Saturday CFB Picks: ‘Bama vs Florida & BYU vs Virginia

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Pick #1: Alabama -15 (-110) vs Florida

Alabama has been the best college football program bar none in the last five years as they’ve claimed three national championships in that time by winning in arguably what has been the best conference in the country (SEC). However, despite all that success, bettors can’t say the same thing about the Crimson Tide as they are 0-3 ATS this season and 0-7-1 ATS in their last eight games overall. With all that national success it’s not a huge surprise that the Tide haven’t had much success covering these inflated spreads, but that should change this weekend against Florida.

The knock on Alabama this year is that their defense isn’t its dominant self anymore after allowing 23 points to West Virginia in Week 1 and 12 points to hapless Southern Miss last week. It appears as though losing all his talent to the NFL on a yearly basis finally has Nick Saban’s team coming back to the pack a bit, but as they start their conference schedule with the Gators this week, I’m expecting the Tide’s best performance to date

Florida was exposed last week in a triple-OT win over Kentucky and Saban’s fantastic ability to gameplan will exploit those flaws. Kentucky put up 369 passing yards on the Gators last week and that’s not a stat to be lost on Saban. He’s got duel-threat QB Blake Sims at the helm with offensive guru Lane Kiffin calling the plays, so look for the Tide to air it out early and often. Sims’ favorite target this year is Amari Cooper and Cooper’s just been tearing up secondaries all season. He has 33 receptions in three games already for 454 yards (avg of 13.75/catch) and is on pace to shatter many receiving records for the program. Once they get Cooper going and shade the coverage his way, Sims can find his other weapons in open areas of the field or use his feet to move the chains.

Finally, we can’t forget about Alabama’s dominance over the Gators in SEC play as the Tide come in with a 7-1-1 ATS record in their last nine vs. Florida and that includes a 3-0 ATS mark in their last three at home. Alabama has been burning money for bettors for too long now and that will change this week with a 20+ point win over Florida.

Pick #2: BYU -14 (-110) vs Virginia

There’s nothing like a good revenge spot for this BYU team as they are heavy favorites to push their record to 4-0 SU this year. Many bettors will be tempted to take all those points with Virginia after the Cavaliers won this game 19-16 at home a year ago and are coming off an upset win over a ranked Louisville team last week. However, it’s precisely that win over Louisville that makes this a great spot to fade Virginia this week and the added bonus of it being a revenge game for BYU only sweetens the pot.

This time around it’s BYU who gets the benefit of home field advantage as Provo, Utah has always been an extremely tough place for visitors to come in and get a win. Last year’s loss to Virginia came in the opening game of the year as the Cougars will still adapting to Taysom Hill at the QB position.

Hill had a very rough outing that night (13-for-40 passing) but this young man has taken huge steps since then into becoming a very good college football quarterback. So far this season Hill has completed 67 of his 97 pass attempts (69.1%) and that’s a far cry from that horrible outing in Virginia. He and the rest of the Cougars offense have scored 30+ in each one of their victories this year and should be able to find similar success against Virginia.

This is also the first road game of the year for the Cavaliers and although last week’s win cooled off coach Mike London’s hot seat a bit, this is still a team that is 1-5 ATS when coming off a SU win as underdogs, 4-9-1 ATS in their last 13 non-conference games, and 1-7 ATS off a SU win of any kind.

BYU has not forgotten about last year’s horrible performance against this team and will be out to make amends this week in a game they should take by 3+ touchdowns.

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