Louisville Cardinals vs. Alabama Crimson Tide Odds, Analysis, Betting Pick

OddsShark.com@@OddsSharkFeatured ColumnistAugust 28, 2018

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates beating the Georgia Bulldogs in overtime to win the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. Alabama won 26-23.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Coach Nick Saban seems to know how to get his Alabama team ready for season openers, considering the Crimson Tide are 11-0 straight-up and 10-1 against the spread in Week 1 under him. And many of those victory/covers have come against quality competition.

The defending national champs open their 2018 season against Louisville on Saturday night on neutral turf in Orlando.

        

College football point spread: The Crimson Tide opened as 28.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)

College football betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 44.7-29.3 Crimson Tide (College football picks on every game)

            

Why the Louisville Cardinals can cover the spread

The Cardinals get back 11 starters this season from a team that finished 8-5 last season, with a bowl loss to a pretty good Mississippi Sate team. Seven starters are back on offense, led by last year's top three receivers, and four along the offensive line.

And while they lost Heisman-winning quarterback Lamar Jackson early to the pros, they're hoping highly regarded Jawon Pass can step in and produce. Meanwhile four starters are back from a defense that allowed 388 yards per game last season.

Stretching back a few seasons Louisville is 8-0 ATS the last eight times it's been lined as a double-digit underdog.

             

Why the Alabama Crimson Tide can cover the spread

The Tide only returns 10 starters from the team that finished 13-1 last year and won another national championship. But then again, this is Alabama.

The Tide started 11-0 last year but a loss to Auburn kept them out of the SEC Championship Game. However, they still qualified for the College Football Playoff, and took advantage of the extra time off by beating Clemson in a national semifinal, then rallying to defeat rival Georgia in the national title game.

Seven starters return on offense, led by a pair of pretty good quarterbacks, two-time 1,000-yard rusher Damien Harris and four along the offensive line. And while only three starters are back from a defense that held foes to just 260 yards per game last year, the talent waiting to fill those holes is top-notch.

             

Smart betting pick

Alabama is the betting favorite on the odds to win the national championship again this season, and probably deservedly so. Also, the Tide has won its last six openers, all against quality programs, by an average score of 37-13. Louisville, meanwhile, has one significant hole to fill on offense and an iffy defense. Smart money here bets Alabama.

            

College football betting trends

Alabama is 9-1 ATS in its last 10 games in Week 1.

The total has gone over in five of Alabama's last seven games against the ACC.

Alabama is 40-0 SU in its last 40 games as a double-digit favorite.

          

All college football odds and betting trends according to Bleacher Report's official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week's top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.

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