This Saturday the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (2-0) will head to Columbia to take on the South Carolina Gamecocks (1-1) in what will be the SEC opener for both sides. Kickoff is set for 3:30 EST at Williams-Brice Stadium and will be televised nationally on CBS.
You are going to want to shop around for the best number here. Alabama opened at -25.5 and are still at that price at most books. However, I’m seeing both a -25 and a -26 out there. The total for this matchup is sitting on an even 60 points.
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Vegas Betting Odds & Game Preview: South Carolina vs Alabama
Alabama Crimson Tide
Outside of a sluggish first half by the offense against Duke in the opener, Alabama has looked as dominant as we expected coming into the year. The Crimson Tide got things figured out against the Blue Devils and wound up winning that contest 42-3, covering as a 33.5-point favorite.
While they failed to cover as a massive 55.5-point favorite in a 62-10 win over New Mexico State, they certainly could have. All 62 of Alabama’s points came in the first 3 quarters as they led 62-7 going into the final period.
Star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has been impressive, as he tries to win the Heisman Trophy many thought he should have won last year. Tua carved up Duke for 336 yards and 4 scores and added another 227 yards and 3 scores vs New Mexico State.
South Carolina Gamecocks
The Gamecocks haven’t exactly had the start to 2019 that they were hoping for. South Carolina blew a double-digit 4th quarter lead and lost outright as a 11.5-point favorite in their opener against North Carolina. If that wasn’t bad enough, senior quarterback Jake Bentley, was lost to a season-ending Lisfranc fracture in his foot on the final play of the game.
South Carolina was able to get their first win of the season last week in a 72-10 blowout win over an inferior Charleston Southern team, but expectations have plummeted with Bentley’s injury. True freshman Ryan Hilinski got the start last week and was 24 of 30 for 282 yards with 2 scores and 1 interception. He did add a rushing touchdown, but it came from just 4 yards out and was his only carry.
Hard to read to much into that given they were playing a defense that let them rack up 493 yards and 8 scores on the ground. We will find out just how good Hilinski is against Alabama.
Believe it or not, Alabama is the team playing with revenge here. Last time these two teams met on the field the Gamecocks won 35-21 as a 6.5-point home dog. That however came all the way back in 2010. The Crimson Tide were ranked No. 1 in the country at the time of defeat.
Free Predictions & NCAA Football Pick: Alabama -25
My early lean here would be to lay the big number with the Crimson Tide on the road. I know whenever you bet Alabama you are going to be dealing with an inflated number. Regardless, there’s no way I’m backing South Carolina in this matchup. I think it would take the perfect storm just for the Gamecocks to keep this within 3 scores.
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I get the last time these two teams met was almost 10 years ago, but I don’t think for a second that Nick Saban has forgot about that loss. He’s not going to let his guys take this game lightly and I really feel like it would take Alabama not taking this game seriously for them to not cover.
I have little to no doubt that Tua and that Crimson Tide offense are going to score. This team put up 45.6 ppg last year and the only team that could slow them down had 4 NFL draft picks on their defensive line. I think they put up 40+ and could easily see them getting to 50.
Don’t be surprised if the defense doesn’t chip in here. I look for Alabama’s stop unit to feast on a true freshmen in his first real action against a Power 5 opponent. I think had SC played someone other than Charleston Southern last week the view on Hilinski and the offense would be a lot worse. Keep in mind Bentley was one of the top signal callers in the SEC coming into the year. Give me the Crimson Tide -25.