College Football Picks: Alabama vs. Virginia Tech Predictions

League: NCAA Football
By: Doc's Sports Published on: 08/09/2013

by Dave Schwab - 8/9/2013

Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron

The season’s Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta features the defending National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide against the ACC’s Virginia Tech Hokies. The game is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 31 with a 5:30 p.m. (ET) start, and it will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.

Alabama’s run to its third BCS title in four years resulted in a 13-1 straight up record overall and a 7-1 SU record in the SEC. Its only setback of the season was a stunning 29-24 loss to Texas A&M as a 13.5-point home favorite. The Tide were not the best team to bet on last year with a 7-7 record against the spread.

It was basically a season to forget for Virginia Tech in 2012 after stumbling its way to a 7-6 record SU and a costly 4-9 mark ATS. The Hokies went 4-4 SU in the ACC, which landed them in fourth place in a very weak Coastal Division.

Alabama vs. Virginia Tech Storylines

The Tide come into this game and the 2013 season in excellent shape to win a third straight national title with a good deal of talent back on both sides of the ball. Quarterback AJ McCarron returns for his senior year and appears poised to make a serious run at the Heisman Trophy after throwing for 2,933 yards and 30 touchdowns last season. Eddie Lacey is now in the NFL, but TJ Yeldon is ready to take his place as the next great running back to come out of Tuscaloosa.

Alabama will have seven starters back from a defense that led the nation in points allowed in holding teams to a ridiculous 10.9 points a game. The defensive line lost three starters, and cornerback Dee Milliner is also gone, but the Crimson Tide have prided themselves during this incredible run at filling holes with relative ease, especially on this side of the ball.

It is back to the drawing board for long-time Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer. The glory days for this program are becoming more and more distant with each passing year, and the prospect for dramatically turning things around this season do not look so good. The Hokies will have Logan Thomas back at quarterback, but he will have to vastly improve upon a 51.5 completion percentage and an 18-touchdown-to-16 interception ratio that plagued his performance all last season. He remains a dual-threat after leading the team in rushing in 2012 with 524 yards.

The Hokies’ defense did a good job overall by holding teams to an average of 22.8 points a game, but it was torched for 30 points or more in four of its six losses last year. A couple of key players to keep an eye on are linebacker Jack Tyler and cornerback Kyle Fuller.

Alabama vs. Virginia Tech College Football Week 1 Betting Tends and Futures Odds

BetOnline has released its early lines for Week 1 of the college football season and has opened Alabama as an 18.5-point neutral-site favorite over the Hokies with the total set at 46.

The Tide are just 2-4 ATS in their last six games but 17-1 SU in their last 18 contests. The total has gone “over” in their last three games.

The Hokies are 4-10-1 ATS in their last 15 games, and the total has stayed “under” in four of their last six games.

These two teams last met in 2009, with Alabama winning 34-24 as a 6.5-point home favorite. The total went over the 36.5-point line.

College Football Picks: Alabama vs. Virginia Tech Betting Predictions

Neutral-site openers are always a bit tricky to handicap, especially with such a wide point spread, but look for the Tide to make a statement in this game that the road to winning a national title still has to go through them. Unfortunately for Hokies’ fans, it will be at their team’s expense in a lopsided Alabama victory that easily covers the 18.5-point spread.

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