SEC Championship Game: Top-Ranked Crimson Tide Heavy Favorite to Cruise Past Florida
Unbeaten Alabama is ranked atop the polls and aims for its fifth SEC championship in seven years when it meets No. 11 Florida in the league title game Saturday night in Atlanta.
The Crimson Tide (10-0) have sailed through the regular season and the offense has been especially prolific of late, outscoring opponents 253-36 across the past five games. Alabama is a 17.5-point favorite with a -900 moneyline according to Bovada, as it aims for its seventh SEC title in the past 12 years.
Florida (8-2) comes in after a painful 37-34 upset loss to LSU last week. The Gators, who also feature a high-octane offense that averages 41.2 points per game, have a +550 moneyline to win its first SEC crown since 2008.
The over/under for total points scored is 74.
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See Bovada for updated lines and odds.
Gators Hopes Rest on Trask, Defense
Kyle Trask has put together a dream season, leading all FBS quarterbacks in passing yards (3,717) while ranking second in passing yards per game (371.7) and third in total offense (376.7 yards). The nation’s top passing offense also gets a boost with the return of tight end Kyle Pitts, who sat out the LSU game with an undisclosed injury but is fourth in the nation with 11 touchdown receptions.
Receivers Kadarius Toney and Jacob Copeland helped offset Pitts’ absence last week, Toney finishing with nine receptions for a career-best 182 yards and Copeland setting a career-high with 123 yards. But despite Trask passing for 474 yards and two touchdowns, four Florida trips inside the red zone resulted in just two field goals, a production-level that won’t work if the Gators are going to pull the upset.
There will be plenty of pressure on Florida’s defense to try and slow down the Crimson Tide. The Gators are fifth in the SEC in points allowed per game at 26.3 points and have surrendered 28-plus points five times. Florida is sixth in the league and 78th nationally in passing yards allowed per game at 242.3 yards.
Jones Powers Multi-Threat Offensive Attack
Nobody has effectively held Alabama’s offense in check this season. The Crimson Tide lead the nation in third-down conversion (59.1 percent), are third in scoring at 49.5 points per game, and fifth in total offense per contest at 537.8 yards. It starts with quarterback Mac Jones, who leads all FBS passers inefficiency (203.9) while ranking fourth nationally in passing yards (3,321) and fifth in passing yards per game (332.1).
He doesn’t lack for options. Through the air, it’s receiver DeVonta Smith, who leads the country in receiving yards (1,327), and is second in receiving yards per game (132.7) and touchdowns (15). On the ground, Najee Harris is tops in the country with 22 rushing touchdowns, and ranks second in the SEC in rushing (1,084 yards) and third in the league in rushing yards per game (108.4).
As much attention as Alabama’s offense gets, its defense is just as good, leading the SEC and ranking 11th nationally in points allowed per game (16.8). The Crimson Tide is third in the league in rushing defense at 113 yards per game, and against the pass are second in the SEC at 227.1 yards.
Alabama Looks to Start Fast, Hold Florida in Check
It figures to be an uphill climb for the Gators, who are a 6.5-point underdog in the first quarter and a 10-point underdog in the first half. The odds favor a quick start for the Crimson Tide, who are -300 to lead after the first quarter and -725 to be up at halftime. Alabama’s offense is -105 to top 45.5 points (four points below its season average). And even though Florida’s offense has scored plenty of points, the odds put the Gators at +1000 to score 35 points while Alabama is -375. In the first half, Florida is -155 to surpass the over-under of 13.5 points.