Alabama opens as favorite for 42nd straight week; more first-week lines
By Zac Ellis
Betting lines for the first week of college football were released this week by 5dimes Sportsbooks, and it appears Alabama's streak of dominance extends all the way to Las Vegas. The Crimson Tide opened as 24-point favorites over Virginia Tech for the teams' Aug. 31 opener in Atlanta, marking the 42nd consecutive game in which Nick Saban's program will enter as the favorite.
According to AL.com, Alabama has not been an underdog since the 2009 SEC Championship Game, when the Tide went on to beat favored Florida 32-13. Roll Tide, indeed.
Other notable first-week lines, as of Thursday:
• Clemson -3.5 vs. Georgia: A couple of big-name passers square off in Clemson, as Tajh Boyd and Aaron Murray lead two projected top-15 squads. As the line indicates, this one has the makings of a tight matchup.
• LSU -7.5 vs. TCU: A win over LSU at Jerry World would be a big step for TCU in its quest to move past its 7-6 campaign in 2012. This line might seem low given LSU's 10-win season last fall, but the Tigers lost eight defensive players to the NFL draft. Will they reload in time?
• Vanderbilt -4 vs. Ole Miss: James Franklin's suddenly energetic Commodores host the Rebels, who take the field for the first time since stealing the show on National Signing Day with a stellar recruiting haul.
• Oklahoma State -11.5 vs. Mississippi State: The Cowboys could contend for the Big 12 title in the fall despite questions surrounding their quarterback situation. They'll look to handle Mississippi State, which will field an inexperienced defense. • Auburn -12 vs. Washington State: These two programs went a combined 6-18 last season. Still, the home atmosphere and recruiting spark provided by Gus Malzahn give the Tigers an early edge.