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Posted at 10:30 AM EST.
3:30 PM EST. When it comes to public perception, Vanderbilt and Alabama are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Alabama is the gold standard of college football and currently the top-ranked team in all polls across America. Its reputation and prestige speaks for itself. By contrast, Vanderbilt is known as the traditional featherweight of the SEC. Situationally, this sets up a perfect scenario, as we can find extensive value on the Commodores by virtue of those biases alone. It helps that the Commodores are actually a very good football team.
The 2017 rendition of Vanderbilt is not the Commodores we’re accustomed to seeing. This ensemble features a talented stable of running backs anchored by one of the game’s best rushers in Ralph Webb. The ‘Dores also have a quarterback they can rely on in clutch situations by the name of Kyle Shurmur. Additionally, Vandy is the owner of the BEST scoring defense in all of America and enter this game undefeated just like Alabama. This feat was not achieved against a cornucopia of FCS cupcakes either. The Commodores made an immediate statement in their season opener against Middle Tennessee State, where they would beat down the Blue Raiders by a score of 28-6. What is even more impressive is that Vandy did this on the road in Murfreesboro, where MTSU is known as a very tough club to beat. Furthermore, the Blue Raiders were highly-touted and were perceived to have one of the Conference USA’s most potent offenses in 2017. The ‘Dores made them look like BYU. Vandy would follow that up with a 42-0 shutout at home the following week against Alabama A&M, which did nothing to boost its market credentials, as it was a game completely off the grid. Last week, however, Vanderbilt achieved its most impressive win of the season, as it defeated the #18 Kansas State Wildcats by a score of 14-7. Vanderbilt was once again undervalued as they closed as a five-point pooch.
Head Coach Derek Mason has employed a blue-collar mindset and a lunchbox-in-hand approach that all involved have bought into. This is a rugged and snarling football team that is so relentless in its pursuit of the football. Let’s not dismiss that what Vandy did to the Wildcats last week in what is typically a “look-ahead” spot. Despite an exclamatory victory in a difficult scheduling spot, Vanderbilt is still not getting any market cred. The Commodores come into this fixture with an opportunity to show America how good they really are against the measuring stick in all of college football. This is Alabama’s first bona fide road game of the year and they are stepping into an environment that will be energized against a Vanderbilt club that is far superior to the outfit it trampled when the two last met in 2011. This is a game Alabama will have to work for with Vandy chomping at the bit to finally get noticed. You always pay a premium to back the Tide and now you’ll pay that price on the road.
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#380 VANDERBILT +18½ -106 (Risking 2.18 units - To Win: 2.06)