The Tide Rolls
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I normally don't like getting involved in games with large numbers like the 41-point spread Bovada has posted for Alabama in today's game with Florida Atlantic.
But based on the small sample size we have from these two, I think one can be pretty confident the Crimson Tide can and will cash for their backers.
The Tide had what many believe was a less than impressive season-opening 33-23 victory against West Virginia at the Georgia Dome last week. And I actually think that's part of the reason Nick Saban's team will unload on the Owls in their home opener.
I'll begin with presumed Tide starting quarterback Blake Sims, who had some nice moments in the Tide's win last week. But he also looked at times every bit the quarterback making his first career start. Now, with a game under his belt, look for Sims to flourish in his first start at home, considering Florida Atlantic's defense surrendered over 700 yards last week against Nebraska in their 55-7 shellacking.
With that in mind, remember Jake Coker is still battling Sims for the starting quarterback job. So don't look for The Tide to lose much -- if any -- intensity when Coker gets the call today. And if Coker doesn't play in this one, something will have gone seriously wrong.
But as much as people want to talk about the Alabama passing game and so-called quarterback controversy, take a look at one key comparison using the Bovada data tool on the Home page.
Let's start with that big number, 498, which is the number of rushing yards surrendered by the Owls last week. Don't see the Owls if you have a cold, because they can't seem to stop a running nose!
Conversely, look at Alabama's rushing offense that racked up 288 yards on the ground last week. 'Bama had two ball carriers go over 100 yards rushing in last Saturday's win: TJ Yeldon and Derrick Henry. So you could make the case that Florida Atlantic's biggest weakness, which is defending the run, plays right into Alabama's strength, which is running the ball.
When I do look at games with spreads such as this, I like to break down the game into smaller parts.
With that in mind, there's no reason why the Tide won't post at least a 27-point halftime lead. If that happens, then it's a matter of their second and third teamers outdoing the Owls by just a couple touchdowns in the second half. And all of a sudden, 41 doesn't seem so difficult.
I know. Many times, it's easier said than done. But not here. I'm using my Saturday bankroll on Roll-Tide and expecting them to give FAU's defense an even longer day than it had last week.
My pick: Alabama -41
Result: Alabama 41 Florida Atlantic 0 push
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