Texas vs. Alabama: Expert Pick and Prediction – September 9, 2023
TEXAS VS. ALABAMA: EXPERT PICK AND PREDICTION – September 9, 2023 — There’s been one big question in the SEC this season: why exactly is Nick Saban so calm? Alabama’s watched as Georgia wrestled away SEC supremacy over the past two years, yet Saban has appeared almost jovial this year, as if he knows something everyone else doesn’t.
It’s too early to tell if that’s the case, but this game is going to tell a lot about that possibility. This was the game last year where everyone realized Alabama wasn’t quite itself, as Texas nearly pulled the upset in Austin without Quinn Ewers. Ewers is set to go this season, but the Crimson Tide will likely approach this game with much more focus than a year ago.
That could be a big problem for a Texas team that still has yet to show it can do the job away from home. Under Steve Sarkisian, the Longhorns are just 3-6 away from Austin, including four defeats last season. Meanwhile, Alabama has gone 66-2 over the past 10 seasons at Bryant-Denny Stadium and hasn’t lost at home to a team ranked lower than No. 1 since Texas A&M in 2015.
(1-0 SU, 0-1-0 ATS)
(1-0 SU, 1-0-0 ATS)
When: Saturday, September 9th at 7 p.m. EDT
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Public Bets: 66% on Alabama
Public Money: 57% on Texas
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of September 7th, 2023
Betting against Nick Saban in marquee non-conference games is almost never a good idea. In the Tide’s past 16 games against teams from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12, they’re 13-2-1 ATS. Even though Alabama usually gets favored by ridiculous margins, the Tide seem to want to use these games to make a statement every time.
Related: Ole Miss vs. Tulane Prediction
Texas seldom gets to be an underdog in a true road game, and it usually doesn’t go well for the Longhorns. The Longhorns are 0-3 ATS as a road dog under Sarkisian, and they’re 1-5 SU and 2-4 ATS in their past six games as a road dog.
Ewers has to show he can handle the pressure of a hostile road environment. He’s won at Kansas State, but he’s never seen anything like Alabama. He wasn’t anything special against Rice, even though he tossed three touchdown passes. With C.J. Baxter banged up at running back, there’s even more pressure on Ewers and the passing game to attack the Alabama defense.
Related: Toby’s Mega NFL Week 1 Preview
Jalen Milroe appears to have won the quarterback battle at Alabama, and the Tide’s receiving corps looks solid. Milroe hit several big plays against Middle Tennessee, and given how muddled the Tide ground game is, he’ll probably have to do the same thing this time around.
It’s still not going to be fall weather in the South anytime soon, but at least it won’t be extreme heat. Temperatures should sit in the mid 70s around kickoff, as the low is projected to hit 66 degrees. The deeper this game goes, the less of a concern the temperature will be.
I still haven’t seen anything that suggests Texas is ready for SEC speed. The Longhorns haven’t yet shown that they can handle a road game, and Alabama’s got last year’s game fresh in its mind.
With how calm Saban has been this offseason and Texas not really looking like it’s ready to handle the best of the best, this might not be as close as people think. The fact that Alabama’s only giving 7.5 points at home says this is a big opportunity for the Tide to make a statement. Saban usually does not waste those.