Alabama vs. Texas Updated Odds & Betting Picks: Back the Longhorns To Keep It Close At Home
Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Quinn Ewers (3) and the Texas Longhorns.
Alabama vs. Texas Odds
-105o / -115u
-105o / -115u
All eyes in the college football world will turn to Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday at noon ET. The Crimson Tide are set to give the Longhorns an early SEC preview despite the rarity of the travel.
While Alabama has played plenty of early non-conference games at neutral sites, the Tide have not been in hostile territory this early since a win at Penn State in 2011. There are plenty of storylines in this game, with the relationship of the head coaches at the forefront.
The Nick Saban coaching tree runs deep, as a handful of former protégés are now head coaches at SEC schools. Steve Sarkisian is set to join that group when Texas leaves the Big 12 after a successful two-year stint as the Crimson Tide offensive coordinator.
Both Sark and Saban had kind words for each other in their respective media day trips, acknowledging that their relationship goes far beyond the football field.
Texas football coach Steve Sarkisian said the Alabama game plan was done three months ago
— Anwar Richardson (@AnwarRichardson) September 5, 2022
Alabama is the favorite on the board to win the National Championship, while Texas is projected to battle with a number of teams for the Big 12 crown.
The Longhorns may not have the experience or talent level of the Crimson Tide, but they will certainly look to make a statement as to how far Texas has come in the Sark era.
For the Crimson Tide, the trip to Austin represents a soccer “friendly,” where victory and full health are the goals.
The competition at cornerback continues to heat up, as Eli Ricks, Khyree Jackson and Kool-Aid McKinstry posted similar coverage grades against Utah State.
The depth and talent of the Alabama back seven reigned supreme against the Aggies, leaving the passing-based offense with no points and just eight completions on the day.
Utah State quarterbacks Logan Bonner and Levi Williams combined for just five completions and 54 yards passing, as four defenders in the Tide secondary posted a forced incompletion.
The remainder of the defense stayed in a base front without blitzing — no sacks were recorded, as Alabama created just five tackles for loss.
The game plan for Texas was kept off of film, as 20 different players recorded a tackle for Alabama but generated close to no Havoc on the evening.
The fireworks were all left for the offense, led by last season’s Heisman Trophy winner.
Bryce Young’s ability to evade pressure and keep his eyes downfield is one of his elite traits.
Reminds me a little bit of a guy named Russell Wilson. pic.twitter.com/Q0hCpq0fdE
— Bradon Deacon (@BradonDeacon) September 4, 2022
Bryce Young led Alabama to an offensive score in each of the first nine drives of the game. The sophomore posted six total touchdowns, five of which came through the air.
If there’s an area that deserves attention, it’s his number of scrambles, as Young left the pocket four times to record 107 yards on the ground. The number of open-field tackles on the Heisman winner must decrease for Alabama to win the national title.
195 passing yards
— ْ (@GiantsBetta) September 4, 2022
Expect running back Jahmyr Gibbs to get more action against Texas after just nine touches on the ground against Utah State. The transfer from Georgia Tech posted 4.3 yards after contact and just one catch in the passing game.
Coordinator Bill O’Brien did well in limiting the explosive back, but an increase in carries and targets is expected to maneuver around a Texas defensive line that wrecked ULM.
Quinn Ewers is officially the starting quarterback at Texas after sitting a season at Ohio State before hitting the transfer portal.
The freshman had plenty of positives against Louisiana Monroe — before his Porsche was towed at least. Ewers has the ability to sling the side arm, read multiple progressions and step up in the pocket with great awareness of pressure.
Solid showing in his debut. Lots of room to improve. pic.twitter.com/yGnYgT0Qjc
— CJ Vogel (@CJVogel_TFB) September 4, 2022
The stat sheet is where some of the shine comes off of an explosive debut. Ewers managed two turnover-worthy plays to just one big-time throw, including an interception while throwing on the run.
The quarterback found himself in a pressured pocket just three times from the Warhawks’ defense, resulting in one of his turnover-worthy plays.
Freshman left tackle Kelvin Banks will be under a microscope against Alabama’s edge positions, but he posted the highest pass and run blocking grade of any lineman against ULM.
Ewers favored receiver Xavier Worthy and tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders with 13 total targets, but future NFL pick Bijan Robinson will be the most important weapon against Alabama.
The junior was limited to just 10 rushes and five targets in the passing game ULM, as he displayed explosiveness in limited action. Robinson posted a high 2.2 yards per route run despite an average depth of target of 0.0, indicating the running back creates explosiveness from the backfield.
Bijan Robinson's "negatives" section is gonna be difficult to write pic.twitter.com/7QY6IjoU73
— James Foster (@NoFlagsFilm) September 6, 2022
The offense has the pieces to be methodical and explosive through Robinson and Ewers, but the defense will be the key for Texas.
ULM created 12 missed tackles, with half of them recorded against the linebacker tandem of Jaylan Ford and Ethan Burke. Sophomore Barryn Sorrell is expected to get duties in standard downs but was a liability against the pass.
ULM quarterback Chandler Rogers attacked the middle of the field on 10-of-19 passing attempts, an area that will dictate success for the Longhorns’ defense.
The Warhawks are near the bottom of FBS power ratings, but the returns from the Longhorns’ defense are positive. Four edge position players led the team with 14 total pressures, as Texas generated four sacks — all from the defensive line.
The Longhorns’ front seven must produce similar success against an Alabama offensive line that allowed just two pressures against Utah State.
Alabama vs. Texas Betting Pick
There are not many investors looking to fade Saban on the road in Austin, but if Texas wants to compete in this game, there may be an avenue through the trench.
The Alabama offensive line struggled to keep a clean pocket in standard and passing downs against Utah State, forcing Young to scramble for explosive plays.
With a full SEC schedule on deck, Young’s health is paramount and dependent on tackles Tyler Steen, JC Latham and Amari Kight.
Both Steen and Latham posted the lowest grades in run and pass blocking against Utah State, which is not a good combination coming in against edge Keondre Coburn, who posted four quarterback hurries against Louisiana-Monroe.
Alabama did not show any control around the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, posting a Stuff Rate outside the top 100 offensively and defensively.
Defensive coordinator Pete Golding tempered down the Crimson Tide to a base defense and is expected to show wrinkles against Ewers. But if Alabama can’t force its way into the Texas backfield, there may be plenty of rushing gains from Robinson and Roschon Johnson.
The hope for Texas is that Ewers’ decision-making improves when the Longhorns get off schedule and are forced to pass.
Alabama has the talent to blow out 125 FBS teams, including Texas. The question is whether Saban is running the offense in fifth gear through the second half.
There have been multiple marquee football games that required Alabama to win and press on without injury. The Crimson Tide raced to a 21-point lead against Notre Dame in the playoff, only to go into cruise control by rushing the ball and draining the clock to allow an Irish cover.
This concept played out once again in last year’s semifinal after gaining a 17-3 halftime lead against Cincinnati.
The goal of this game from the Crimson Tide’s point of view is victory and full health — not the routing of a former assistant.
The Action Network projection is Alabama -15.5, indicating the Tide are oversold in the market. Spread numbers of 19 and 20 are not key, as sharp buyback on Texas has come when +21 has been presented.
The only side in this game is a play on the Longhorns, as the offense will continue to play at full speed even in a scenario where the Tide lead by 35 or more points.
If Alabama takes a four-score lead into halftime, look for the customary second-half under bet to be in play to close this chapter between Saban and Sarkisian.