Alabama's 40-game streak of favored status likely to continue through 2013

Dave Martin

Alabama begins its quest for a threepeat next week. Can anyone stop the Tide? Can any conference derail the SEC?

After producing the last six national champions, the SEC boasts four of the top eight favorites to win the BCS title.

The Crimson Tide, of course, are the overwhelming favorites on college football betting lines at all sportsbooks in Vegas and around the world. Georgia, LSU, and Texas A&M are among the top-tier contenders as well. But let’s be honest – as long as Nick Saban is pulling the strings, Alabama is the team to beat.

The Crimson Tide have been favored in 40 consecutive games heading into this season. Barring disaster, they’ll be favored in every game this year as well – and by a whole heck of a lot. Alabama has been favored by an average of more than 20 points per game over the last three seasons. Getting anything less than three touchdowns this season may seem like a gift.

The Tide are giving 19.5 to Virginia Tech in their Week 1 opener in Atlanta. Huge Week 1 favorites have produced a small profit over the past six years or so.

Alabama is 19-1 straight-up and 12-8 against the spread in its last 20 games as double-digit favorites. That one loss was authored by Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M Aggies last season.

The Crimson Tide head to Aggieland in Week 3 for one of the most anticipated games of the season. The line on that SEC showdown has remained off the board, since Manziel’s eligibility came in question in a memorabilia scandal that has yet to be resolved. Alabama was favored by 6.5 points over A&M, before the reports. Some pundits have said the line would just to 14 or more, if Manziel is out.

If the Aggies don’t test Alabama, who will? The Tide get their toughest SEC West opponents both at home, Ole Miss (Sept. 28) and LSU (Nov. 9). And their non-conference slate -- vs. Colorado State (Sept. 21), vs. Georgia State (Oct. 5) and vs. Chattanooga (Nov. 23) -- would barely strike fear in South Alabama, let alone the mighty Crimson Tide.

Alabama’s biggest test likely will come in the SEC Championship Game, where it could meet a talented Georgia team in a rematch of last year’s thriller. The Bulldogs led by two scores in the second half and were inside the Alabama 10-yard line before time expired in last year’s title game.

Unless someone sneaks up on the Crimson Tide, it appears they have a clear path to the conference title game.

The winner of that game will almost certainly earn a spot in the BCS National Championship Game (see the latest futures at Football Betting Odds).

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