Fresh off an impressive win over Florida State, the Alabama Crimson Tide are set for their home opener this weekend. The Tide will entertain the Fresno State Bulldogs at 3:30 EST on Saturday, September 9, at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Fans can watch the game on ESPN2.
Not surprisingly, the Crimson Tide are heavy favorites in this game, listed at -42.5. However, that’s down slightly after Alabama opened as 45-point favorites. Click here for a full list of Week 2 betting odds and links to game previews.
Fresno State vs Alabama Betting Preview & Vegas Game Odds
In the biggest game of college football’s opening weekend, the Crimson Tide looked like vintage Alabama. The game was close at halftime, but ultimately, Alabama made plays in all three phases of the game to beat the Seminoles 24-7.
Considering Florida State’s standing heading into the game, the Crimson Tide’s impressive win at a neutral site leaves little doubt that Alabama deserves to be the top-ranked team in the country at this stage in the season.
The Bulldogs were also impressive the first week of the season but in a different way. Fresno State throttled Incarnate Word 66-0 despite a scoreless 4th quarter. Of course, there’s a Grand Canyon sized difference between blowing out a lackluster FCS opponent and paying a visit to Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide.
Jeff Tedford has taken over Fresno State this year after one of the worst seasons in program history in 2016. He has his work cut out for him this year, but the Bulldogs do bring back plenty of experience on both sides of the ball. Also, the season opener couldn’t have gone any better, with Fresno State outgaining Incarnate Word 613 yards to 125 yards.
Vegas Free NCAAF Betting Pick: Fresno State +42.5
Even with a good performance in their opener, the Bulldogs are not ready to play a team like Alabama. Fresno State has almost no chance of beating the Crimson Tide, but that doesn’t mean Alabama is a lock to blowout Fresno and beat the spread. In fact, I would lean toward Fresno State in this matchup.
As impressive as Alabama looked on defense and special teams against Florida State, the Tide wasn’t exactly rolling on offense. To be fair, the Florida State defense deserves most of the credit. But the Alabama offense deserves some of the blame too. Jalen Hurts completed just 10 of 18 passes and failed to break the 100-yards passing plateau. When you consider that 53 of his 96 yards passing came on a touchdown pass to Calvin Ridley, it’s hard to deny that Hurts had a rather poor outing.
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Things should pick up for Alabama’s offense in Week 2. It’ll be easier for the Tide to run the ball against Fresno State than they did against Florida State. Also, the Fresno State secondary may not have an answer for Ridley. But beating a six-touchdown spread may be asking too much after Alabama looked so sluggish on offense last weekend. It may also be a little more difficult for the Tide to get excited to play Fresno State one week after playing in prime time against a top-5 opponent.
It’s certainly possible for Alabama to cover such a large spread against Fresno State. But doing so may require at least one or two touchdowns by Alabama’s defense and special teams. If the Crimson Tide are just a little slow out of the gate, it could hinder their chances of covering a 42.5-point spread. Alabama will win comfortably, but not by six touchdowns.