top of page
  • SBIA

Middle Tennessee vs. No. 4 Alabama odds: Sportsbooks brush off Tide not naming starting QB

One major quarterback battle was resolved this week with Ohio State naming Kyle McCord as its Week 1 starter. The biggest competition left is clearly at No. 4 Alabama between Jalen Milroe, Ty Simpson and Tyler Buchner. Coach Nick Saban hasn’t announced a starter for Saturday’s home opener against Middle Tennessee, and this is a rare case of sportsbooks not caring. The Tide are 39-point favorites with a total of 52 points and it wouldn't matter who is under center -- it will matter Week 2 vs. No. 11 Texas.

Not only didn’t Saban name a QB, he didn’t release a depth chart at all, the first time in Saban's 17 seasons with the Crimson Tide that he didn't release a formal one the week of the season opener. He said a formal list "creates a lot of distractions" within the locker room. When asked whether he had an expectation to play one or multiple QBs in Week 1, Saban said: "I don't have any expectation."

Could Jalen Milroe start Saturday for Alabama under center?

Bryce Young was the Tide’s record-setting starter the past two seasons, winning the 2021 Heisman Trophy, but is now the starter with the Carolina Panthers. Milroe was his backup last year and started against Texas A&M with Young out injured. Milroe threw for three scores and rushed 17 times for 81 yards. He’s the most mobile of the trio but the least accurate passer as he completed just 31 of 53 passes (58.5%) in 2022 and tends to be turnover-prone.

Simpson was a very highly touted recruit in the Class of 2021 who played in four games last year, completing 4-of-5 passes for 35 yards and redshirted. Buchner is a transfer from Notre Dame who has easily the most NCAA experience – and experience in Alabama’s new offense under new offensive coordinator Tommy Rees, formerly of Notre Dame as well. However, Buchner missed all spring with the Tide because he hadn’t entered the portal yet.

#RollTide has won 21 consecutive season openers, the second longest streak in the FBS behind Ohio State’s 23 straight. Bama is 21-1 all-time vs Conference USA teams like Middle Tennessee with that lone loss 21-0 to No. 25 Southern Miss in 2000. During its 14-game winning streak vs. CUSA foes, Alabama’s average margin of victory is 24.5 PPG.

Middle Tennessee was 8-5 last year and won its final four – it hasn’t won five straight games since the final five of the 2013 regular season. The #BLUEnited are 0-5 all-time vs AP Top 5 opponents, losing by an average of 33.0 PPG. MT is also 4-26 all-time vs. SEC opponents with three of those four wins against Vanderbilt.

Alabama, which has won a national-best 20 straight home games, is taking better than 85% of the bets and money on the spread, while there’s split action on the total of 52. The Tide are 6-0 SU and ATS in their past six games vs. Group of 5 schools with an average margin of victory at 46.5 PPG.

Get one free week of plays at SBIA!

bottom of page