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Alabama vs. Clemson Sportsbook.com NCAAF Betting Preview

NCAAF: Saban, Bama open as dogs

Nick Saban’s quest to bring Alabama back to prominence highlights the early odds for college football’s opening week.

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Saban won a National Championship with LSU in 2003, and he’s back for his second season in Tuscaloosa after going 7-6 last year (4-4 in the SEC). Saban may have flamed out with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, but there’s no denying his ability to coach and recruit at the collegiate level, which immediately makes Bama a dangerous squad.

Despite being ranked 24th in the country, Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide open as a five-point dog versus Clemson on Saturday. Ranked #9, Clemson appears to be the class of the ACC and Coach Tommy Bowden is feeling the heat to win his first league title since 1991.

Note this game is being played at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome, which should be split evenly among each team’s fans.

Another Saturday game attracting lots of attention is USC (-20) at Virginia. Ranked #3, USC is loaded on both sides of the ball, especially on the defensive end. There is an issue at quarterback with Mark Sanchez’ knee injury, but the latest info is that he will be ready for this game.

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Night watchers on Saturday are excited about Missouri (-9) playing Illinois in a neutral location (St. Louis). The Tigers are ranked sixth in the country while Illinois snuck in the Top 25 at #20.

Missouri proved they were for real last year; are they are in play for the Big 12 title and even a National Championship this year? Quarterback Chase Daniel is a Heisman Trophy candidate and their defense is slowing catching up to its high powered offense, thus the almost double-digit spread.

Illinois lost of a lot of talent from last year’s team that played in the Rose Bowl against USC, but coach Ron Zook is replenishing the system at a rapid rate.

If you can’t wait for these Saturday contests, don’t fret because there’s plenty of good ones for Thursday’s opening kickoff night.

South Carolina has yet to live up to the hype Coach Steve Spurrier generated when he came to the Gamecocks three years ago. Spurrier’s team lost their last five games of the season last year after starting out 6-1. They hope Thursday night is the start to a big season when they host NC State out of the ACC. South Carolina is 13-point chalk in a nationally televised game on ESPN.

Finally, don’t forget about #23 Wake Forest giving 12.5-points at Baylor on Thursday. Wake is an upset pick of many to win the ACC over Clemson. Most of the reasons are a very polished quarterback in Riley Skinner and one of the most underrated defenses in the nation. Baylor is in a rebuilding year under first year coach Art Briles.

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