Texas vs Alabama Odds, Picks, and Predictions: Saban Saves the Day Again

Sometimes, the coaches are going to define a matchup more than the guys on the field, and our college football picks think that's precisely what happens when Texas and Alabama clash in Week 2.

Douglas Farmer - Betting Analyst at Covers
Douglas Farmer • Betting Analyst
Sep 9, 2023 • 15:38 ET • 4 min read
Nick Saban NCAAF
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Call it a helmet game. Call it the biggest game of the weekend. Call it the latest iteration of the three-word wonder this handicapper refuses to utter. The Texas Longhorns will soon join the Alabama Crimson Tide in the SEC, but for now, this is a glorious non-conference game that will directly impact the College Football Playoff, even if this is only Week 2.

Ah, that refusal is being pretentious. Is Texas back? Saturday night will give the latest answer, though the college football odds already argue a rather staunch “No.”

Here are our free college football picks and predictions for Texas vs. Alabama on September 9, with kickoff set for 7:00 ET.

Texas vs Alabama best odds

Texas vs Alabama picks and predictions

The narrative through much of last season and plenty of this summer was that the Longhorns had the Tide on the ropes until Quinn Ewers suffered a shoulder injury on a first-and-goal from the one at the end of the first quarter.

That’s revisionist history. That’s storytelling. That’s just not true.

Yes, Texas had moved down the field on its first possession, covering 67 plays in 14 yards to kick a 26-yard field goal. But that is just the point, the Longhorns had a first-and-goal from the nine and had to resort to a field goal. That was with Ewers at the helm.

The drive on which he was injured ultimately concluded with a Bijan Robinson touchdown rush. But note what stands out about that sentence? The outstanding running back is not in burnt orange anymore.

The Longhorns had six quality drives against the Tide last season, resorting to field goals on five of them. That was not because of Ewers’s injury. That was a reflection of execution and Steve Sarkisian’s play calls.

And as much as Texas should be better now, most notably in the passing game, that kind of hold up where it matters most could cost them.

On the road, against the greatest coach of all time, in a game where all indications are he will try to shorten the proceedings, any red-zone misstep could be the difference in the game.

No, Alabama does not have a proven quarterback, but it does have a new offensive coordinator in Tommy Rees who spent the last three years trying to coach around a talent deficiency at Notre Dame, quite familiar with the offensive game plan needed to lower the opposing offense’s ceiling.

No, that is not glamorous. It may sound like a pessimistic approach to scheming, but all Nick Saban cares about is winning the game.

The game, nothing else.

As in, not the first half.

Remember how last year’s game started? Texas moving the ball. Sure, credit Ewers. Also, credit Sarkisian’s script. It’s his habit. In 13 games last year, the Longhorns scored within their first two possessions in 11 of them, including nine games with touchdowns on the second possession. Only Iowa State and frog-bitten TCU kept Texas off the scoreboard through two possessions in 2022.

It usually took Sarkisian a moment to find his footing, but he almost always produced early points. Right there is logic in value on Texas in the first half.

But the setting, the coaching, the experience all present value on Alabama in the game.

Parlaying is usually negative expected value, but when a parlay is contingent on a certain game flow, on things that are correlated, then it may offer positive expected value, and a double result counting on Sarkisian scoring early but Rees and Saban shortening the game to find the final lead is a double result with such value.

My best bet: Texas first-half moneyline / Alabama full-game moneyline (+600 at BetRivers)

Texas vs Alabama same-game parlay


Texas first-half moneyline
Alabama full-game moneyline
Under 54

This is a parlay built on anticipating the game flow. Sarkisian scripts Texas’s first two drives well, and that stakes the Longhorns to an early lead that holds through halftime. Rees keeps the game within one possession until the break, at which point Saban dials up defensive adjustments.

As impressive as the Longhorns’ offense should be this year, Ewers has not practiced against the likes of Tide cornerbacks Kool-Aid McKinstry and Terrion Arnold. Alabama linebacker Dallas Turner will stifle any misguided Texas ground game. Saban should be able to dictate the pace of this game.

And with no proven Tide quarterback, he will be happy to grind the game down to something in the mid-20s, well below the combined point tally of 54.

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

Not intended for use in MA.
Affiliate Disclosure: Covers may receive advertising commissions for visits to a sportsbook or betting site

Texas vs Alabama spread and Over/Under analysis

This spread has toggled around a touchdown all week, Alabama favored by -7.5 for just hours on each of Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. But by Wednesday, the -7 had firmed up across the board.

Texas was an underdog just once last year, a three-touchdown underdog against Alabama, but the Longhorns were underdogs four times in 2021, Sarkisian’s first season in Austin. They went 0-4 against the spread in those four games, obviously losing all four outright, as well. Three of those four games went Under their totals, as did last season’s tilt with the Tide.

This total actually ticked upward to 53.5 or 54, depending on your sportsbook, after opening at 52.5 on Sunday.

Best Texas vs Alabama bonuses

DraftKings All Users
Get a 50% profit boost for one Texas/Alabama bet! Claim Now

FanDuel All Users
Get a 50% profit boost for one Texas/Alabama bet! Claim Now

Caesars All Users
Get a 50% profit boost on one Week 2 college football bet! Bet Now

Eligible USA locations only. Also, see our full list of best sportsbook promotions for 2023.
21+. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER

Texas vs Alabama betting trend to know

Alabama has won only three of its last six first halves, while Texas has won the first half in five of its last six away games. Find more college football betting trends for Texas vs Alabama.

Kentucky: Sports betting is coming!

Kentucky sports betting will launch on September 28 — but you can pre-register now!
Check out the best Kentucky sports betting apps, as well as the best Kentucky sportsbook promos!

21+ and present in KY. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER

Texas vs Alabama game info

Location: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, AL
Date: Saturday, September 9, 2023
Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. ET

Texas vs Alabama latest injuries

Texas vs Alabama weather

Monitor gametime conditions with our College football weather info.

Google News
Stay updated with the latest picks, odds, and news! Tap the star to add us to your favorites on Google News to never miss a story.

Pages related to this topic

Popular Content

Legal Canadian sports betting

Best Canadian betting sites Ontario sports betting
Covers 25 Years Logo Established in 1995,
Covers is the world
leader in sports
betting information.
Covers is verified safe by: Evalon Logo GPWA Logo GDPR Logo GeoTrust Logo Evalon Logo