Oddsmakers peg the Alabama Crimson Tide with the highest regular-season win total of all college football teams at 10.5 victories for the upcoming 2017 campaign. Look for it to go over the mark. Here's why.
In addition to the highest win total, the Nick Saban-coached Crimson Tide are the top choice at +350 odds to win the College Football Playoff national championship. Despite seeing nine players selected in the first three rounds of the most recent NFL Draft, the program is once again loaded with young talent ready to fill the void. Will Saban’s squad go over or stay under the 10.5 win-total mark? Yes. Let’s take a closer look.
Since 2008, Alabama has equaled or surpassed its win total mark in all but one season (2010). Saban made an immediate impact since taking the reins in Tuscaloosa in 2007, particularly in boosting team talent. Alabama ranks in the top three recruiting classes year in and year out. Books find it difficult to place a number on the squad because of the constant flow of NFL-caliber players. This, despite any other factors like coordinator changes, experience, etc. Below is a table listing Alabama’s win totals and actual results over the last nine years. Remember, the numbers do not include bowl, playoff, or conference championship games.
|Season||Win Total||Actual Wins||Result|
Saban is seeking his fifth national title in his 11th season at Alabama. The defense is always sound but took a hit at linebacker with Ryan Anderson, Reuben Foster and Tim Williams gone. Offense is the most intriguing element headed into the campaign. Sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts, the program’s first returning starter under center in three years, is working with new offensive coordinator Brain Daboll. Daboll is the team’s third in the last four seasons. The backfield returns intact, but three top reception leaders from last year’s unit are gone: Gehrig Dieter, O.J. Howard, and ArDarius Stewart. Staffed are also new wide receiver and tight end coaches, making the passing game a work in progress. Expect Saban to pound the ball via the ground game relentlessly.
The Crimson Tide open the season versus Florida State in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, one of the toughest contests on the schedule. The game’s former site at the Georgia Dome was essentially a home away from home for Alabama, the team going 10-2 SU all-time on the turf. History suggests the Tide will take to the new confines well. Alabama is 7-0 SU and 6-1 ATS in neutral site openers under Saban, covering the spread by 10.9 points on average. Each opponent hailed from a Power 5 conference and five of the seven ranked in the preseason AP Top 25 poll. Florida State finished last season ranked No. 8 and is expected to sit in the top 10 come to the start of the season.
In SEC play, road games include at Vanderbilt, at Texas A&M, at Mississippi State, and an Iron Bowl matchup at Auburn. The Tigers are the only team the Tide should fear. Since rebuilding the program in his first season, Saban is 9-1 SU and 5-5 ATS in the aforementioned away matchups, his only loss in 2014 at Jordan-Hare Stadium when Auburn’s Chris Davis returned a failed field-goal attempt more than 100 yards on the last play of the game to win (34-28).
Home matchups include the Tide’s tougher conference opponents on paper: Ole Miss, Arkansas, Tennessee, and LSU. Since 2008, Alabama is 15-2 SU and 9-8 ATS in previous Tuscaloosa clashes. The Tigers grinded out a 9-6 overtime win in 2011, while the Rebels outgunned the Tide 43-37 as 9-point pups back in 2015. Saban’s defense is holding teams to 12.9 points per game under these conditions.
All signs point to Alabama cruising to another win total winner on the OVER. Florida State, Auburn, and LSU will prove toughest, and Saban must win two of these to cash—barring any unexpected missteps. It’s a good bet he gets it done.Free NCAAF Pick: OverBest Line Offered: at 5Dimes
Make Sure To Check Out More Free NCAAF Picks At SBR