In a battle between historic programs, #11 Texas travels to face #3 Alabama. Texas narrowly lost 20-19 last season, so they are eager for revenge. Can Texas pull off the upset? Check out below for Texas vs. Alabama odds, picks, and predictions.
Texas vs. Alabama Prediction & Best Bet
There is something about this Alabama squad that’s just…different from recent seasons. In their week one demolition, both sides of the ball were calm, in sync, physical, and simply playing together. The last time Alabama played to this degree of harmony was 2020 – their last championship. Now, they did face Middle Tennessee State, but the atmosphere was extremely encouraging.
Alabama appears unstoppable running the ball. Quarterback Jalen Milroe is arguably the best athlete on the field at all times and possesses the speed, size, and anticipation to scramble for huge chunks of yards. Alabama’s nasty offensive line is heavier than any NFL unit and routinely wrenches open lanes for the runner. Per PFF, they allowed only four pressures, one hit, and no sacks against Middle Tennessee State and should continue this trend throughout the season. With Milroe, running back Jase McClellan, and this superb offensive line, Texas will have its hands full trying to stop the run.
Meanwhile, Milroe’s mechanics are night and day compared to last season. He’s able to step into his deep ball more effectively, which has led to a major accuracy boost. In addition, his reads and timing have improved. With that being said, Milroe is still a work in progress throwing on the run, so Texas must force him out of the pocket while maintaining the edge. However, that’s far easier said than done.
Can this Longhorns defense weather the storm? They own an elite run defense led by T’Vondre Sweat, Byron Murphy II, and David Gbenda. That trio should be able to somewhat limit the damage, although Texas’ pass rush is a concern. Can they generate consistent pressure and force Milroe out of his comfort zone? Against these elite mammoth tackles, I’m not a believer, which is a huge reason behind my belief in Alabama covering. The Tide should control the clock, avoid third and longs, and wear out Texas’ defense.
On the other side, Texas’ offense appeared sluggish in the season opener versus Rice. Quarterback Quinn Ewers still struggles with his deep ball accuracy and decision making, and the offensive line was a mess versus Rice’s pass rush. Fortunately, the Longhorns have plenty of weapons. Xavier Worthy and Adonai Mitchell are two receivers bound for the NFL, while tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders provides Ewers with a massive, reliable target.
Alabama matches strength with strength though, as their secondary featuring Kool-Aid McKinstry, Terrion Arnold, Jaylen Key, and Caleb Downs is suffocating.
Overall, Alabama’s physical offense is in a better position to exploit Texas’ defense than vice versa. Therefore, the best bet is to take Alabama covering at -7, although it gets dicey at -7.5 and beyond.
Best Bet: Alabama -7
Texas vs. Alabama Odds
Alabama is favored by a touchdown with an ugly -250 moneyline. It would definitely behoove bettors backing the Tide to search for a -6.5 line. For Texas’ +240 moneyline to hold a positive expected value, they must win here around 29 percent of the time. Texas backers have to feel confident about their implied probability.
Texas vs. Alabama Key Matchups
Alabama Receivers vs. Texas Secondary
Julio Jones, Amari Cooper, Calvin Ridley, Jerry Jeudy, DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, Jameson Williams – those have been the top receivers in the Saban era. Alabama lacked a truly elite receiver last season for the first time since 2011, and they haven’t appeared to rectify the situation this season either. Isaiah Bond is making a case as the lead receiver, but he’s far from the caliber of his predecessors. The Tide desperately need their receivers to step up and make life easy for Jalen Milroe.
Texas will need to devote as many defenders to stopping the run as possible, so their secondary has to win this battle in decisive fashion. Otherwise, the defense won’t be able to stop every Alabama threat. Based on their secondary room – Holmes, Muhammad, Brooks, Watts, Williams Jr, Thompson, etc. – the Longhorns have a fighting chance of limiting Alabama’s receivers.
Texas Offensive Tackles vs. EDGE Dallas Turner
Turner is a projected top-ten pick in the 2024 NFL Draft who notched 5 sacks and an 11.1 pass rush win percentage last season (per PFF). Quinn Ewers and the offensive line must identify his location pre-snap and be certain that the blocker is ready. Tackles Kelvin Banks Jr and Christian Jones are the strengths of the offensive line, so the Longhorns have the personnel to somewhat slow down Turner’s impact. All Ewers needs is a couple of seconds too, as Texas’ receivers are dynamic.