I love.
Alabama travels to Ole Miss on Sept. 15. The Rebels have an elite passing game with quarterback Jordan Ta’amu and receivers A.J. Brown, DaMarkus Lodge and D.K. Metcalf.
That aerial attack should be a lot to handle for the Tide secondary and new coordinator Lupoi. I like Ole Miss +22.5, which should still be available in the Game of the Year markets.
I have this game power-rated at Ole Miss +11, while S&P+ projects Ole Miss +13.5. Ole Miss cannot win the SEC West, SEC or go to to a bowl because of NCAA violations, so this game is its Super Bowl.
What else you need to know about Alabama
In case a loss comes at Ole Miss (or against Mississippi State), look to fade Alabama the following week. Saban is 4-12 against the spread after a loss since 2007.
The total has gone under in Alabama’s past six games after a bye. This applies to the LSU game on Nov. 3.
Per Betlabs, Alabama is 5-14 ATS when favored by 28.5 or more against nonconference opponents. The Tide fit this scenario on Sept. 29 against Louisiana-Lafayette and against The Citadel on Nov. 17.