The Alabama Crimson Tide rolled to another national championship last season while rolling up plenty of profits for fans who backed them at the sportsbook each week.
'Bama was 10-3 ATS a year ago, while facing point spreads under 10 points just three times, so laying 14 points here against No. 8-ranked Michigan is no big deal.
They are 12-3 ATS in their past 15 games as a double-digit favorite and one of those ATS losses was a 41-0 demolition of North Texas where the Tide was favored by 47 points. In another game, they were favored by 18 points and won by 17, according to the OddsShark.com college football database.
Suffice to say, few are shying away from Alabama as they begin defense of that crown with an interesting inter-regional matchup vs. the Michigan Wolverines. The game is on a neutral field at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington Saturday night (8 pm ET, ABC), eliminating home-field advantage from the handicapping equation.
Michigan also eliminated starting RB Fitzgerald Toussaint and backup DE Frank Clark from Saturday's game, suspending both players and sending the spread climbing another few points at most shops tracked by OddsShark.com.
'Bama, ranked No. 2 in the AP preseason poll, returns 11 starters this season from the team that went 12-1 last year and squashed LSU in the BCS national title game. The Tide gets back six starters on offense, led by quarterback AJ McCarron and four along the O-line, but only five starters are back on defense.
Alabama must replace last year's top three tacklers. As is the case with the Tide these days, they lose talent to the NFL draft, but they quickly replace it.
Michigan, meanwhile, ranked No. 8 in the AP poll, returns 13 starters after going 11-2 overall, 6-2 in the Big Ten and beating Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl. It was Coach Brady Hoke's first season in Ann Arbor last year.
The Wolverines get back six starters on offense, including QB Denard Robinson (1,200 yards rushing, 2,200 yards passing, 36 total TDs last year) and three along the O-line. Seven starters are back on defense.
Michigan wasn't supposed to be that good last year, so they're at least a year ahead of schedule with Hoke. Meanwhile, Toussaint, who ran for 1,000 yards last year, won't gain any Saturday.
"They haven't been very intimidating as underdogs either, as the database shows they are just 3-8 ATS in 11 games in that role," said Jack Randall of OddsShark.com.
These two programs last met back in the 2000 Orange Bowl, when the Wolverines nipped Alabama 35-34 in OT.
Michigan vs Alabama Pick: Michigan is definitely headed in the right direction under Coach Hoke, but the Wolves are outclassed here. And while 13.5 points might seem like a lot in this spot, we'll lay those points and take the Tide.
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