Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders vs. Alabama Crimson Tide Point Spread – Pick Against the Spread

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
College Football Week 2
Date/Time: Saturday September 12th, 4:00PM EST
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium Tuscaloosa, A.L
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com

Point Spread: MTSU +34.5/ALA -34.5
Over/Under Total: 56.5

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Last week the Alabama Crimson Tide proved yet again that they are worthy of the National Championship talk. Despite losing a star quarterback, arguably the best wide receiver in the country, and 3 other All-Americans, the Crimson Tide unloaded on 20th ranked Wisconsin in a convincing 35-17 season opening victory. With just one week before the dreaded SEC West schedule begins, the Crimson Tide will have another opportunity to fine tune their skills when they host Middle Tennessee inside Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa this Saturday.

Alabama opened as rather huge 34.5 point favorites this week over the Blue Raiders. Last week Middle Tennessee had somewhat of a warmup game against Jackson State out of the FCS. The Blue Raiders slashed the Tigers in route to a 70-14 thumping. Despite the inferior competition, it was still a pretty impressive performance from the Blue Raiders offense that racked up more than 633 yards of offense. In fact quarterback Brent Stockhill, the son of head coach Rick Stockhill, threw for 336 yards with 4 touchdowns and 1 picks and 9 different players accounted for 63 carries for 282 yards on the ground. Needless to say the Blue Raiders offense was on the field for most of the game.

This week Middle Tennessee will attempt to hang in there with one of the best teams in the nation. Interestingly, the Blue Raiders are 2-0 all-time against the number when playing Alabama and they will have a pretty hefty 34.5 point cushion to start with this Saturday. On the other side, the Blue Raiders have not been very good for bettors in recent games going back to the end of 2014. Middle Tennessee is just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games and more importantly just 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games on the road. So what are the chances that the Blue Raiders can stay within the number this Saturday?


Well the answer to that question relies heavily on the play of the defense. Despite being at a talent disadvantage, the Blue Raiders have enough balance on offense to find a few ways to move the football. How much they score could be another question. Still, the way they are going to stay in this game is by getting sound play from their 7 returning starters and company on the defensive side of the ball. Alabama has turned into an offensive powerhouse over the last year or more since Lane Kiffin took over calling duties and opened up the playbook.

With just as many weapons and another balanced offense at his disposal, Kiffin showed again last week that he could open up the playbook. Quarterback Jake Coker was solid completing 15 of 21 passing for 213 yards and a touchdown. Cooper Bateman was even strong in relief effort hitting 7 of his 8 passes to amass 262 yards of passing on the game. The Alabama rushing attack led by superstar Derrick Henry was equally effective racking up another 238 yards on the ground. Henry led the way with 147 yards and 3 touchdowns including a daggering 56 yard house call. Kenyan Drake also looked pretty solid with 77 yards on 10 carries to add another touchdown as one of the best tandem backfields in all of college football.

Despite the success with the passing efforts, Henry and Drake are going to be the ones that can potentially take Alabama back to a playoff appearance. While a team like Middle Tennessee has to be worried about the entire playbook, those two stars get the offense going and will likely be their bread and butter down the stretch. Considering Middle Tennessees struggles last year against the run, I am not sure they will be up to the challenge of slowing these two talented tailbacks down. If Henry and Drake are able to run with ease, it will open up a lot more of the playbook really early.

Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Alabamas offense is simply too good. I like the Crimson Tide to flex their muscles again this week. Take Alabama -34.5

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