The Alabama Crimson Tide will open their regular season as college football betting favorites versus the USC Trojans at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on September 3rd. There are several reasons that NCAA football betting fans favor the Roll Tide over the Trojans – one of those reasons being that ‘Bama is ranked 1st in the Associated Press Poll, while USC is ranked 20th. Additionally, the Tide finished the 2015 season with a 14-1 record (7-1 in SEC play), and became SEC champions as well as consensus national champions after defeating the Clemson Tigers in the College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship Game. Alabama went on to secure its 10th AP national title.
USC +10½ (-110) 54 (-110) +325
Alabama -10½ (-110) 54 (-110) -400
College football betting fans know that things can change from one year to the next, though. In the case of Alabama, both running back Derrick Henry and defensive end A’Shawn Robinson left for the NFL draft, while starting QB Jake Coker graduated. Fortunately for the Crimson Tide, head coach Nick Saban – entering his 10th year – knows how to win sans a high profile quarterback. Saban will have his pick of QB from Cooper Bateman, sophomore David Cornwell and young prospects Blake Barnett and Jalen Hurts. The 2016 season will be the first that Saban won’t have his first or second-leading rusher return, but former five-star recruit Bo Scarbrough is being pegged as the next big thing at running back. Similarly, LB Reuben Foster, and defensive ends Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson are eager to have their time in the spotlight. Barring any unforeseen event, the Roll Tide will continue to be the defensive monolith that other teams have come to know and hate.
The USC Trojans had a pretty good 2015 season as well – or at least as good as could have been expected from a program in its first year out of sanctions, and having gone through many coaching staff changes in the span of a few months. USC finished 8-6 (6-3 in PAC 12 play) and won the PAC 12 division title, though they lost the conference championship game to the Stanford Cardinal. College football betting fans who follow the Trojans could reasonably expect them to at the very least match that success, seeing as how 32 starters will return in 2016 – 17 on offense, 13 on defense, and 2 on special teams. Not among those returnees is Cody Kessler, though; the three-year starter QB was drafted by the Cleveland Browns. In his stead, second-year head coach Clay Helton will start junior Max Browne under center. This will be Browne’s first career start, but he’ll have plenty of targets to choose from, such as running back Justin Davis and wide receiver JuJu ‘Bone’ Smith-Schuster. Moreover, the debuting QB will be protected by the likes of All-Pac-12 tackle Zach ‘Bruce’ Banner. Defensively speaking, the Trojans have arguably the best cornerback duo in the U.S. in Adoree Jackson and sophomore Iman Marshall, as well as the PAC 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year linebacker Cameron Smith.