The Alabama Crimson Tide may be No. 1, but the Ole Miss Rebels have the edge on Saturday’s college football odds board.
Ole Miss Rebels vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
at Bryant-Denny Stadium
There’s no rest for the wicked. It looks like the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide won’t have to worry about the Clemson Tigers this year, now that the Tigers have already lost twice – making it highly unlikely they’ll face Alabama in the College Football Playoff. But there are other threats awaiting the Tide in their own conference. Threats like the No. 12 Ole Miss Rebels, who will touch down in Tuscaloosa this Saturday. Not that ‘Bama aren’t capable of dealing with would-be SEC contenders. They’ve swatted aside nearly every opponent since Nick Saban took over the program in 2007. However, the Tide appear to be over-valued as 14.5-point home faves on the college football odds board at BetMGM. That extra half-point above the magic number 14 is like handing a golden ticket to contrarian bettors – and Ole Miss might not even need it to get the cover.
As well as the Crimson Tide have played this year – they’re No. 1 on the F/+ efficiency charts at Football Outsiders heading into Week 5 – they haven’t been a profitable NCAAF pick at 4-0 SU and 2-2 ATS. They were in a similar situation two weeks ago when they visited the Florida Gators (then ranked No. 11 on the AP poll) as 14-point faves on the closing line; Alabama had to snuff out a 2-point conversion attempt to win 31-29. This Saturday, the Tide will face another dangerous SEC team, one that’s even more tilted towards offense than Florida. After three games, Ole Miss (3-0 SU, 2-0-1 ATS) rank third overall in offensive F/+, sandwiched between Alabama in first and the Gators in fifth. QB Matt Corral is the new Heisman Trophy favorite at bet365, checking in at +150, with ‘Bama QB Bryce Young a close second at +160 and everyone else left in the dust. DraftKings has an 80-point total on their NCAAF lines at press time; the consensus figures show 83 percent of early bettors taking the Over.
They might get there. Ole Miss have yet to face a serious challenge this season, and their defense only ranks No. 63 in the nation – Lane Kiffin has a lot of work to do on that side of the ball. But at least Saban’s former assistant has some relatively experienced talent to work within his second year at the helm. They’ve even adopted some of the 3-3-5 schemes that Iowa State defensive coordinator Jon Heacock has used to great success. There’s nowhere to go but up for this club. Which makes Ole Miss a classic contrarian bet for Saturday’s matchup. The Tide remain one of the most public teams in college football betting, while the market has yet to jump on the Mississippi train just yet. This should be a good opportunity to get some value on a quality road dog before people catch on, although a smaller bet size might be in order, given the disparity between the Alabama offense and the Ole Miss defense.
NCAAF Pick: Ole Miss +14.5 (–110) at BetMGM