Pick Alabama to Cover Spread vs. West Virginia in College Football

David Lawrence

Thursday, July 17, 2014 4:08 PM GMT

The West Virginia Mountaineers failed to make a bowl game last season, continuing a steady decline following their victory in the 2012 Orange Bowl over Clemson. The Mountaineers and head coach Dana Holgorsen know that they’re under a lot of pressure to do well this season, but they’re going to have a very tough time winning their season opener against one of the top teams in college football. Alabama is a team that is always expected to be very good under Nick Saban.

West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Alabama Crimson Tide – Game in Atlanta
Saturday, August 30th – 3:35 PM ET
NCAA Football Odds: Alabama -23.5

 

The Mountaineers can win because…
They have absolutely nothing to lose, and also because Alabama must first find out if it really does have a new leader under center.

First, let’s look at West Virginia’s attitude for this game. The Mountaineers had been accustomed to success, and had won a Bowl Championship Series game under Holgorsen, their coach. Yet, the past two seasons have seen West Virginia go steadily downward. The team looked lost on a lot of levels, especially on offense, which is something fans were not expecting two years ago. Holgorsen is a man who has accomplished a lot in his career as an offensive playcaller and scheme designer. He had success as an assistant at multiple schools, including Oklahoma State, before getting the head coaching job at West Virginia. He’s a bit of a loose cannon, but over his career, he had given results to his employers. Last year, though, the fun stopped, as West Virginia never could figure things out on offense. Fans are restless entering this season, especially because West Virginia lost to lowly Kansas. That was an awful experience, but it’s exactly why the Mountaineers will want to do their best in this game and play with great energy. Going up against Alabama, you can expect Holgorsen to take lots of chances, and if he gets a fourth-down conversion early, West Virginia could build momentum in their season opener.

The other part of the puzzle for West Virginia is that Alabama is replacing A.J. McCarron, one of the most successful quarterbacks in college football history. If Jacob Coker is not ready for this moment, West Virginia could pull off the upset.

 

The Crimson Tide can win because…
They have vastly superior line play on both sides of the ball. Alabama might need a few games to get Coker into a good rhythm with his receivers, but the Crimson Tide aren’t going to need the passing game to be great the way they did a season ago. This year, Alabama should be able to power the ball between the tackles, giving the rock to T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry. These two backs provide a neat one-two punch to the Tide. Yeldon is the speed back, and Henry is the power back. Yeldon, though, can get tough yards, and Henry showed some breakaway speed against Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl in January. Alabama can pound the ball down West Virginia’s throat on offense. On defense, Alabama can use its strength along the front seven to overwhelm West Virginia’s offensive line. If the Crimson Tide can win that battle, and they’re very likely to do so, they can smother West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett, who struggled to find any consistency at all in the 2013 season. Alabama is just a much deeper and more talented team than West Virginia. If the first half is sluggish because of offseason nerves and accumulated rust, the second half shouldn’t be all that close., so we advise you take 'Bama as your College Football betting pick.

 

Outlook & NCAA Football Betting Prediction
If Alabama doesn’t crush West Virginia, it will be a real surprise. West Virginia just won’t be able to compete with Alabama’s power and strength for more than 20 to 25 minutes.
NCAA Football Picks: We advise you take Alabama -23.5 at TheGreek as your betting pick in this game.

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