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Giving Away Money Special: Texas at Alabama point spread pick

God, we hope this is right

<p zoompage-fontsize="15" style="">Alabama v Texas

Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Welcome to a midweek special Giving Away Money for a game that has been circled on the calendars of many a’Gump for about a decade: The Longhorns return trip to Tuscaloosa.

We use data-based algorithmic predictions for all of our picks, combined with deep knowledge, and some good ole’ fashioned eyeballs. And, after just one week of data, the latter two are to be far more necessary than usual.

Alabama -7 vs. Texas: 7:00 CST, Tuscaloosa, AL

Tale of the Digital Tape:

Despite easy(ish) romps on paper last week, neither the Tide nor the Longhorns were particularly effective on either side of the ball.

Defensively, in overall efficiency terms, the Tide was just 25th, while UT was 60th. Havoc rates weren’t better: UA just 49th, UT 71st. And per-play efficiency was positively crappy: ‘Bama was 69th and the Horns were 101st. In total defense? Alabama is 59th, UT is 62nd.

Offense was as bad. Texas’s highest efficiency margin was explosive plays (35th) and explosive drives; in all other respects, they were in the 60s and lower. The Tide’s best efficiency data came in running the ball (17th) and in drive efficiency as a whole (18th).

Special teams were practically a wash: The Tide is 3rd, Shortie is 7th.

Where there is a clear advantage, it is in Alabama’s superior ability to cash in on drives that it did have. UA was averaging over 4.4 points per drive — UT was just a shade over 3. On the road, that margin matters.

Will they look like that over a full season? Doubtful. But the data are what the data are.


Alabama is 1-0 SU and 1-0 ATS this season. As a home favorite at Bryant Denny, Nick Saban is 76-25 straight up. But, that number drops precipitously to 56-48-3 ATS vs. Top 25 teams. The Tide wins, in other words, but there are a lot of large numbers and/or dog fights we’ve seen over the last 17 years.

Sarkisian’s biggest demerit has always been his inabiliity to win away from home. That has been true at Texas too. Sark is just .333 as a road coach, and as a road ‘dog at Texas is 0-fer-3 (hence, why we did not buy into the UT hype preseason). UT is 1-0 S/U this year, but a disappointing 0-1 ATS, in a gruesome ugly game against Rice, where UT should have romped.


Ignore the AP rankings, and ignore the playoff talk: There is no pressure on this Alabama team.

<p zoompage-fontsize="15" style="">2023 University of Texas Spring Football Game

Set Number: X164345 TK1

Alabama returns just 7 starters. It lost 89% of its offensive production. It lost the nation’s most dangerous running back, the nation’s best defender, and the No. 1 overall NFL draft pick at QB. Until 5 days ago, no one even knew who the quarterback was. There are two new coordinators. And as of 4 days ago, the bench was still clearing, as guys were jockeying for playing time.

Texas, meanwhile, returns an ungodly 20 starters. The staff is coherent and intact. It has preseason buzz. It has Heisman hype. It is under pressure to produce on the field — and perhaps more meaningfully, to show the money men in Austin that beginning next year, the Longhorns can compete in the SEC, rather than being a 7-5 team giving handjobs off Beale Street after another disappointing Liberty Bowl. Sark has been given more money than God, all the resources and talent anyone could ask for. It’s truly now or...maybe never for the Longhorns. No pressure, my dude.

The simple fact too is that Nick gets up to beat his assistants. He’s 27-2 against them, and has never lost to one in Tuscaloosa. Throw all that in with a superior per-drive efficiency on both sides of the ball, a night game in Bryant-Denny, one of the most hostile atmospheres in college football, and Sark’s record away from home, and you get an Alabama win.

More importantly, the data don’t lie: You get an Alabama cover.

Alabama 34
Texas 25


Alabama covering -7?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    (126 votes)
  • 76%
    (709 votes)
  • 9%
    (88 votes)
923 votes total Vote Now

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