Alabama vs. Duke - 8/31/19 College Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Photo by Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Duke at Alabama
Saturday, August 31, 2019 at 2:30 PM (Mercedes-Benz Stadium)
Alabama Crimson Tide -35 -- O/U: 58.5 Click Here for the Latest Odds
The Duke Blue Devils and the Alabama Crimson Tide meet in week 1 college football action from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA on Saturday afternoon.
The Duke Blue Devils will look to put forth another solid showing after finishing the 2018 season with an 8-5 record, including a 3-5 mark in SEC conference play to finish 6th in the ACC Coastal division, earning an invite to the Independence Bowl where the Blue Devils defeated Temple in a 56-27 beatdown. Daniel Jones is off to the NFL, so that leaves Quentin Harris in charge of the Duke offense after throwing for 437 yards, 7 touchdowns and one interception on 50% passing while also rushing for 5 touchdowns. Deon Jackson and Brittain Brown are back in the Duke backfield, after combining for 1,216 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns last season. The issue for the Duke offense is that their top two receivers are gone, leaving Jake Bobo as the top returning receiver after logging just 10 grabs for 167 yards last season. Defensively, eight starters are back including cornerback Mark Gilbert, Dylan Singleton, Marquis Waters and Leonard Johnson who boast one of the harder-hitting ball-hawking secondary units in the ACC. The front seven is also quite formidable with Brandon Hill and Koby Quansah in the middle and Derrick Tangelo and Victor Dimukeje up front. As a team, Duke averaged 405.7 yards of total offense and 29.4 points per game while allowing 408.8 yards and 27.4 points per game last season.
The Alabama Crimson Tide once again come into a regular season as a national championship favorite and contender after finishing the 2018 season with a 14-1 record, finishing the regular season 12-0, including 8-0 in SEC conference play, earning the top spot in the SEC West division, booking a spot in the SEC title game that the Tide used to beat Georgia by a final score of 35-28. The Crimson Tide were once again one of four teams in the national championship playoff, defeating Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl/CFP semifinal by a final score of 45-34 before losing the national championship game to Clemson by a final score of 44-16. Tua Tagovailoa is back at starting QB for the Tide after throwing for just 3,966 yards, 43 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Injuries have been a concern though in the past for Tagovailoa as infamously seen in the SEC title game, but with Jalen Hurts gone to Oklahoma, Mac Jones steps in as the #2 QB in Alabama’s program. The Tide lost two strong running backs, but still retain the services of Najee Harris and bring in Brian Robinson to form the 1-2 punch in Alabama’s backfield. The Crimson Tide might boast one of the best receiving corps in the country, if not the best, bringing back Jerry Jeudy after leading the Crimson Tide with 68 catches for 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns. Jaylen Waddle and Henry Ruggs III are also back after each logged at least 45 catches, 740+ yards and 7 touchdowns last season. Defensively, Alabama is as solid as they’ve been in years past, with Xavier McKinney and Jared Mayden leading the secondary while leading tackler Dylan Moses comes back to take over the middle linebacker position. As a team, Alabama averaged 522 yards of total offense and the 3rd-highest scoring offense, averaging 45.6 points per game last season. On defense, Alabama allowed 320.3 yards and 18.1 points per game last season.
Duke is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games and 35-16-1 ATS in their last 52 non-conference games while the over is 4-1 in their last 5 games against the SEC. Alabama is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall and 0-4 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games while the over is 21-6-2 in their last 29 neutral site games.
Every year, Alabama has a solid opponent on the other side, we get a thick line, and a lot of people think that it’s too many points as you always seem to have a lot of turnover with Alabama’s roster. However, the Crimson Tide slapped Louisville in last year’s season opener, and Alabama scored no less than 35 points in all but two of their games before the national championship last year. Duke has some talent in their lineup, but Alabama simply has more, a lot more. If it’s possible, I think that Alabama’s offense has actually gotten better compared to the 2018 edition, as Tagovailoa can be the best quarterback in the country if he stays healthy, and Alabama’s receiving group as previously mentioned is as stellar as advertised. I just don’t see any reason to step in front of Alabama even in week one, so I’ll lay the points with the Crimson Tide in what should be a rout from start to finish.