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2005 Alabama Crimson Tide Handicapping Review


By Tom Wilkinson


Coming off a 2003 season in which they went 4-9 straight up and 5-8 against the odds with all eight of those losses against the line coming in their final 11 games, Alabama, despite being a “name brand” college football team, had the potential of offering decent sports handicapping value, at least in the early portion of the 2004 season.

Alabama’s woes against the odds, in fact, dated back to the second half of the 2002 season in which they beat the sports betting line in just one of their final five games. Thus, entering 2004, Bama had just six wins against the online sports betting boards and casino sportsbooks in their last 18 games. Even for a popular public team, this meant a sports handicapping market correction was due.

Sure enough, in their opening two games of 2004 Alabama won both straight up and against the odds. After a win in a non-lined game Alabama stood at 3-0 straight up and 2-0 against the odds and began to attract the attention of the sports betting bloggers who touted their merits. In their next game at Arkansas, however, the Tide was rolled 10-27 as 4.5-point dogs. This is a classic sports handicapping lesson on value for “name brand” teams. It simply doesn’t take much for high profile programs to lose whatever value they had in a short amount of time. Teams like Alabama attract attention and a couple of wins will again put them on many sports bettor’s lists of football picks, decreasing their sports handicapping value in the process.

After the loss at Arkansas, Bama came home to face South Carolina and was defeated 3-20 as 2.5-point home chalks. Now the online sports betting blogs were full of angry posts by burned sports bettors demanding the firing of Bama coach Mike Shula, who appeared to many to be “in over his head.”

Interestingly enough, as the general sports betting public began to turn on Alabama, they got some of their value back and beat the sports betting odds in three straight games after the Carolina loss, winning two of those games straight up. Again, however, this immediately brought back a lot of prodigal sports bettors and the Tide blew its next two games against the line. Up against undefeated Auburn in their season finale, Bama was a solid sports handicapping value as 10-point home dogs, covering in a 13-21 loss.




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