Alabama is two-for-two on reaching the College Football Playoff and won its third national championship in the last five seasons in 2015. The Crimson Tide remain stacked in the talent department, so beyond a couple of tough road games there’s little reason to believe they can’t make it three-for-three on making the College Football Playoff in the season ahead.
2015 Alabama record: 14-1 SU, 8-7 ATS
2016 regular season wins over/under: 9.5
2016 odds to win SEC: +175 (bet $100 to win $175)
Odds to win national championship: +700
Last Year in Review
A 10-1 wager on many national championship boards at sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark heading into last season, Alabama overcame an early-season loss to Ole Miss and clearly stood as the best team in the country by season’s end. The Tide beat Florida for a second straight SEC Championship Game victory, pounded Michigan State in the national semifinal, then made the big plays late to beat Clemson 45-40 in the title match. Alabama has now lost just seven games over its last five seasons.
This Year in Preview
Alabama only gets back 11 starters this season; however, that’s one more than it had heading into last season, and it won the national championship. Six starters are back on offense, including maybe the best set of receivers in the country and three along the offensive line. However, the Tide have to replace a Heisman winner at running back and their starting quarterback. Meanwhile, just five starters are back on defense following the loss of four of last year’s top five tacklers.
Alabama 2016 Schedule
The Tide will play one of the toughest schedules in the FBS this season. However, they get seven home games, just four true road games and a neutral-site bout with USC in Arlington, Texas, where they will own home-crowd advantage. Barring a shocker, they should beat the Trojans and go 7-0 at home.
But those four road dates hold the key; at Ole Miss (to whom they’ve lost twice in a row), at Arkansas, at East Division favorite Tennessee and the big one at LSU on November 5. Win three of those games, and they’re probably playoff-bound. However, a split of those four might be pushing it.
Betting on the Crimson Tide
Alabama has won and covered eight of its last nine seasons openers, and those games weren’t exactly against a bunch of FCS fodder. Over the last four seasons, the Tide have dominated Michigan, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Wisconsin to the tune of four easy wins and three easy cash-ins.
Head coach Nick Saban has his troops ready to go from the opening gun, which might bode well for betting the opener against the Trojans.
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