Under Nick Saban, Alabama football is 12-2 against the spread in season openers and 14-0 in outright wins. The two times that the Crimson Tide failed to cover the spread in the season opener was in 2014 against West Virginia and in 2020 against Missouri. In terms of analyzing historical trends, throwing out the COVID-altered season of 2020 may or may not make sense. If you don’t consider the COVID-delayed season, then Saban is 12-1 against the spread in the other 13 season openers.


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When you look at Alabama’s opponents over the years to open the season, this trend is even more impressive. The teams that Alabama has dominated over the years to open each season include some of the biggest names in the sport, and four of the opponents were top ten teams going into the opener.

Alabama Season Openers Under Nick Saban

  • 2020: Alabama (-28) vs. Missouri – Result: W 38-19
  • 2019: Alabama (-34) vs. Duke – Result: W 42-3
  • 2018: Alabama (-24) vs. Louisville – Result: W 51-14
  • 2017: Alabama (-7) vs. Florida State – Result: W 24-7
  • 2016: Alabama (-12) vs. USC – Result: W 52-6
  • 2015: Alabama (-12) vs. Wisconsin – Result: W 35-17
  • 2014: Alabama (-25) vs. West Virginia – Result: W 33-23
  • 2013: Alabama (-20) vs. Virginia Tech – Result: W 35-10
  • 2012: Alabama (-13) vs. Michigan – Result: W 41-14
  • 2011: Alabama (-38) vs. Kent State – Result: W 48-7
  • 2010: Alabama (-37) vs. SJ State – Result: W 48-3
  • 2009: Alabama (-6) vs. Virginia Tech – Result: W 34-24
  • 2008: Alabama (+4) vs. Clemson – Result: W 34-10
  • 2007: Alabama vs. W. Carolina – Result: W 52-6

Alabama squares off against Miami to open the 2021 season. After opening up as a 17.5 point favorite, most books have Alabama favored by 18.5 to 19 points. Currently both FanDuel and DraftKings have Alabama at 18.5 point favorites.

Alabama covered 9 of 13 spreads (69.2%) last year while Miami covered 6 of 11 spreads (54.5%).

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Interestingly, both quarterbacks in this game are notable members of preseason Heisman lists. According to recent Heisman odds, Alabama’s Bryce Young is listed at +800, only behind Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler and Clemson’s DJ Uiagalelei. Miami’s D’Eriq King is listed at +2000. Both Young and King are expected to be two of the best quarterbacks in the country this year. By getting a big win against a notable team to open the season, one of these quarterbacks can take a solid step toward winning the Heisman.

Alabama 2021 Season Opener

The Alabama Crimson Tide square off against the Miami Hurricanes on 3:30 p.m. eastern on Saturday, September 4 to open the 2021 season. The game is a neutral site game taking place in Atlanta, Georgia at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The broadcast crew will be ESPN’s Sean McDonough, Todd Blackledge, Todd McShay and Molly McGrath. The game will air on ABC.