Alabama vs. Vanderbilt NCAA Football Preview
Where: Vanderbilt Stadium – Nashville, TN
When: Saturday, September 23, 2017, 3:30 PM ET
TV Broadcast: CBS
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Betting on the Alabama Crimson Tide (3-0)
It was pretty much business as usual for Alabama, who took care of Colorado State in Tuscaloosa, 41-23. However, their 18-point margin of victory fell way short of covering the 31-point spread.
Sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts had another strong outing as he had 351 total yards and accounted for three touchdowns, one of which was a 78-yard connection with star receiver Calvin Ridley.
While Vandy’s defense has remained impressive this season, Kansas State showed they could still move the ball a bit on the Commodores. Quarterback Jesse Ertz had 126 yards on the ground, a number Hurts is more than capable of matching if given the opportunity.
The Alabama defense had a bit of an off-day as they allowed 23 points (their most against a non-conference regular season foe since 2014) and 144 rushing yards, which is a ton for a Bama front that hardly gives up over 100 yards on the ground.
Don’t count on the Bama defense playing consecutive shaky games, though. Nick Saban’s teams have a way of bouncing back from subpar performances, and expect their defense to do the same against a Vanderbilt offense that had its share of problems against Kansas State.
Alabama has won an incredible 21 consecutive games against Vanderbilt.
Betting on the Vanderbilt Commodores (3-0)
Vanderbilt continued its upward trajectory under head coach Derek Mason with an impressive 14-7 upset of No. 18-ranked Kansas State at home.
The Commodores’ rise dates all the way back to the tail-end of last season, when they had huge conference home wins over Ole Miss and a No. 17-ranked Tennessee to become bowl eligible.
Quarterback Kyle Shurmur was a major reason for those wins, and while he had some struggles against K-State, he’s having a strong start to the season. He has a 71 percent completion percentage and an 8-to-0 touchdown-to-interception ratio, while his 194.85 quarterback rating is an impressive sixth in the entire nation.
Obviously, it’ll take a massive effort for Shurmur to move the ball effectively against a strong Bama defense. However, as the Commodores showed when they kept K-State at bay, their defense is no slouch, either. Another strong showing from them in front of their home fans could see them keep Alabama just close enough to cover.
Alabama (-18.5) puts Vandy back in its place as the Tide roll to a 31-10 win on the road.
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