Utah State vs. Alabama Betting Analysis & Predictions
NCAA Week 1
Date/Time: Saturday September 3rd, 2022. 7:30PM (EST)
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium Tuscaloosa, AL
TV: SEC Network
Point Spread:USU +39/ALA -39 (BAS - Offers Reduced Odds! Save $$$!)
For the 7th time in the 15-year reign of Nick Saban in Tuscaloosa, the Alabama Crimson Tide will kick off the college football season as the consensus number 1 team in the nation. Perhaps this year, more than others, Alabama is most deserving of that number 1 ranking as they return the reigning Heisman Trophy winner in QB Bryce Young, the national Defensive Player of the Year in LB Will Anderson Jr, and a plethora of blue-chip talent that will once again be among the favorites to win the National Championship.
After getting knocked by Georgia in last year’s National Championship Game, Alabama’s road to redemption will start on Saturday (9/3) when they host the Utah State Aggies inside Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide are currently listed as overwhelming 39-point favorites against a Utah State team that is on the heels of a tremendous 11-3 SU season in the first year of Head Coach Blake Anderson. By all expectations, the Aggies are expected to return another solid group this season which could make another run at the Mountain West title. The fact that Utah State is getting 39 points as a viable MWC contender either points to two potential outcomes; either Utah State is being disrespected, or Alabama is just that loaded with talent!
Alabama Incoming Talent
If you missed the off-season drama, Head Coach Nick Saban and Texas A&M Head Coach Jimbo Fisher traded a few jabs at last year’s recruiting practices. While Texas A&M officially got the number 1 class, Alabama made up lost ground with the transfer portal. The Crimson Tide added stud CB Eli Ricks (LSU), WR Germaine Burton (Georgia), OL Tyler Steen (Vanderbilt), WR Tyler Harrell (Louisville), and perhaps the biggest prize of them all in RB Jahmyr Gibbs (Georgia Tech). Gibbs accounted for 1,800 all-purpose yards as a sophomore at Georgia Tech as a utility man in the rushing, receiving, and returning department. Gibbs showed tremendous potential behind a crap offensive line and should bring big play potential to a deep Alabama backfield that is once again healthy.
These additions are worth noting because Coach Saban has rarely relied on so many transfers that will have immediate impacts to the team. However, the caliber of players Alabama received over the off-season has lofted expectations, especially when you consider the talent Alabama already had returning on both sides of the football. As a result, Alabama will have the reigning Heisman Trophy winner to lead the air raid along with a plethora of talented skill position players that will be used in multiple ways. As a result, Utah State will undoubtedly have their biggest challenge of the season defensively to try and slow this lethal Alabama offense.
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Utah State vs. Alabama Betting Analysis
Utah State kicked off their season against Connecticut to set the stage for this week’s trip to Alabama. Meanwhile, Alabama will be making their first performance of the season, and it is always tricky trying to predict performance right out of the gates. Nick Saban has been critical of the offensive line’s play throughout practices in recent weeks, and honestly, that is the area of the field where Alabama should shine in this match-up. In fact, Alabama should own the trenches, especially on the defensive side of the football.
Alabama’s success defensively will likely tell the tale in this match-up. While Blake Anderson has done a great job with the Utah State offense, QB Logan Bonner is a pure pocket passer with limited mobility. The Aggies struggled in protection last year, and if Alabama bullies their OL, it could be a disastrous combination. I don’t see the Aggies running attack having much success in this game, and they key to Utah State covering the 39 points will be finding ways to convert and capitalize on scoring opportunities. For that to happen, the pass protection has to be improved for the Aggies.
Utah State vs. Alabama Betting Trends
- Utah State is 7-1 ATS in the last eight games
- Utah State is 7-0 SU in the last seven games on the road
- Utah State is 10-2 ATS in the last 12 games in September
- Utah State has hit the “over” in four of the last five openers
- Alabama is 10-0 SU in the last 10 games at home
- Alabama is 6-0 ATS in the last six season openers
- Alabama is just 1-4 ATS in the last five games against MWC opponents
- Alabama has hit the “under” in five of the last seven games
Utah State vs. Alabama Prediction
For Alabama, I see more plausible paths to a victory and a cover. Not only could Alabama get a huge defensive effort with opportunistic turnovers, but the Crimson Tide also has the offensive firepower to post huge numbers to relieve that 39-point cushion. Personally, I have always been impressed with Alabama in season openers. Whether it is preparation or discipline, the Crimson Tide always plays strong in the opening weeks and have sported a 6-0 mark ATS in the last 6 season openers. I think the Aggies will need a “best effort” here, and I’m still not sure if that will be enough to keep it close.
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