Alabama Football Game Predictions, 2018: Odds Point to Perfect Season

Alabama is the No. 1 team in the AP Top 25 preseason poll for the third year in a row. The only program to play in all four College Football Playoff series, oddsmakers are dangling an over/under 11.5 win total with Crimson Tide threatening to run the table. This is in part to an easier-than-usual schedule. Our model projects perhaps one blemish to stymie a perfect regular season. Below are our Alabama game-by-game predictions for the 2018 season.

Championship Odds (5Dimes):

SEC: +120
SEC West: -190
Make CFP: -325
Win CFP: +205

2018 Schedule, Projected Results

Sports Betting Resources Projected:

W-L Record: 10.5-1.5
Avg. Points: 34.1
Avg. Points Allowed: 15.5

Week 1, Louisville

Site: Neutral (Orlando, FL)
Date: Sept. 1 (8 p.m. ET)

Win Probability: 85.1 percent
Fair Line: Alabama -14
Projected Score: 30-16

Both teams return seven defenders combined, the Cardinals lose Lamar Jackson under center, and the OVER is 20-7-1 in neutral-site contests under head coach Nick Saban. Contrarian bettors see this as a recipe for a low-scoring game, and so does our model.

Both sides have some QB issues to hash out, and it will show in the season opener. Bobby Petrino has a winning record in every season at Louisville—this includes both stints. He’ll have this team more ready than the public anticpates. Advanced lines have ‘Bama favored by 25 points. This is asking too much from a less experienced Saban squad.

Week 2, Arkansas State

Site: Home
Date: Sept. 8 (3:30 p.m. ET)

Win Probability: 97.9 percent
Projected Score: 44-17
Fair Line: Alabama -27

Toss out Louisiana-Monroe’s shock 21-14 win over Alabama in Saban’s debut season (2007), and the Tide are 9-0 straight up (SU) with a 40.4 to 4.2 average score at Bryant-Denny Stadium hosting Sun Belt foes. Lay 30-plus points if you will.

Week 3, Ole Miss

Site: Away
Date: Sept. 15 (7 p.m. ET)

Win Probability: 79.9 percent
Projected Score: 27-16
Fair Line: Alabama -11

Ole Miss has given Saban as much trouble as any SEC program, twice winning outright and finishing three of nine other matchups within one score. The Rebels, ineligible for the conference championship and a bowl game invite, have license to give it their all in this early-season matchup. Our projected score is much lower than the total oddsmakers will set, but ‘Bama averages just 33.2 points per game in Oxford. Advanced lines have Ole Miss catching 22.5 points. Our numbers split this in half. Good value on the Rebels.

Week 4, Texas A&M

Site: Home
Date: Sept. 22 (TBD)

Win Probability: 88.8 percent
Projected Score: 34-17
Fair Line: Alabama -16.5

Few know what to expect with Texas A&M this season with Jimbo Fisher taking charge. One thing we can project is the Aggies will likely run into a buzz-saw defense. Saban’s unit surrenders just 10.8 points per game at home against division rivals when coming off a road SEC contest. The UNDER is 16-4-1 all-time in this spot.

Week 5, Louisiana-Lafayette

Site: Home
Date: Sept. 29 (TBD)

Win Probability: 99.9 percent
Projected Score: 42-7
Fair Line: Alabama -40

Will be the biggest blowout for Alabama all season. Mark it.

Week 6, Arkansas

Site: Away
Date: Oct. 6 (TBD)

Win Probability: 87.4 percent
Projected Score: 35-20
Fair Line: Alabama -15

Alabama owns a 20.4 average margin of victory in road SEC clashes against teams that won six games or fewer the previous season. Arkansas, Tennessee, and Ole Miss trigger this in 2018. The Hogs are in rebuild mode and learning a new pass-first system under Chad Morris. This could get ugly.

Week 7, Missouri

Site: Home
Date: Oct. 13 (TBD)

Win Probability: 96.4 percent
Projected Score: 37-12
Fair Line: Alabama -24.5

Since joining the SEC, Mizzou has kicked off a double-digit home underdog twice. In 2012, it fell to Alabama 42-10 catching 21.5 points. Auburn, meanwhile, romped 51-14 last season lying 18.5 points. Tigers QB Drew Lock is NFL bound, but few of his teammates will even get a whiff from the top pro league. Huge talent gap here will see the Crimson Tide win by three touchdowns.

Week 8, Tennessee

Site: Away
Date: Oct. 20 (TBD)

Win Probability: 79.9 percent
Projected Score: 28-16
Fair Line: Alabama -11

Jeremy Pruitt is the new head coach at Tennessee, the Butch Jones era finally finished. The Vols are rebuilding, but there is still some talent present (12 returning starters) to make this team better than advertised. Pruitt is demands more discipline, emphasizes defense-first, and will employ a power-running game. This approach will help keep Tennessee competitive in most. Value will be with Smokey in the betting market.

Week 9, No. 25 LSU

Site: Away
Date: Nov. 3 (TBD)

Win Probability: 72.0 percent
Projected Score: 27-19
Fair Line: Alabama -8

Alabama is gifting 14.5 points in advanced lines. In 12 all-time meetings, Saban has won just two by more: 38-17 in 2013, and 21-0 in the 2012 Sugar Bowl. The average score when played at Tiger Stadium is 19.8 to 15.0. If the Crimson Tide slip up this season, it will be here, or in the Iron Bowl hosting Auburn. Best bet LSU with the points.

Week 10, No. 18 Mississippi State

Site: Home
Date: Nov. 10 (TBD)

Win Probability: 85.3 percent
Projected Score: 33-19
Fair Line: Alabama -14

Since 1980, Mississippi State is 1-15 SU in road SEC contests against programs owning a points differential of 18.5 or higher the prior season. Alabama finished 2017 with a 25.1 rate. The Bulldogs lose by 18.9 points per game in this situation. This is the best team in Starkville in a while, which keeps it a tad closer, but ‘Bama is still two touchdowns better.

Week 11, The Citadel

Site: Home
Date: November 17 (TBD)

Win Probability: 99.4 percent
Projected Score: 44-10
Fair Line: Alabama -34

The average score when Saban hosts an FCS team is 45.1 to 5.5. Prep week for the big Iron Bowl test next time out. Still, the second- and third-string will handle this professionally.

Week 12, No. 9 Auburn

Site: Home
Date: Nov. 24 (TBD)

Win Probability: 80.9 percent
Projected Score: 28-17
Fair Line: Alabama -11.5

Since shifting to a true home/away series, Alabama is 8-5 SU and 7-6 ATS in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide owns a 9.1 average margin of victory. Early lines see Auburn catching 9 points, offering a tiny bit of value in our models with Alabama. Always expect the unexpected in this meeting, however. Not enough edge to toss money on either side.