College Football Betting Free Pick: Southern Miss Golden Eagles at Alabama Crimson Tide
CFB FREE PICK: Southern Miss Golden Eagles at Alabama Crimson Tide
#359 Southern Miss +38.5 (Saturday, September 21 @ Noon EST)
In recent years Alabama has seen some of the biggest spreads in college football on a week-to-week basis. Playing cupcake non-conference games has that effect. Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide roll to easy wins against inferior opponents. For us sports bettors, we’re the ones who have to sweat out their games each week thanks to these high spreads. Southern Miss is no Clemson or Georgia. They are almost certainly not going to win this game. They do, however, a great shot at covering such a big point spread.
Southern Miss opened the season with a 38-10 win against Alcorn State. This win is neither impressive or ugly considering the competition. The only real positive thing to take from it was the fact that Jaylond Adams had two 80+ yard returns for touchdowns; one kick and one punt. In their second game, Southern Miss fell to Mississippi State 38-15. Three turnovers are what doomed the Golden Eagles. USM then responded with a 47-42 victory over Troy last week. Quarterback Jack Abraham had his best game of the season (28-36, 463 yards, 2 TDs). Adams had another kick return for a touchdown, this time 100 yards. The Golden Eagles were 11-of-17 on third downs and had 514 passing yards. They also had no turnovers and allowed zero sacks; their best all-around game of the young season.
Alabama is 3-0 and has outscored their opponents 151-36. However, they played a Duke team that was playing its first game without one of their best quarterbacks in program history (Daniel Jones). Then they played a New Mexico State team that is in for a very long season and yet Alabama couldn’t cover the spread. Last week they took on their toughest opponent, South Carolina, and failed to cover that game as well. The Crimson Tide only had 76 total rushing yards on 24 attempts (3.2 yards per attempt). Alabama is no doubt a good team, but don’t let the results of its first three games fool you into thinking they are any more dominant than they’ve been in the past.
Don’t underestimate Southern Miss’ defense. While not SEC-caliber, they rank 28th in pass defense and 70th in rush defense. For comparison, Alabama is 13th and 36th respectively. With a total of around 62 points, books are expecting a final score somewhere in the range of 49-13, which would cover the spread. With Southern Miss coming off of their best game of the season (as is Abraham), they head into Alabama with a bit of momentum and should play their hearts out on Saturday especially with a rather easy home game vs. UTEP on deck.
Southern Miss’ passing attack should be able to move the ball. In fact, if Alabama has a weakness, it’s in its secondary. Last week, South Carolina backup Ryan Hilinski threw for 324 yards and two touchdowns against the Crimson Tide. Much of the game was out of reach but it showed that there’s yardage to be gained, especially late when Alabama’s starters are out.
Another thing to keep an eye on is Adams’ return abilities. He should be able to provide good field position for the Golden Eagles with a number of opportunities in the return game. Small things like that go a long way in helping a team cover such a large spread.
As good as Alabama is, they are not good against the spread and that is all that matters. Alabama is 1-5 ATS in its last six games and 1-6 ATS in their last seven games against Conference USA opponents. Southern Miss meanwhile is 5-2 ATS in its last seven games and worthy of our support this weekend.