Duke Blue Devils vs. Alabama Crimson Tide College Football Betting Preview

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The Duke Blue Devils will face the Alabama Crimson Tide in a Week 1 NCAA college football game on Saturday August 31st. Things get started on a neutral field in Atlanta Georgia at 3:30PM Eastern Time and ABC TV has the coast to coast broadcast.

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The current odds available for wagering at Oddsmaker, where the bonuses are the best in the business have the Alabama Crimson Tide favored by -34 ½ points with the over under line set at 58 points.

Alabama has been ready defensively when they started the season. They held Louisville to 14 points last year, 7 points to Florida St in 2016 then, 6 points to USC three years ago. Team returns six starters to the offense and six to the defense. After giving up 44 points to Clemson expect Alabama head coach Nick Saban to give a strong focus defensively as the team gets ready for the new season. They did give up six points and 60 yards per game greater in 2018 than their defense allowed in 2017.

Starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa returns for his junior season. He is in his walk year as Tua will be eligible for the NFL draft after his junior season. Saban often pulled his starter early in games last year. With the great chance of losing Tua to the NFL after this season he may take a good look at backup Mac Jones who was not impressive completing 38.5% in limited action last year. Offensively they may look to limit the mistakes and run the football. Tua had four interceptions in his past three games. He needed to be bailed out by Jalen Hurts in the comeback win against Georgia overcoming a 28-14 second half deficit. Saban doesn’t have the luxury of two quality starters at quarterback. They averaged 38 rushing and 29 passing plays last season. In 2017 it was 43 rushing and 23 passes. It was 43 rushing attempts in 2016. Alabama may look to go back to their ball control style to win the National title. There is no Hurts available to backup Tua if he makes costly mistakes. Saban may look to his offensive line to dominate games and hand the ball off more to their running backs. More runs from scrimmage runs time off the clock and keeps down the scoring plus defense fresh. This year when Tua goes to the bench expect Alabama to go into a run heavy offensive style.

Duke is coming off an 8-5 season. But they return only four starters back on offense and break in a first year starter at quarterback. They have three starters back on the offensive line. Last year Duke held opponents to 27.4 points per game and this unit could be improved as they are experienced on the defensive line and secondary. This is a team that struggled for points in losses to Clemson, Virginia and Virginia Tech last year who are defensive minded teams. Blue Devils fell 35-6 at Clemson late last season. Quarterback Quentin Harris will start at quarterback a first year starter in his senior season. He will be without one of his starting wide receivers as Jake Bobo went down with a broken collarbone. All receivers are first year starters trying to get open against the Alabama secondary. Tight end is also a first year starter. Their top player returning with the most receiving yards last year is running back Deon Jackson who caught 25 passes for 253 yards. Harris completed only 50% of his throws last year. He ran 46 times for 195 yards. On the ground in 2018 the Blue Devils averaged a modest 4.3 yards per rush.

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