NCAAF Odds: Alabama Kicks off Title Defense Against USC

The Alabama Crimson Tide are still the favorites at +600 to defend their National Championship, but the competition is closing in, and the Crimson Tide could easily get knocked off their perch this Saturday (8 PM ET, ABC) when they play the USC Trojans at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

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At press time, USC are 12-point underdogs against Alabama and +3300 to win the title, but they couldn’t ask for a better situation to face the Tide. Head coach Nick Saban still hasn’t figured out who his starting quarterback will be this season; Cooper Bateman will likely get the nod against USC, with Blake Barnett getting some work, too. The Trojans will also be happy to play Alabama on neutral ground.

USC are No. 20 on the preseason rankings for 2016 after going 8-6 SU and 6-8 ATS last year. They could have betting value on Saturday as a rising program under second-year coach Clay Helton, having played largely out of the national spotlight since Pete Carroll left to join the Seattle Seahawks after the 2009 campaign. However, senior LT Chad Wheeler won’t start for USC because of an injured foot, and could miss the game entirely.

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