Alabama’s undefeated record will be on the line against the 8-2 Florida Gators when the two SEC powerhouses meet for the conference title on Saturday night. If Florida wants to find a spot in the College Football Playoff, they’ll need to find a way to upset the Tide.
Here are the odds for Saturday’s SEC Championship Game.#1 Alabama and #7 Florida will convene in Mercedes Benz Stadium Saturday night to decide the champion of the SEC. This is a Top 10 matchup, but Alabama is penciled in as a 17-point favorite over the Gators this weekend.
The question that’s circulating around the country is, “Can the Florida Gators keep this game close?” Stephen A. Smith is one of many people that believe this is a very insane question. Take a look for yourself…
SEC Championship Game – #7 Florida vs #1 Alabama
Saturday, December 19th at 8:00 PM EST
Mercedes Benz Stadium
Moneyline: Florida (+600) Alabama (-900)
Point Spread: Florida (+17) Alabama (+600)
Can the Gators Go “Against the Tide” on Saturday?
Florida won the SEC West this year at a record of 8-2. Florida didn’t have a close win all season. Every victory to the Gators name in 2020 was decisive. The offense is built around Gators’ QB Kyle Trask. Trask is a 6’5” senior with one massive arm. He has a QBR of 90.3 which makes him the fourth ranked quarterback in FBS football.
Trask leads the country in total passing yardage (3,717) and touchdowns (40). The senior has put up video game numbers in the best conference in all of college football this season. The Tide will need to take Trask seriously all night on Saturday.
The important thing to examine for the Florida Gators is their two losses. The team was defeated by Texas A&M in October and are coming off a loss to LSU last week. Both these losses were demoralizing for the Gators.
The Gators entered Death Valley last week and lost to an LSU team that was 3-5 at kickoff. Florida’s issues have been caused by inconsistency on the defensive side of the ball. The unit is giving up 33 points per game against ranked opponents. The athleticism of the Alabama offense has the potential to exploit the Gators all night so Dan Mullen will need one hell of a game plan to give his team a chance at the SEC crown.
The Alabama team that we have seen in 2020 is a typical Crimson Tide group that is feared throughout the SEC. Alabama’s closest winning margin this season was 15 points. They blew out #3 Georgia on October 17th and crushed #22 Auburn at the end of November.
Alabama’s worst player on the field at any given time is better than most team’s stars. The strength on the Alabama sideline at all positions is hard to contain.
QB Mac Jones has done a terrific job stepping into the starting role for the Tide this season. He has been the perfect fit for the Alabama offense. Jones isn’t nearly as explosive as Tua Tagovailoa, but he takes care of the football and is able to get the ball to the team’s playmakers. The Tide’s primary receiving threat is DeVonta Smith who has hauled in 15 touchdowns this season.
There are more threats to worry about with the Alabama offense than just Jones and Smith. Senior RB, Najee Harris, is averaging 6 yards per carry. He has rushed for 1,084 yards and 15 touchdowns this season.
It’s hard to say if shutting down the Alabama offense is easier or harder than scoring on the Tide’s defense as an opposing team. Defensively, Alabama doesn’t have any holes. The group is giving up less than 17 points per game in the SEC. Christian Harris and Dylan Moses lead the Tide’s defense. These two linebackers have combined for 76 solo tackles, four sacks, and an interception in 2020.
SEC Championship – The Matchup
The absolute necessity for a Florida victory on Saturday will be the defenses ability to shut down Alabama RB Najee Harris. Mac Jones is a good quarterback, but Florida will need to put him in 3rd and long situations to see success on Saturday night.
The criticism around Jones is all about his arm strength. For Florida to take advantage of this flaw, they have to end Alabama’s hope of running the ball right from the opening kickoff. I think the Florida offense will be able to score against the Tide. They will need some explosive plays. Alabama makes opposing offenses earn everything so long sustained drives are few and far between against the unit.
Florida’s two losses this season were to Texas A&M and LSU. Alabama defeated Texas A&M 52-24 and they embarrassed LSU 55-17. If Florida goes down early, it will be impossible to stop the Tide from rolling to their ninth SEC Championship in program history.
SEC Championship – The Picks
I don’t think this game is going to be close. Alabama is too strong all over the field for the Florida Gators. Florida is a really good football team, but they can’t play with Alabama for four quarters.
There will be a point where Alabama starts to run away with this football game. It could be right after the opening kickoff, but we will need to wait for Saturday night to know this for a fact.
I hate to take Alabama at -17, but if any team can cover such a massive spread it’s the Tide. Alabama is 8-2 ATS and Florida is 4-5-1. The seventh-ranked team in the country should always be able to cover +17 unless it’s against the Crimson Tide.
I think this game resembles the Alabama vs Texas A&M game earlier this season.
Alabama will win in a landslide. Florida is able to put up three scores to take this game over, but it won’t be nearly enough for the Gators to leave Atlanta as SEC Champions.
I’m taking Alabama at -17 and over 76.5
Not only am I previewing the SEC Championship but I will also be previewing all the Power 5 Conference Championship Games on the Knup Sports and Sports 2.0 Network. Make sure to check out these sites and follow me on IG @tannerkern and Twitter @tannerkern_ for game previews, betting analysis, and the best stories from the sports world.
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