The ACC has a chance to show that it’s not just Clemson and everyone else. The Miami Hurricanes faltered at the end of last season spoiling what was a nice season. They finished 8-3 overall but lost their final two games. They also lost their leader D’Eriq King to a knee injury in the bowl loss to Oklahoma State.
King vowed to return and he’s lived up to that promise. He’ll need to be everything he was before the injury if the Canes are to sniff an upset of top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. Bama just keeps churning out NFL talent and national champion level squads and they are in line for another in 2021.
The game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Miami Hurricanes will take place at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, September 4, 2021 and will be televised on ABC.
Alabama Crimson Tide vs Miami Hurricanes
Alabama Crimson Tide -18 | Miami Hurricanes +18 [BET NOW]
Over/Under: 60.5 [BET NOW]
(Odds provided by BookMaker.eu as of 8:41 am ET)
Facing a double-digit spread is nothing new for Alabama, but at least this one isn’t over 20, at least not at the time of this writing. I guess oddsmakers are giving Miami some respect, but not much. And that’s because the Tide are just that good. They were favored by at least two touchdowns in 11 of 13 games last season and still went 9-4 ATS. And that dominance extends to season openers. Bama hasn’t lost an opener since 2001 and playing some decent teams the last nine years has them outscoring opponents 351-113.
Last season ended in disappointment for the Canes, but things are looking up. They were shredded by UNC in the regular season finale and lost the game and King to Oklahoma State in the Cheez-It-Bowl. Their only loss over the first nine games was to Clemson and that all but ruined their chances of competing in the ACC title game. King made his way back from injury and is set to start on Saturday at least giving the Canes hope of a possible upset. The Canes haven’t been this big of an underdog since 2013 when they were catching 21.5 points against Florida St. They are 2-2 ATS in their last four games as a dog of at least 16 points.
Alabama Crimson Tide
The Tide has to replace massive production from an offense that averaged 49.7 points and 544 yards last season. Mac Jones, Najee Harris, DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle were all taken in the first round of the NFL draft. Coordinator Steve Sarkisian also left. Unfortunately that’s what happens with successful programs and Nick Saban has never had a problem replacing players and coaches.
The offense is now in the hands of Bryce Young. The former five-star recruit spent last season as the backup to Jones appearing in nine games. He completed 13 of 22 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown. “Bryce has done a nice job. He’s confident and accurate with the ball,” Saban said of his new starter. There are some holes to plug on offense, but the defense looks to be one of the deepest and strongest in Saban’s tenure. According to some experts there are as many as four future NFL prospects just at linebacker. Toss in a strong interior and the Tide will make it difficult for King to get anything going in the run game.
King has to be the best player not only for Miami but on the entire football field on Saturday for the Canes to have a chance. He worked hard to recover from a knee injury suffered in last season’s bowl game and appears to be on track. He threw for 317 yards and five touchdowns in Miami’s scrimmage game showing off the talent that makes him a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate. But even if King plays over his head beating Bama is a tall order.
Part of what made King and the offense so successful last season was his ability to run the football. We don’t know what’s going to happen in the opener with King coming off a serious knee injury. And facing Bama’s defenders isn’t going to make things easier. Outside of their edge rushers the Canes return nearly everybody on defense. The strength lies in the secondary with Bubba Bolden and Georgia transfer Tyrique Stevenson locking down positions. They might have some success stopping Bama, but they won’t completely shut them down. And offensively they don’t have the firepower to compete.
Alabama vs. Miami Prediction
Our picks: Alabama -18 / UNDER 60.5
Miami might be the second best team to Clemson in the ACC and it’s tough to go against three touchdowns (no PATs) on the spread. Making this game even more interesting is Bama’s makeover on offense. That doesn’t bother me, though, since they just plug guys in and the machine keeps rolling. It’s going to be hard for the Canes to score points and Bama will take time to find its groove pushing me to bet the UNDER. And I think the Tide has enough to cover the line.
View today’s college football odds.