TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Vegas likes the Crimson Tide in the Iron Bowl.
No. 1 Alabama (11-0, 7-0 SEC) opened as an 18.5-point favorite over in-state rival Auburn (8-3, 5-2), according to VegasInsider.com.
Alabama hosts Auburn for the Iron Bowl on Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS.
The Crimson Tide is coming off a sluggish 31-3 win over Chattanooga on Saturday. Auburn pounded Alabama A&M 55-0 in its Iron Bowl tune-up.
Alabama is one win away from finishing the regular season undefeated for the third time during the Nick Saban era (2008, 2009).
With other teams around the country struggling, it’s hard to envision a scenario where Alabama doesn’t make and win the College Football Playoff National Championship Game for the second straight year.
The matchup will be the 81st meeting overall between the Tide and Tigers, with Alabama owning the 44-35-1 advantage in the series. Most recently, Alabama earned a 29-13 victory at Auburn to clinch the SEC Western Division title and close out the 2015 regular season.
Two years ago in Bryant-Denny Stadium, Alabama defeated Auburn 55-44 in the highest scoring Iron Bowl ever.
Alabama coach Nick Saban is 6-3 vs. Auburn during his time in Tuscaloosa.
Alabama has already clinched the SEC West, so no matter what happens in the Iron Bowl, the Crimson Tide will be in the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 3.
Florida defeated LSU earlier Saturday to set up another matchup between the Gators and Crimson Tide in Atlanta. Alabama defeated Florida 29-15 in last year’s SEC Championship Game to clinch the league’s title and earn a berth in the College Football Playoff.
Alabama pounded Michigan State in AT&T Stadium before winning a 45-42 thriller over Clemson to win the national championship. It marked the fourth championship Alabama has won during Saban’s tenure in Tuscaloosa.
If Alabama wins the national championship this season, Saban would be tied at six championships with legendary coach Alabama Paul “Bear” Bryant.