Alabama Team News

Looking beyond the short-priced Tide next year

Alabama players celebrate

The start of the 2018 College Football season is still a long way off, but that hasn’t stopped sportsbooks from installing Alabama Crimson Tide as huge favorites. Most pundits and fans would agree that they deserve to be installed at the top of the odds given their record, but is there more value to be found in other sides? The best odds available for the Tide at the moment come in at around 9/4, but many sportsbooks have put them as low as 7/4. For many, that will seem a little short for a team that needed overtime to secure the championship last season, not to mention the fact that a ball has yet to be thrown this season.

Yes, there is much to like about the Tide going into the 2018 season. Both quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts should return for the new season, and it will be interesting to see how coach Nick Saban utilises two of his most potent weapons. There will also be returns for receiver DeVonta Smith and star running back Najee Harris. However, the odds do look a little short and more value may be found backing their rivals. Several candidates are discussed below, with the latest odds supplied by William Hill. If you want to compare different odds, check out this guide to sportsbooks in Canada, where you will also find the latest free bet offers for football.

Georgia Bulldogs: 10/1

An agonizing loss in overtime in the Championship Game last time should not stop the Bulldogs from being right back in the mix again this year. The biggest issue they face is the loss of several players to NFL. However, there is still plenty to enthuse punters about Georgia. They have a fairly decent schedule, including home ties against Auburn, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. Much will depend on quarterback Jake Fromm, who was outstanding for the Bulldogs in his freshman year.

Georgia celebrates Rose Bowl win

January 1, 2018; Pasadena, CA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back Sony Michel (1) and linebacker Roquan Smith (3) celebrate the victory against the Oklahoma Sooners following the 2018 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson Tigers: 8/1

The offense ground to a stuttering halt in the CFB Semi-final against Alabama, but the evidence of the whole season suggested that the game was the exception rather than the rule. A good chunk of the offense will return, despite Clemson also losing plenty to the NFL Draft. Expect a big season from running back Travis Etienne – a huge value bet at 66/1 for the Heisman Trophy.

Ohio State: 7/1

Another team drained of resources thanks to the NFL, but coach Urban Meyer and his team have shown that their recruitment policy is second to none. Of those that still remain, Dwayne Haskins looks the likely candidate to replace J.T Barrett as the Buckeye’s starting quarterback. In addition, the top-rated receivers from last season will all be in Ohio colors. The roster has several players good enough to step up and replace those that have departed. If that potential is fulfilled the Buckeyes have a big chance.

Ohio State defense

Sep 3, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes defensive end Nick Bosa (97) celebrates using his brother Joey Bosa’s gesture after his first career sack against the Bowling Green Falcons as safety Jordan Fuller (4) and linebacker Justin Hilliard (47) react at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

And a quick note on some outsiders:

Michigan Wolverines: 16/1

2017 was something of a rebuilding year for Michigan, so the time is now ripe to bear some fruit. The return of Tarik Black from injury should help.

Oklahoma Sooners: 25/1

First of all, they look a solid prospect to win the Big 12. Aside from Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield, the Sooners didn’t lose too much to NFL. A decent bet for those who like longer odds.

Miami Hurricanes: 33/1

A side that is still a work in progress still looked pretty good last season. If the improvement under coach Mark Richt continues, who knows what they could achieve?

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