The late afternoon window for Week 1 is headlined by Alabama vs Miami and Neil Monnery thinks the 18.5pt underdogs might keep it closer than the experts think...
I’d like to start this preview by putting up a quite astounding statistic. In the past nine years Alabama are 9-0 in season openers playing Michigan, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Wisconsin, USC, Florida State, Louisville, Duke, and Missouri. In those games they won every single one of them by double-digits. Nick Saban’s side do not start slow and since taking on the job - he hasn’t lost a season opener full stop.
That might be a small indicator on who I think might win the game but of course historical success isn’t a necessary indicator of future outcomes.
Alabama break in a new starting QB and new OC and whilst one was a highly rated recruit and the other a highly rated coach - I have some question marks about whether they’ll hit the ground running. Bill O’Brien put together a fantastic offense up at State College during the sanction years but this will not be the BO’B show. This will be a blend of what the Crimson Tide have been doing for years and what the new OC likes to run.
Bryce Young comes in with a huge reputation. The #2 overall recruit in the 2020 class flipped from USC to go down south to play for Nick Saban. With the new spread style offense firmly entrenched in Tuscaloosa, his style should suit but it is always tough when a player starts his first game at a new level. With the move of star receiving talent to the pros - he doesn’t have many veteran players to throw the ball up to.
Miami will have the more well-known commodity at QB with Houston transfer D’Eriq King coming back for one final season at the collegiate level. He threw for 20 TDs last year with only four picks. Back in 2018 before he left his former team - the Redshirt Senior threw for a hair under 3,000 yards and 36 scores. The Hurricanes will need King to be absolutely on point if they are to pull off the huge upset.
The line has been set at Alabama-18.5 and despite the Crimson Tide’s quite sublime record in opening games, I just think this might be a little bit close than the experts think. I’ll take Miami with a 18.5pt head start.
Alabama are -1000 to win this game and I’m not willing to bet against them on the Moneyline just yet.
Over/Under Points Totals:
I think defenses may play pretty well in this game. The Crimson Tide D should be outstanding so with an O/U line set at 62.5 - give me the under.