Florida Atlantic vs. Alabama College Football Odds & Free Pick

Darin Zank

Friday, September 5, 2014 3:02 PM GMT

The Crimson Tide got a little tougher game in their 2014 opener than they might have expected from West Virginia, and came up short in trying to cover a big number on the spread. This week Alabama faces an even bigger number for its date with Florida Atlantic in Tuscaloosa Saturday afternoon (noon ET).

The Betting Line
As of Friday Morning, the college football odds markets were chalking Alabama at right around -40, while posting a total on Saturday's game of 50.

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":293807, "sportsbooksIds":[19,43,227,1096,999996,93,238,123,139], "LineTypeId":5, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

 

The Match-Up
Alabama opened this season with a 33-23 victory over West Virginia, but could not cover the spread as 22-point chalk. The Tide out-gained the Mountaineers 538-393 and out-rushed them 288-28, but also gave up a touchdown on a kickoff return that tied the game at 17-17 late in the second quarter, keeping West Virginia close.

Alabama only returned 12 starters this season from the team that went 11-2 last year. Seven starters are back on offense, including Heisman Trophy candidate running back TJ Weldon and three along the offensive line, but only five starters are back on defense, just one along the defensive line and one at linebacker.

Alabama Crimson Tide averaged 38 points per game last year, and allowed just 14 PPG. Matching those figures this season might be tough.

In its first game under new head coach Charlie Partridge Florida Atlantic lost at Nebraska last week 55-7, missing the cover as 21-point dogs. The Owls got out-gained 784-200 and gave up 498 yards on the ground.

FAU returned just 11 starters this season, four fewer than last year, when it went 6-6. Five starters are back on offense for the Owls, including junior QB Jaquez Johnson and three along the offensive line. And six starters are back on defense, including both DTs and three-quarters of the secondary.

Florida Atlantic averaged 26 PPG last year, and only gave up 22 PPG. The Owls could match last year's offensive production, but probably won't match that defensive figure.

 

When Last They Met
These programs have only met once before, back in 2012, when 'Bama, as a 48-point favorite, beat FAU 40-7. The Tide led at the half 30-0, then called off the dogs, politely declining to run up the score or cover the spread.

Alabama out-gained the Owls that day 503-110 and held the ball for over 33 minutes.

 

Owls-Tide Betting Trends
Florida Atlantic is 17-6 ATS in its last 23 games, and 12-2 ATS in its last 14 road games.

Alabama is just 4-7 ATS the last 11 times it's been favored by four touchdowns or more, and 1-6 ATS the last eight times when favored at -40 or more.

 

Injury Update
Alabama will be without two starters Saturday, as WR DeAndrew White deals with a sore shoulder and S Jarrick Williams nurses a broken bone in his foot.

 

Free College Football Pick
Our guess is Alabama will win this game – going out on a limb there, eh? But Coach Saban has shown a tendency over the years to decline to run up the score in obvious blowouts. The Tide was favored by 40 or more points three times last year, winning those games by scores of 31-6, 45-3 and 49-0. If the Owls could just put up 14 points or so, they might have a good chance of covering this spread. So we'll go with the big underdog plus those points at 5Dimes for our free college football pick on this contest.