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Alabama Crimson Tide Betting Tips – Tide Must Lean On McCarron To Make A Big Run

Posted by Blake Frazier on 6/12/2012 5:15:57 PM

Head Coach: Nick Saban
Offensive Coordinator: Doug Nussmeier
Defensive Coordinator: Kirby Smart
Stadium:  Bryant-Denny Stadium
Capacity: 101,821

Offense

For legions of online sportsbook experts who study college football, the presence of a running game has generally been the cornerstone of Alabama football. Not this year, however. Star running back Trent Richardson is gone, but quarterback A.J. McCarron will be more formidable as a passer. McCarron proved himself under fire last season, and while Alabama won't run the ball the way it did last season, the Tide's passing game should be much improved, and new coordinator Doug Nussmeier should assist in that process. The key point of focus for Alabama's offense will be to use the short passing game as an extended running game and a form of ball control. Alabama used a six- and seven-yard passing game to its tight ends with great effectiveness last season, and that general approach should be very much in evidence this upcoming season.

Grade: A-

Defense

The phase of football that online betting sites are wondering about this season in the SEC is Alabama's defense, which soared last season and must now get production from a lot of new faces. Alabama's defense completely throttled LSU's offense in last season's BCS National Championship Game, limiting the Tigers to just five first downs, 92 total yards, and only two third-down conversions. LSU didn't move the ball past midfield in the first 52 minutes of play, failing to mount a legitimate scoring threat throughout the evening in the Louisiana Superdome. Alabama scored only one touchdown, but it didn't need more. The 21-0 shutout represented the ideal display of defensive dominance for Nick Saban's crew, a blueprint and template for the way the Tide want to play each time they take the field. This season's defense loses several quality players to the NFL, such as Courtney Upshaw, Dre Kirkpatrick, and Mark Barron (among others). However, Alabama is at a point where it generally reloads on defense instead of merely rebuilding. The defense won't be as good as last year, but it will still set a very high standard.

Grade: A-

Special Teams

The Tide actually didn't even require one touchdown in their BCS title game win over LSU, because with five minutes left in regulation, five field goals had already staked coach Nick Saban's team to a 15-0 lead. Alabama went through a very up-and-down season in the kicking game, missing four field goals in the Nov. 5 regular-season loss to LSU before sorting out its problems two months later in the championship game on Jan. 9. Alabama's punting was enough to sustain and supplement its defense. However, it's too early to call this unit a true strength of the Tide. This is still a team that butters its bread on the offensive line and its linebacking corps. The ranks of online sports betting experts in America would also say that Bama's run-stuffing defensive linemen mean more to this team than its punter and kicker, hands down. This unit has to be dynamic if it wants to lift Alabama in 2012.

Grade: B-

Prediction

After Alabama won the 2009 national championship, it regressed in 2010 because its secondary got exploited by potent passing attacks. This season, following the 2011 national title, is very similar. If the Tide's secondary can stand in the ring against Tyler Wilson of Arkansas and other elite quarterbacks in the SEC, Alabama could play in the 2013 BCS title game… as the SEC champion, not as a surprising at-large selection. Will the Tide get there? Probably not. Playing at LSU and Arkansas will be tough for this team to handle. A 10-2 record is in store for this year's edition of the Tide. Thinking favorably of this team’s odds for a repeat national championship is not a wise inclination at all.

2012 Schedule

Week 1 – vs. Michigan (8:00 PM ET)
Week 2 – vs. Western Kentucky
Week 3 – at Arkansas
Week 4 – vs. Florida Atlantic
Week 5 – vs. Ole Miss
Week 6 – at Missouri
Week 7 – at Tennessee
Week 8 – vs. Mississippi State
Week 9 – at LSU (8:00 PM ET)
Week 10 – vs. Texas A&M
Week 11 – vs. Western Carolina
Week 12 – vs. Auburn

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