Last week, we looked some early favorites, a couple of dark horses and some long shots to win the 2018 college football national championship. Now, the lines for week one games are available for action at select books.
Several of the teams we highlighted as national championship contenders open the season with intriguing matchups. The numbers below are an average of lines given to me by Jimmy Vaccaro at the South Point Casino, 5dimes and Bovada.
Most sportsbooks severely limit the action of early lines to limit their exposure; who knows what a team will look like in August. These limits are often $500 to $1,000 maximum wagers, 20 percent juice or some combination of the two.
Here’s a look at five interesting Week 1 lines involving SEC teams.
Alabama vs. Louisville in Orlando
Line: Alabama by 30
The play: Louisville plus-30
Here’s why: It’s no surprise Alabama is a favorite in a season opener. Nick Saban has only been an underdog 8 times in 152 games at Alabama. Not even Heisman winner Lamar Jackson sticking around was going to change this scenario. That this number is 30 points, though, is a surprise. Despite a career winning percentage of 86.8 at Alabama, Saban’s success against the spread is much more human. At 53.6 percent against the spread, Saban’s teams are about average when it comes to beating the number. Still, Alabama has won 11 consecutive season-openers under Saban and won six in a row on neutral fields by double digits. The Cardinals are one of only two teams to finish in the top five in total offense in each of the past two seasons, but that was because of Lamar Jackson, who is off to the NFL. Former four-star recruit Jawon Pass seems likely to take over. I’ll take Bobby Petrino if you’re spotting me 30 points any day. Sure, Saban and Alabama will win. But it will go down as an “L” against the spread.
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