Ask an experienced gambler about ‘easy money,’ and he/she will probably tell you something like “the only easy money is money you’ve already won.” However, when it comes to college football, some would say that a bet on Alabama to win the national championship is easy money. But is it?
The odds are certainly heavily in their favor. According to bookemakers Betway.com, the odds that the Crimson Tide take home the trophy again next season are 9:4 (as of 3/29). The next best odds after Alabama belong to Clemson (7:1), Ohio State (7:1), Georgia (8:1) and Michigan (10:1).
So—with that kind of disparity, betting on Alabama must be easy money, right? It depends on why the odds are as good as they are.
Offensively, the Crimson Tide should be as good as they were last season. They have four of their five offensive linemen coming back along with running back Damien Harris. The offense will be in good hands if it is Jalen Hurts or Tua Tagovailoa at the helm.
But they will need to find a go-to wide receiver. With the departure of Calvin Ridley, the Crimson Tide have little experience at the position. Ridley caught 63 balls last season for 967 yards and five touchdowns. The receiver with the next best production was freshman Jerry Jeudy with 14 receptions for a whopping 264 yards and two touchdowns.
Since their running game will likely be on point like it is every season, whoever they line up at wide receiver will not be asked to do too much too soon.
The question Alabama’s enemies have is whether the defense will be the usual dominant Crimson Tide unit or not. With only two returning starters, the defense is bound to slip—right?
The defense was hit hard with injuries last season. But the good thing about injuries—yes, there is a good thing about them— is that a number of guys got some experience last season. So, it is not like the defense will be completely starting over. They will need a lot of part-time contributors to fulfill their potential and become full-time ones.
However, that does not mean it will be easy to replace their entire secondary. Keeping the linebackers healthy will be an issue as well. More like the depth the team has at linebacker will be a concern. With many teams in the SEC favoring the running game, whoever plays will be put to the test early and often.
But this is Alabama we are talking about here! They have superstars leave for the NFL every season—and they replace them every season with members of another top-notch recruiting class.
So, yeah—they have some spots that need someone to step up. But Alabama has the talent to fill those spots. So just like in year’s past, they will be one of the toughest teams to beat and very competitive. But is another national championship easy money?
Not so fast. What about the competition?
LSU has a lot of holes to fill on both sides of the ball. Auburn lost much of its defense and their top two running backs. Texas A&M will be better, but Jimbo Fisher’s squad is probably another year away from being serious competition.
However, Mississippi State has 17 returning starters and an excellent quarterback in Nick Fitzgerald. Georgia will be tough again, of course. As for non-SEC teams, Clemson will be back in the mix as will Ohio State and Penn State.
But will any of them be good enough to knock Alabama off its pedestal? Eh—maybe. But probably not.
Alabama’s biggest concern is going to be whether the defense will perform up to the lofty standard past units have set. On paper, it looks like the Crimson Tide have enough talent with the veterans on the roster and incoming freshman.
The offense can certainly survive off the power of the running game until the passing game gets up to snuff. But enough to say winning another title is “easy money?”
Fans will want to say yes, and with the odds being what they are, it appears the oddsmakers would agree with them. However, history would not. Ever since a title game started being held each year to decide the national champion (the early 90s), there has only been one back-to-back winner.
It was Alabama, of course (2011 and ’12).