Nick Saban and the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide are listed as a 12-point favorite against the USC Trojans at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com entering their season opener at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The total is set at 53.5 points. The Crimson Tide are on a 9-0 straight-up and 6-3 against the spread run when they are favored by 10 to 19 points, according to the OddsShark College Football Database.
The Crimson Tide, 12-0 SU in their last 12 games, are choosing between junior Cooper Bateman and freshman Blake Barnett at quarterback. Saban has NFL prospects throughout the depth chart, with DE Jonathan Allen, ILB Reuben Foster and OLB Tim Williams shoring up the front seven while CB Marlon Humphrey will likely show off his cover skills against USC WR JuJu Smith-Schester.
Southern Cal, which is 1-5 ATS in its last six games, has not faced such a large spread since 2011. Junior QB Max Browne (19 career passes) is making his first start minus a primary pass blocker, LT Chad Wheeler, who has been replaced by sophomore Chuna Edoga. Southern Cal is 5-5 SU and 3-7 ATS in its last 10 September games, but all of that predates head coach Clay Helton taking over.
Heisman Trophy favorite Leonard Fournette and the LSU Tigers are 10-point favorites against the Wisconsin Badgers for their tilt in Green Bay, with a total of 44.5. The Tigers are just 5-5 ATS in their last 10 games as a favorite of at least 9.5 points. Fournette is formidable, but QB Brandon Harris needs to show LSU has a capable passing game. The total has gone over in LSU’s last four games as a favorite of 9.5 or more.
The Baker Mayfield-led Oklahoma Sooners, ranked No. 3, are 11.5-point favorites against the Houston Cougars, with a total of 68. The Sooners, who were a College Football Playoff semifinalist last season, are 23-1 SU in their last 24 games after losing as a favorite and 14-5 ATS after a loss.
Houston QB Greg Ward Jr. was one of just two players last season who passed for 2,000 yards and rushed for 1,000 – the other was Clemson’s DeShaun Watson, whom the Sooners couldn’t stop in their CFP defeat. Houston is 12-1-1 ATS in its last 14 games as an underdog.
With coach Brian Kelly being coy about his QB choice between DeShone Kizer and Malik Zaire, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are three-point favorites against the Texas Longhorns, with a total of 60. Notre Dame is 10-0 SU in its last 10 games as a favorite, while Texas is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games as an underdog.
The Florida State Seminoles are four-point favorites, with a 56.5-point over/under, against the Mississippi Rebels entering their Monday matchup in Orlando. Star RB Dalvin Cook and FSU, who ended last season with a bowl loss against Houston, are 6-0 SU in their last six games after losing as a favorite. It wasn’t an anomaly last season when QB Chad Kelly and Mississippi beat Alabama; the Rebels are 9-2 SU in their last 11 games in Week 1.