The 2017 college football season begins in earnest on Saturday, the card highlighted by what may be the best opening-weekend game in the sport’s history – No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 3 Florida State at the brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Back in May, Alabama opened as a 4-point favorite at the South Point, the first sports book in Las Vegas to post college football Week 1 lines. Since then, the Crimson Tide have taken most of the betting action, and the line is up to 7 or 7.5 around Vegas.
The over/under total is 49.5.
Betting on or against Alabama is typically a dicey proposition. It’s hard to find value laying the points (and they’re always favored), this game being a fine example. If you were savvy enough to play the Tide -4 when lines opened in the spring, congratulations, you made a solid value bet. But now, laying a touchdown? Not much value there.
On the other hand, if you want to take Florida State plus the points, you’re betting against Nick Saban and his dominant program. ‘Bama was 10-4-1 against the spread last year, and 13 of its 14 wins came by double digits.
Additionally, the Tide tend to come storming out of the gate. They are 10-0 straight-up and 8-1 ATS in season openers under Saban – and most of those wins have come against solid competition, as they’re no strangers to marquee neutral-site season-opening games.
Florida State presents another stiff challenge for Saban’s crew. The Seminoles were 10-3 SU and 8-5 ATS last season, and return six starters on offense and nine on defense.
Their offensive line was a mess last year, though, allowing 36 sacks, and while coach Jimbo Fisher is optimistic it will improve, the revamped unit will be put to the test against Alabama’s excellent defensive front.
While star running back Dalvin Cook is now in the NFL, the ‘Noles offense will be fueled primarily by Deondre Francois, who is among the favorites to win the Heisman Trophy. Francois threw for 3,350 yards and 20 TDs last season, to just seven interceptions, and rushed for 526 yards and five TDs.
If you believe Florida State can win the game outright, you can get +240 odds on the money line.
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