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Betting Preview: Alabama Crimson Tide vs South Carolina Gamecocks

The last time Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide traveled to Columbia, the Gamecocks upset them 35-21. They’ll be hard pressed to repeat history this Saturday, however. Alabama is favored by nearly four touchdowns in the SEC opener for both squads.

Alabama vs South Carolina (Matchup Report)
Date/Time: September 14, 3:30 p.m. ET
TV Coverage: CBS
Opening Odds: Alabama -24 | O/U 62.5 (Line History)

Opening Odds Analysis

After being favored by a combined total of 89 points in their first two games, the Crimson Tide opened as “just” 24-point chalk against the Gamecocks. Bettors have been happy to back Bama at that price, betting the Tide up to -25.5 by Sunday evening.

Alabama News & Notes

Alabama cashed a lot of first-half tickets for its point spread backers last year, but the Crimson Tide sputtered out of the gate in Week 1, leading Duke 14-3 at the intermission. Last week, the Tide got back to their old tricks, scoring on a 75-yard lateral on their first play from scrimmage and coasting into halftime with a 38-0 lead over New Mexico State.

Through two games, Alabama has outscored opponents 104-13, and 10 of those points against came with its backup defense on the field last week in the fourth quarter.

South Carolina News & Notes

The last time these teams met, the Gamecocks handed Alabama a surprising 35-21 defeat in Columbia — marking the last time Saban lost to an SEC East opponent. That was nine years ago and the personnel on both sides is obviously drastically different, but the South Carolina fans may lean on that memory early in the hopes of making things difficult for the Tide once again.

More important to the outcome, however, will be how freshman QB Ryan Hilinski responds facing Alabama’s vaunted defense in just his second career start. Hilinski, who inherited the starting role after Gamecocks starter Jake Bentley broke his foot in Week 1, looked unfazed in his first start last week against Charleston Southern, going 24-for-30 for 282 yards and accounting for three touchdowns.

He’ll also have the crowd behind him. South Carolina has committed to promoting mental health of college athletes in the memory of Hilinski’s older brother, Tyler, who committed suicide several years ago. “It makes you grow up very quickly,” Cocks head coach Will Muschamp said of his young four-star recruit. “The guy can handle what we’re doing.”

Betting Pick

It’s hard to lay a big number on the road in SEC play, but the Crimson Tide have been a point-covering machine in this role since 2015, going 11-5-1 ATS in their last 17 conference games on the road. It’s the only way I can look here as well. South Carolina may hang tough for a while early, but expect Alabama to eventually overpower the Gamecocks and their young quarterback. I’ll lay the points with the Tide.

Shark Bites
  • Alabama is 11-3 ATS in its last 14 September road games.
  • The OVER is 3-0 in Alabama’s last 3 road games vs South Carolina.
  • The visiting team is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 games in this matchup.