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Alabama vs Louisville: Vegas Odds and Winning O/U Bet

Louisville Cardinals(0-0) @ Alabama Crimson Tide(0-0)

  • Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium. Tuscaloosa, AL
  • When: September 1, 2018 8:00 pm EST
  • Spread: Alabama (-24.5) vs Louisville (+24.5)
  • Moneyline: None
  • Over / Under: Over 62 (-115) vs Under 62 (-105)

Certain conferences put up football scores that look like basketball scores. Coaches complain of a squad “missing its turn” if it does not find the end zone on 3 straight drives. While some fans may yearn for a pretty contest filled with 15 touchdowns in them, it’s more dramatic when a single TD means everything, and when crunch-time possessions are made more entertaining to avoid repeated mistakes etched in one’s memory.

The ability of the Alabama Crimson Tide to play tough-nosed defense while finding ways to score points on offense and special teams (and defense) should be celebrated. The Tide do not always produce a high-octane 57-42 victory, but they rarely suffer a defeat. Highly successful programs that win 17-3 or 24-7 are hard to find in football today….in the NFL or the NCAA.

The point spread favors Alabama by a whopping (-25 1/2) over Louisville on Saturday. With former Heisman trophy winner Lamar Jackson off to the NFL, some bettors are liking ‘Bama as a potential lock ATS or on the moneyline…though moneylines on the game seem to be limited to betting exchanges.

But is another betting market I have been watching closely in anticipation of the SEC vs ACC contest. The O/U total is currently at (62) and climbing. It has shot up almost a full 10 points since betting began.

Why are gamblers so convinced that this will be a high-scoring affair? Especially considering what has gone on in Tuscaloosa.

Saban serves up a stinker

A highly-publicized off-season drama unfolded for the Crimson Tide this summer when coach Nick Saban let veteran quarterback Jalen Hurts’ relationship with the coaching staff became strained during his tussle with Tua Tagovailoa for the starting quarterback job. Saban has softened what was once an icy stance – even threatening to cut his former starter Hurts out of nowhere – by defending a controversial Q & A in which the junior QB ripped his coaching staff.

The coach released a statement saying that every player should have his voice heard. There has also been buzz around Tuscaloosa saying Hurts might be named the starter for the season opener.  (In any event, Alabama has kept mum on its starter and may continue to keep the decision a secret until Saturday evening.) That is the likely culprit for pushing the O/U line to tremendous levels – a perceived ending of strife in the locker room.

But it will take more than a few magic words to heal all involved. The Crimson Tide possess the size, speed, and talent level to wallop the Cardinals by a lot. On the other hand, the QB tension is still fresh enough to prevent the Tide from playing to full potential. Hurts could press, trying desperately to hold onto the job.

Cardinal Direction

Where will the rushing yards come from now that Louisville is without their dynamic dual-threat quarterback? Jackson accumulated 1601 yards, which amounted to half of Louisville’s total in their ground attack last season. The Cardinals’ 2nd-leading rusher in 2017, Malik Williams, is also wearing NFL gear.

Experienced MSB readers know that I’m already feeling the under, based on the overwhelming action on the over (62). But what if the brutal, vicious Alabama front-7 causes nightmares for Pass (when he attempts to pass the ball) and forces the Cardinals into endless miscues that result in easy Crimson Tide points, a scenario in which eventually a meaningless 10 late-game points for Louisville can result in a 51-13 result and a defeat on the under?

The Crimson Tide are replacing quite a few stars on the defensive end. Despite having the ferocious leader in sacks Raekwon Davis back for his junior campaign, I doubt the ‘Bama staff will send extra attackers for Pass on a consistent basis. ‘Bama’s lack of proven veterans on defense could this work in the under bettor’s favor just as much as Saban’s folly at the QB position.

The number of new faces is too high for coaches to call pinpoint blitzes and all-out stunts. If the green-horns on the ‘Bama defense misread their assignments, it may only lead to more possession for the Cardinal offense and melt the clock to prevent the juggernauts from increasing their win margin.

Keep in mind that opposing teams who come to Tuscaloosa end most of their possessions with a 1st down or 2 at best. If the Cardinal offense is torn to pieces all 4 quarters, they will put up a goose egg, and the Crimson Tide will have to have an electrifying 60-point game to push past the gigantic O/U.

The Cardinals could potentially hold the ball for half the game instead of 25 minutes if the home team’s defense commits foolish errors early in the contest. This will result in less time for the ‘Bama offense to run up the score if the Bobby Petrino’s team is able to mount a few field goal drives.

Louisville at Alabama: Prediction and Recommended Bet

Click to bet on under (62) points at Bovada Sportsbook and receive a 50% sign-up gift.

A poorly-played 31-12 victory for the Crimson Tide where the Cardinals cannot find the end zone wins on the under. A manhandling the likes of 44-0 wins on the under as well.

The only outcome where a win on the over is going to occur is a game with an offensive explosion from both sides, and that would be shocking, considering the dominance of Alabama’s defense and the uncertainty at quarterback across the board.

Take the under (62) total points for a winner on Saturday.

Kurt BoyerThis article was written by Kurt Boyer

A freelance sportswriter from Missouri, Kurt has covered court, gridiron, rink and ring for 10+ years. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.

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