Odds & Preview for Two Non-Conference College Football Games This September

As we stretch on and on into a sportless spring and move towards – most likely– sportless summer, we’re getting more and more enamored with the idea of college football in the fall.

It can’t go on that long … can it?

Early Odds on the Early Games

The 2020 college football odds are already available courtesy of sportsbookreview for games in late August and early September. Let’s look at a couple of the matchups.

USC vs. Alabama -14

The USC Trojans open their season on September 5th against the Alabama Crimson Tide. This one actually opened with the Tide favored by 16.5 points at most spots. But, it has already been bet down so many months in advance this offseason.

If we look at last year’s numbers, the spread makes sense. It’s on a neutral field over in Dallas at AT&T Stadium and last year the Trojans averaged 32.5 points per game, while the Tide averaged 47.23. This puts the No. 2 scoring offense against the No. 37 offense. Where USC does compare to Bama is the passing game. Bama had the No. 3 passing offense in the country while USC was No. 6.

But the real difference-maker would be the defenses. USC ranked No. 78 to Bama’s No. 13. The Alabam defense has one of the best secondaries in the business, No. 11. Which spells trouble for a USC team that struggles to run the ball. Basically, Bama can do a half-hearted attempt at stopping the run and focus on shutting down the pass.

But Alabama is trending downward and the USC QB, Kedon Slovis is on his way up. He was the Pac-12 Freshman OPY and now that he has a season under his belt, he is only likely to push this Trojan offense further. They lost one of their top offensive weapons in Pittman Jr. But gained to new 4-Star recruits to flesh out their talented receiving corps.

So, one thing we should consider is that Alabama had a really weak schedule last season for an SEC team and because of their schedule, the fact that they didn’t end up in the CFP makes it a truly disappointing 2019 season. So, in 2020, they are going to have to earn their wins as their schedule is a little tougher. Although the Trojans are a program that has been in ‘rebuild’ mode for a while, I think they will be a top-20 team in 2020. They have a lot of experience coming back on both sides of the ball and will test the Alabama defense with their ability to throw the ball.

Now, I do think Alabama will win this game, but they are going to have to make some adjustments. Look for USC to keep it close, or perhaps even jump out to an early lead before the Bama size, strength, and Saben’s adjustments down the stretch take over in the 3rd and fourth quarters

Michigan  -1.5 vs. Washington

The Huskies and the Wolverines have split wins in their last two meetings. This is an interesting game because they match up so well offensively. That said, at initial glance, I have to give UW the edge here. They are playing at home on Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium.

Defensively, the Huskies were slightly better last season, 15th in the nation, allowing just 19 and change in an offense-happy Pac-12.  But the Wolverines are still a Top-25 D, at just a hair over 20 points per game allowed.

All this said, the Huskies have a lot of new faces coming in … along with a new QB. so, I understand the odds getting set with Harboughs boys as slight favorites. However, there are a lot of questions over in Michigan as well. The Wolverines are also going to have a new guy under center. So, this one could end up really, really close. I think offensively and defensively, these two teams are well-matched. The edge for Michigan is they have a better coach. The Edge for Washington is home-field advantage.

Buckle up for this one, because it could go either way.

AFI
American Football International is your source for news and updates about American Football outside the United States!
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