The No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs (12-0, 8-0 in SEC) meet the No. 4 Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1, 7-1) Saturday for the SEC Championship Game at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The kickoff is 4 p.m. ET, and the game airs on CBS.
Following a 10-3 victory over then-No. 3 Clemson Tigers in Week 1, Georgia beat every opponent by at least 24 points en route to an SEC East division win. The Bulldogs average the most points per game in the SEC and allow the fewest. Georgia senior QB Stetson Bennett finished the year with the best passer efficiency rating in the conference (188.5).
Georgia’s last SEC Title was in 2017, but the Bulldogs lost the College Football Championship to Alabama. The Bulldogs are 8-4 against the spread (ATS) and 5-7 Over/Under (O/U) with the 51st-toughest strength of schedule, according to USA TODAY’s Jeff Sagarin.
Alabama eked past its final two opponents of the regular season and covered just one of its past four games. The Crimson Tide needed four overtimes to beat the Auburn Tigers in last week’s Iron Bowl. Also, Alabama defeated the Arkansas Razorbacks in Week 12 42-35 but failed to cover as 20.5-point road favorites.
Crimson Tide freshman QB Bryce Young led the SEC in passing touchdowns (40), passing yards (4,449), and was second in completion rate (69.0%). Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. had the most sacks (13.0) and tackles for a loss in the conference (26.0). According to Sagarin, Alabama is 6-6 ATS and 6-6 O/U with the 18th-hardest schedule.
Alabama has won six straight meetings with Georgia (3-3 ATS), including SEC Title game victories in 2012 and 2018. The Over is 4-1-1 in those contests.
- Opening Line: Georgia -6
- Current Line: Georgia -6.5
- Total (Over/Under): 49.5
Georgia was a 3.5-point favorite on the lookahead line and opened as a 6-point favorite at Circa Sports in Las Vegas. According to Pregame.com, the Bulldogs are getting roughly 85% of the cash and bets placed on them to cover. This one-sided market has steamed Georgia up to its current price.
There’s one-way betting action heading south of the total. Nearly two-thirds of the action is on the Under, which has caused oddsmakers to lower the total from the 50.5-point opener.
Since Georgia head coach Kirby Smart took over the program in 2016, the Bulldogs are 12-5 ATS in neutral-site games, 20-12 ATS vs. ranked teams, and 31-22 ATS vs. SEC teams.
Over that period, Alabama is 29-24-1 ATS in conference play, 10-7 ATS in neutral-site games, and 19-17 ATS vs. ranked competition. This game is the first time Alabama is the Underdog in its last 92 games.
The Under is 7-1-2 in Georgia’s last ten neutral-site games and 4-1-1 in Alabama’s last six neutral-site games. However, the Over is 7-1-1 in the last nine Alabama-Georgia games and the Underdog has covered six of the past seven meetings.
You almost have to suspend disbelief in order to bet against Georgia who has pretty much zero weaknesses. The Bulldogs lead the SEC in both offensive, and defensive predicted points added (PPA). Aside from Bennett, no other Georgia player stands out statistically because of the Bulldogs’ absurd depth.
However, coming into the season, questions were surrounding Georgia’s aerial attack. And I’m not sold Bennett will move the ball through the air vs. the Crimsons Tide. Furthermore, Bennett will have to make plays in the passing game because Alabama’s rush defense is as elite as they come.
For instance, the Crimson Tide’s defense is first in rushing PPA, second in both line yards per snap and rushing success rate, and 20th in rushing explosive rate. If Alabama can force Georgia to convert a bunch of 3rd-and-longs, the Crimson Tide will keep this game close. Alabama is better on 3rd-down on both sides of the ball.
Lastly, Alabama has a decisive edge at quarterback and coaching and there’s not a wide gap between these two defenses. Sure, Georgia is the best team in the country, but I’m skeptical that the Bulldogs are an all-time that’s going to steamroll to a national championship. Alabama getting 6.5 points with Nick Saban, the better quarterback, and the public on the opposite side is too good to pass up.
PICK: Alabama +6.5 (-105 on DraftKings)
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