After losing in the national championship game last season, the no. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide begin their quest for a national championship in 2019 against the Duke Blue Devils.
This game is serving as the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. BetAnySports lists the Crimson Tide as 34.5 point favorites with an over/under of 57 points.
Duke vs. Alabama Game Overview
As usual, Alabama’s roster was weakened considerably by the NFL Draft, as 10 Crimson Tide players were selected, more than any other school. However, Nick Saban doesn’t rebuild, he only reloads, and this year will be no different.
Leading the way will be junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Despite being benched in the SEC Championship Game last year and struggling in the College Football Playoff final against Clemson, there’s every chance that Tagovailoa will be a strong Heisman contender again in 2019.
Not only is he an accurate passer with a year of starting experience under his belt, but he also has a loaded set of wide receivers at his disposal, most notably Jerry Jeudy.
Alabama, as usual, is also looking strong on the defensive side of the field. Depth could be an issue given the number of players lost to the NFL and a few training camp injuries.
But that’s more likely to be a problem later in the season. For the season opener, the Crimson Tide should have no problem putting together an outstanding defense that’s filled with former five-star recruits.
Working in Alabama’s favor is the fact that Duke has to replace quarterback Daniel Jones, who was a top-10 pick in the NFL Draft. The Blue Devils can rest easy knowing that new quarterback Quentin Williams started a couple of games last season while Jones was hurt and has some experience.
Williams is also more athletic than Jones, giving the Duke offense a dimension they haven’t had in recent years. However, Williams is not an accomplished passer, completing only 50% of his passes in 2018. Needless to say, it won’t be easy to improve upon that number against the Alabama defense.
Duke vs. Alabama Free Game Prediction
There’s no question that 34.5 points is a large spread to cover but remember this is Alabama. Also, Duke was an average ACC team with an NFL-caliber quarterback last season, and the Blue Devils are likely to experience a little drop off without Jones.
Having lost the title game last season, Nick Saban will make sure his team is focused to begin a new season and not taking Duke lightly. That attitude could lead to a lopsided game given the talent disparity between the two teams. Bet on Alabama at BetAnySports to win and cover the spread against Duke.