The 2019 NCAA football season has finally arrived after a long offseason and building excitement among sports fans and bettors alike. As the top teams in the country look to re-assert dominance on the gridiron, the Alabama football schedule finally kicks off in Atlanta.
The game may be taking place in the state of Georgia, but make no mistake the crowd will be cheering for the Crimson Tide. Fans of Alabama not only travel well to support one of the most prestigious programs in college football history, but Tuscaloosa is a mere three-hour drive from Mercedes-Benz Stadium and this will feel like a home game.
Nick Saban's Crimson Tide have reached the College Football Playoff in all five seasons of its existence, winning two national championships during that span. Last season, however, the campaign ended with a bitter taste as Alabama was handed a 44-16 beatdown by Clemson in the title game. That's sure to play a role as Alabama prepares to start a new chapter in its history with Duke in Week 1.
Below are the betting odds to know before making your Alabama-Duke pick, according to NCAA football betting lines from DraftKings NJ:
Alabama vs. Duke Betting Prediction Week 1
Alabama has started things off with a power-conference opponent in each of the last four seasons and wound up winning going away, with the most recent example being a 51-14 win at Louisville. This time around, oddsmakers have responded with a 33.5-point spread at DraftKings Sportsbook. There isn't much gambling information to go off of in Week 1, so we are forced to use what we know about the two teams more than normal to make our NCAA football picks.
Alabama Preview Week 1
After ranking in the top 10 in scoring offense (3rd) and scoring defense (10th) a season ago, Alabama is returning many of its star playmakers as it seeks another trip to the College Football Playoff. As for the players it must replace, coach Saban doesn't rebuild, he just re-tools from a pool of the top recruits in the country. Either way, Alabama is fearsome on both sides of the ball and all of the best NJ sportsbooks have responded with a huge line.
On offense, Heisman Trophy finalist Tua Tagovailoa led the team to scoring 45.5 points per game in 2018 and even sat out many fourth quarters throughout the year. He's working with what is regarded as the best wide receivers unit in the country starring Jerry Jeudy and will have no problems putting up points.
The Alabama offense will be missing several playmakers for at least part of the game due to suspension by coach Saban, but it should matter little. Whether it chooses to spread the ball around or run behind the top offensive line in the country, Alabama should have its way against Duke in Atlanta, and we could certainly see them scoring a ton of points on Duke.
Duke Preview Week 1
Coach David Cutcliffe is known as a quarterback whisperer, but that takes time. After losing three-year starter Daniel Jones to the NFL, Duke will have a quarterback with just two starts under his belt going against the Alabama defense. Cutcliffe will surely look to utilize running back Deon Jackson to force a manageable down and distance, but that's much easier said than done. The Blue Devils are in transition as an offense and they're in Alabama's way, which is a recipe for disaster in Week 1.
Alabama vs. Duke Prediction
You can be certain that Alabama is out to prove something after the way last season ended, and this is going to be a big-time statement game for Saban and his team after having all offseason to prepare. The Crimson Tide's defense rarely gets cut to shreds as it did in last year's title game, and we can be sure that regardless of opponent, Alabama would be looking to erase the bad taste that has lingered for months.
The combination of a motivated Alabama team featuring NFL-level talent on both sides and a new-look Duke offense finding itself leads to the Crimson Tide making this one ugly and covering the large number.
Pick: Alabama -33.5 (-110) - Place your bet at DraftKings NJ Sportsbook
Alabama vs. Duke Totals Prediction
Using NCAA football betting lines from SugarHouse Sportsbook PA, we have an over/under set at 57.5 points. It opened at some sportsbooks around 61 points and has been brought down by the growing number of wagers coming in on the under. Our theory is that the total has been lowered enough to hop on the over since Alabama is going to put up points early and often in order to send a message in this game. The Crimson Tide may account for nearly 50 by itself, and hopefully, a small contribution from Duke pushes it to 58 points and an over.