The college football season can’t come soon enough following the feud between Alabama coach Nick Saban and Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher.
Saban fired the first shot while talking about the impact NIL (name, image, likeness) had on the game.
“A&M bought every player on their team,” he said, referring to the Aggies’ senior recruit class. “Made a deal for name, picture and likeness. We didn’t buy a player.”
Fisher, who last year became Saban’s first former assistant, beating him when the Aggies stunned the Crimson Tide 41-38 as an 18-point underdog, unleashed an angry response calling the comments “despicable” and labeled his former boss as a “narcissist”.
“Some people believe they are God,” he said. “Look at how God made his deal. You may learn… a lot of things you don’t want to know.”
The confrontation sets the stage for one of the most anticipated games of the season when the teams go head-to-head on October 8 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Will the tide roll in?
The line is already at Caesars Sportsbook, where the Crimson Tide are 14½-point favorites.
“I made line 16½, so I don’t see any value in the current number,” said professional sports bettor Paul Stone. “If it drops to 14, I would take a position in Alabama. The Tide are going into the season as the best performing team in the country, they will be motivated by last year’s loss and I don’t see either team taking advantage of the recent row with the head coaches.”
Alabama is the -125 favorite at Circa Sports to win the Southeastern Conference title, followed by defending champions Georgia (+140) and Texas A&M (21-1).
The Tide are +195 national title favorites, followed by Georgia (+265), Ohio State (+410), Clemson (11-1), Southern California (16-1) and the Aggies (21-1).
Week zero, 1 row
With three months to go before the season begins on August 27th, week zero and week 1 lines are on the board for Circa, Caesars and the Westgate SuperBook.
Some notable opening games include Notre Dame-Ohio State (-13), Oregon-Georgia (-18½), Florida-Utah (-2), Florida State-LSU (-2½), and Cincinnati-Arkansas (-6½).
Stone, who lives in east Texas, said he has already placed 31 college football bets, with his action split between neighboring Louisiana and Nevada.
His Week 1 recommendations include games featuring former Southwest Conference rivals that will soon be reunited in the SEC: Arkansas and Texas.
Early Best Bets
Stone put the Razorbacks (-6½) at home against the Bearcats and Louisiana-Monroe (+39½) on the road over the Longhorns.
“I absolutely respect the work that Luke Fickell has done at the University of Cincinnati,” said Stone (@Paulstonesports). “But the Bearcats had a school-record nine players selected in the NFL Draft last month, and five of those guys went into the first three rounds.”
Pro handicapper Brian Edwards (@vegasbedwards) recommends a week 1 game in North Carolina State (-9) on the road over East Carolina.
“North Carolina State is bringing back 10 starters from a unit that ranked second in the ACC and 18th nationally in goal defense (19.7 points per game),” he said. “The wolfpack is also returning linebacker Payton Wilson after missing all but two games last year. Wilson was a first-team All-ACC selection in 2020 as he led the league in tackles.
“Quarterback Devin Leary returns after a sensational 2021 season. He completed 65.7 percent of his passes for 3,433 yards with a 35-5 touchdown interception ratio. He led NC State to six wins by double digits last year.”
Early Line Movements
Seven totals have fallen by four points or more at Circa since it released its college football opening lines on Sunday:
— Clemson-Georgia Tech 55 to 49½
– Nebraska Northwest 55½ to 50½
— La.-Monroe-Texas 71½ to 67
– Southern Methodist-North Texas 75½ to 71
— Kent State-Washington 64½ to 60½
– Ball State-Tennessee 71½ to 67½
– Central Michigan-Oklahoma 61½ to 57½
The largest line draw on a side was at UNR’s inaugural game in New Mexico State:
— UNR -16 to -12½.