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Vanderbilt vs. Alabama Betting Odds & Picks: Expect Crimson Tide to Roll

Vanderbilt vs. Alabama Betting Odds & Picks: Expect Crimson Tide to Roll article feature image
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Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Bryce Young.

Vanderbilt vs. Alabama Odds

Saturday, Sept 24
7:30 p.m. ET
SEC Network
Vanderbilt Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+40.5
-110
61.5
-106o / -114u
N/A
Alabama Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-40.5
-110
61.5
-106o / -114u
N/A
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Congratulations, Vanderbilt backers. It’s not even October, but if you took the over on the Commodores’ season win total (2.5), you’ve already collected your winnings. Now comes the hard part: SEC play.

After collecting wins over Hawaii, Elon and Northern Illinois, Vanderbilt heads to Tuscaloosa just looking to hang tough against a team it hasn’t beat in 22 consecutive tries.

Alabama is off to a 3-0 start with a squeaker of a win at Texas and has beaten the Commodores by a combined score of 93-0 in the past two meetings (2011 and 2017).

Will the Tide cover for the third time this season as 40-point favorites, or has Vanderbilt improved enough in Year 2 under Clark Lea to stay within the number?

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Vanderbilt Commodores

Believe it or not, Vanderbilt may no longer be the worst team in the SEC (I’m looking at you, Missouri and Auburn), and it may have found something in freshman quarterback AJ Swann.

Lea made the decision to bench Mike Wright in the Commodores’ Week 2 loss to Wake Forest. In Swann’s first career start against Northern Illinois, he was an impressive 18-of-28 for 255 yards and four touchdowns and helped overcome a 14-point deficit. Swann became the first SEC quarterback to throw for at least four touchdowns in their first career start since 2002.

Swann will continue to start, but Lea hinted that Vanderbilt will use a two-quarterback system, which could be a nice wrinkle against this Alabama defense.

Wright is a dangerous runner and is averaging 8.3 yards a carry (32 attempts), including breaking off an 87-yard score.  The Commodores have been able to find success on the ground with Wright and Ray Davis, but Alabama’s front seven represents a major upgrade in talent.

The only offense Vanderbilt has played this season that resembles anything close to Alabama was Wake Forest. It was Sam Hartman’s first start of the year for the Demon Deacons and he had no problem shredding the Vanderbilt secondary for 300 yards and four touchdowns.

Wake Forest also rushed for 151 yards against a Vanderbilt defensive line that ranks just 95th in Line Yards.


Alabama Crimson Tide

Another year, another season that Alabama looks destined for the SEC Championship Game with a Heisman candidate leading the offense.

Bryce Young is off to a slower-than-expected start (214.7 yards per game) thanks to a pair of blowouts and a quality Texas defense, but the second-year starter showed what he’s capable of in leading a game-winning drive against the Longhorns.

Alabama has yet to solidify its receiver rotation for an offense that ranks just 52nd in Pass Success, but it should have plenty of opportunity to figure that out against a Vanderbilt passing defense that ranks 108th in FBS (274.0 yards per game.)

Vanderbilt has struggled to stop explosive pass plays of 20 yards or more and ranks 121st with 15 such plays. The Commodores have also only generated seven sacks through four games, so Young should have plenty of time to locate one of his options.

Utah State and Louisiana Monroe both passed for fewer than 100 yards against the Tide, so Swann will be in for a long day in his first SEC start.


Vanderbilt vs. Alabama Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Vanderbilt and Alabama match up statistically:

Vanderbilt Offense vs. Alabama Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 17 22
Line Yards 44 9
Pass Success 33 23
Pass Blocking** 78 20
Havoc 13 54
Finishing Drives 16 36
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Alabama Offense vs. Vanderbilt Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 65 68
Line Yards 58 95
Pass Success 52 86
Pass Blocking** 18 122
Havoc 57 70
Finishing Drives 27 58
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 14 21
PFF Coverage 56 42
SP+ Special Teams 24 16
Seconds per Play 26.9 (79) 26.3 (66)
Rush Rate 57.5% (44) 48.7% (96)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Vanderbilt vs. Alabama Betting Pick

Alabama has covered spreads of this magnitude twice this season but is just 14-8 against the spread in its past 22 games as a 20-point favorite.

Vanderbilt has made some solid improvements since last season and is trending in the right direction, but this is a total mismatch in a game that could resemble the past two times it has played Alabama (59-0 and 34-0).

The ‘Dores rank 108th against the pass for a reason, and Young should have no problem picking them apart. On the other side, the mismatch at the line of scrimmage will likely fluster an inexperienced quarterback and lead to more points off turnovers for the Tide.

I see Alabama holding Vanderbilt to no more than a touchdown as it gets close to its third fifty-burger of the season.

Pick: Alabama -40.5 (Play to 41.5)

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