Alabama Crimson Tide vs Miami (FL) Hurricanes Betting Preview
Nick Saban hoisted his sixth championship trophy as coach of the Crimson Tide last January. Alabama ran the table during the shortened College Football season and comes into 2021 ranked as the preseason number one team. Alabama sits on top of the college football world where Miami once stood in the 1980s and early 2000s. “The U” comes into the season ranked 14th in the polls and hopes to knock off college football’s current goliath.
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Alabama Crimson Tide:
The Tide under Nick Saban have been a shining example of reloading rather than rebuilding, and this season will be no different. The 2020 championship team was led by an explosive offense that featured Heisman Trophy winner Devonta Smith and fellow first-round picks Jaylen Waddle, Mac Jones, Najee Harris and Alex Leatherwood. Along with the on-field talent, Bama replaces offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian who is now the head coach for the Texas Longhorns.
So who’s left? Sophomore quarterback Bryce Young comes in after being ranked the number one recruit in the 2020 class and the third highest-ranked recruit Alabama has ever signed. John Metchie is the loan returning skill player, leaving the door wide open for impact players to step up on the offense.
The offensive line replaces three starters but left tackle Evan Neal projects as a top draft pick in next year’s NFL Draft. Former Texans head coach Bill O’Brien takes over calling the offense that will likely take some time to reach the level seen the past few years.
Defensively Alabama should regain its identity under Saban. For Alabama standards, the team has struggled the past 2-3 seasons, but the talent returning in Tuscaloosa is stacked and ready to be the focal point in 2021. Pass rusher Will Anderson leads a linebacking corps that adds Tennessee transfer Henry To’oTo’o in the middle.
Overall the defense replaces two starters, including top ten pick Patrick Surtain II, but his running mate Josh Jobe is primed to step up and be the lock-down cornerback in the Tide’s secondary.
Miami (FL) Hurricanes:
The ‘Canes had a successful 2020 at 8-3, but lost their two matchups against ranked teams by an average of 30 points. Quarterback D’Eriq King transferred in from Houston and provided a healthy dual-threat option in the backfield. Manny Diaz’s team reached as high as seventh in the AP poll before losing to Clemson, but stayed in the top 25 for the entirety of the season.
King returns on offense despite suffering a late-season torn ACL and should be ready to go for kickoff. On the offensive line Zion Nelson ranks as one of the top offensive tackles in college football and the receiving group gets a boost from Oklahoma transfer Charleston Rambo and super-senior Mike Harley.
On the defensive side, the Hurricanes had three pass rushers drafted in the NFL Draft in Jaelan Phillips, Greggory Rousseau, and Quincy Roche. Bubba Bolden is a leader at safety, and Georgia transfer Tyrique Stevenson joins him in the defensive backfield that will try and slow the Tide’s receivers down.
The line on this game opened up at -16.5 earlier this summer, but as it gets closer to kick off BetUS, BetOnline, and Bovada all have the point spread at -19.5, favoring the Tide. The over/under for the game is set at 61 points across all of the sportsbooks mentioned. The Tide haven’t lost a season-opening neutral-site under Nick Saban and have outscored opponents 477-138 in the 14 games.
The early summer line was favorable for the Tide, and they should still be able to cover the -19.5, but the better play is likely under 61 total points. The Bama defense should be one of the better units of the Nick Saban era and will be a tough opening test for D’Eriq King returning from injury. Bama’s young offense should be expected to have some growing pains before blossoming, so look for the point total to be less than expected.