NCAA Football: Florida State (3) v Alabama (1) Preview

9 min

Florida State and Alabama face off in the brand spanking new home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons in what is not just the game of the weekend but possibly the game of the season, and we’re only in week 1.

  • Opening | Current Point Spread: Ala -7.5 | Ala -7
  • Opening | Current Total: 53 | 49.5
  • Click here for the latest betting
  • Game to be played in Atlanta Georgia
  • Kick-off: 1am Sunday (BST)

It’s no exaggeration to suggest the winner here will be in contention come semi-final time on New Year’s Day 2018 while the loser will have zero margin for error for the rest of the season. Strap yourself in for this one folks, It’s going to be a dandy!

The magnitude of the game means it will be a major betting market on Matchbook. While the majority of College Football viewers will be tuned in for the spectacle of the occasion, a large chunk of them will be glued to their TV screens due to financial motivations.

NCAA betting has exploded in recent years here at Matchbook and in terms of liquidity and value it is second to none.

So let’s try and find a way to get involved and take some of that value for ourselves.

Point Spread Analysis

Alabama have long been the darlings of favourite backers, as coach Nick Saban’s teams have generally delivered, often as substantial favourites, throughout his tenure and the Tide are 7-3 against the spread (ATS) in their last 10 games.

In other words they have won by more than their pre-match points handicap (the spread) in seven of their last ten games. Despite this the line for their opener has shifted towards the Florida State Seminoles.

The Seminoles lead by offensive wiz and head coach Jimbo Fisher finished hot last season and are 4-0 ATS in their last four games, including an underdog victory against Michigan. And they seem to be attracting some of the early money.

The handicap market for the game opened with Alabama as a 7.5pt favourite although it has tailed off to a flat 7pts in the past few weeks. And nobody likes a push right? Luckily here at Matchbook you can back Bama -6.5 or FSU +7.5 depending on what way you are leaning.

Calling this one is tough, especially with so much change in the offseason.

Both teams look rock solid defensively and the key x-factor in this one could come down to the play of the respective teams quarterbacks.

Between them, they combined to throw for 6,130 yards and 43 touchdowns posting a staggering 24-4 last season. Not bad for rookies.

FSU’s quarterback Deondre Francois is a freshman who lit up last season. Under the guidance of Fisher, Francois settled to the starting QB spot in a seamless manner but he has lost a number of offensive cohorts this offseason, most notably running back Dalvin Cook who was drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft.

The dual threat of FSU’s Deondre Francois will be a handful for Alabama.

Alabama’s Jalen Hurts also had a breakout Freshman year in 2016 and added another layer, to a sometimes one dimensional Tide attack. He’s also lost a number of notable receivers this offseason, but still has the safety blanket of All American Calvin Ridley to call upon.

Total Points Analysis

With so many unknowns, it might be better to look elsewhere for a bet on this one and the totals presents an interesting opportunity. The market for total points here opened at 53 earlier in the summer months but has dropped to 49.5 at the time of going to press. Is this unusual? I hear you ask. And not particularly is the answer.

At this time of the year with the initial number posted so far out, any injuries, rumours and analysis can make a number jump quite rapidly in either direction. Another major factor is bets on these games are at far lower limits in Vegas Sports Books than they would be three or four days before a game.

Both the totals and handicap (point spread) markets are liable to sudden and sharp changes of direction.

‘Sharp Bettors’ get a sense of a line that they like from their own calculations and jump on it accordingly, and in doing so move the number in not just one but all sportsbooks.

But this is where Matchbook comes into its own.

Similar to the Point Spread market(s) Matchbook offers alternative Total Lines. Not Happy with 49.5, feel free to drop to 49.0 for a slightly lesser price if you’re backing the over. You don’t have to take a line you are not happy with.

One option here is the over 49.0 alternative market. In neutral venue games the OVER has cashed in the Seminoles last 6 and is 20-6-1 in Alabama’s last 27. Both Defensive units are rightly lauded, but there’s too much speed on both sides of the field to be willingly putting yourself through a tortuous sweat by backing the under here.

Both Defenses are dynamite at returning the ball to the opposite end zone when they do force an inevitable turnover.

And both Bama and FSU also possess lightning quick punt returners also so there’s yet another avenue for TDs.

You could take the over 49.5, but the over 49.0 market seems the play here. With 7 points for a converted touchdown, 7 of those and hey presto you land on 49 and escape with a push at the very worst and a game long sweat. But whatever you’re betting this is not a game you want to miss.

Recommended Play:

Over 49.0 points at 1.85