It is a battle between two top teams in the country when the No. 1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide take on the No. 14 ranked Miami Hurricanes on Sunday. Alabama is coming off a championship season that saw the team go 13-0 on their way to the national title. That included beating seven ranked teams. Miami won eight of their first nine games, but dropped the last two of the season.
Alabama comes in the favorites at -19.5 (-110). Alabama is 14-3 all-time between these teams. They have not faced one another since the 1993 Sugar Bowl, a game won by the Crimson Tide.
Alabama Set to Defend Title
Alabama enters the 2021 season in a familiar position, ranked as the top team in the country. The schedule is front loaded in terms of difficult games, with Miami, Florida, and Texas A&M as three of their first six games of the season. However, the final month lightens up after the team takes on LSU on November 6. With New Mexico State, Arkansas, and Auburn, the Crimson Tide have the opportunity to finish the season strong.
The Crimson Tide will have a new signal caller this year with Bryce Young taking over the quarterback duties. That will not be the only dramatic change, as Bill O’Brien will be the new offensive coordinator. This team averaged 48.5 points per game last season and they should have success with Young as the quarterback. He came to Alabama highly recruited and has the poison arm to be a star.
While the offense is in capable hands, this may be one of the best defenses the Crimson Tide have ever produced. This team led the SEC in scoring defense last year (19.4 points per game) and they have eight starters who were returning from last year’s roster. That includes Will Anderson, Jordan Battle, and Malachi Moore, each who are considered top three or four at their position in college football.
Miami Looks to Roll Toward ACC Championship Game
The Hurricanes have a schedule that should give them the opportunity to easily reach the ACC Championship game. After Alabama, the only tough game over the next four weeks is against Michigan State. The October 16 battle against No. 10 ranked North Carolina is going to be a huge one. The Hurricanes should then be able to finish strong as well, putting themselves in a position for a playoff berth should they be able to beat Clemson in the championship game.
All eyes are going to be on quarterback D’Eriq King. After four seasons at Houston, he came to the Hurricanes and was ready to step in, but a torn ACL ruined his season. Now he returns ready to lead this offense and they should be very good. King has a corral of outstanding weapons that should augment his skill set quite well.
With King set to return, head coach Manny Diaz is focused on the defense. He has done a great job with turning this offense around, but the defense has gotten progressively worse, including giving up 62 points to North Carolina in the season finale last year. He has moved around several members of his coaching staff, but is going to have a tough go of it, as he loses three defensive ends to the NFL. This defense may be a work in progress, and Alabama is not the best place to teach.
- 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games.
Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Miami Hurricanes Pick
I understand that 19 points is a lot to give up, but this is Alabama. It is also the first game of the season against a quarterback coming back from a torn ACL. This defense is going to have a field day chasing him around. He will be less mobile and is still looking to get into a rhythm with an offense that he has little experience with.
On the other side of the ball, the Miami defense is going to be porous. The Crimson Tide are going to have a lot of success moving the ball behind their quarterback and I look for a major blowout in this contest
Pick: Take Alabama Crimson Tide at -19 (-110)
I am going under in this contest because I simply do not believe Miami is going to have a lot of success moving the ball. Oddsmakers seem to agree as well, as this total was initially set at 65 but has dropped to 61. I would not be surprised to see it drop a couple of more points by opening kickoff.
Alabama blows out Miami, and the Hurricanes have very little success in this contest offensively. They may score 17 at best. Give Alabama 42 and take the under.
Pick: Under 61.0 (-110)