The top two teams in the SEC and two of the top three teams in the country do battle on Saturday evening in Tuscaloosa. The second-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide host the third-ranked Georgia Bulldogs in a matchup of the only two remaining undefeated teams in the SEC. Alabama is coming off a slugfest against Ole Miss, in which they won 63-48 last Saturday, while Georgia knocked off the then-14th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers by a score of 44-21 on Saturday.
Alabama is 1-2 this season against the spread, while the total has gone over in all three games. They were a 22.5-point favorite versus Ole Miss in their 15-point victory. Georgia is 2-1 against the spread this season after they defeated Tennessee by 23 points as a 12-point favorite. The over-under is 1-2 in Georgia’s three games this season.
This game has taken on a different tone as Alabama head coach Nick Saban is not expected to be on the sidelines due to testing positive for COVID-19. Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is expected to take over for Saban.
(Injury updates and line movements are updated as of Saturday Morning.)
The line has trended down slightly this week. After opening with Alabama as a seven-point favorite, it has edged down to Alabama -5.5 points. The Crimson Tide are receiving 59 percent of the bets against the spread and 60 percent of the moneyline bets for this contest.
The over/under has ticked upward in this contest from 56 points to anywhere between 58 and 58.5 points depending on the sportsbook. 56 percent of the bets on the total are backing this contest to go over the mark.
The temperature at kickoff is slated to be right around 60 degrees but by the time the game is over, the temperature will have fallen down into the low -50s. Clear skies are in the forecast with no precipitation expected, though there will be a definite chill in the air. Winds are expected from the southeast around five miles an hour with gusts coming in at less than 10 miles an hour.
Bulldogs win third straight routThe Georgia Bulldogs remained undefeated as they defeated Tennessee by 23 points on Saturday, their third straight win of more than 20 points to open the season. It was also their second straight win against a ranked opponent. They defeated the Auburn Tigers, who were ranked seventh at the time, by a score of 27-6 on October 3.
Stetson Bennett was 16-27 for 238 yards passing and two touchdowns in the win, while their running attack rushed for 193 yards. Four players rushed for more than 40 yards, led by Kendall Milton, who ran for 56 yards on just eight carries. Bennett spread the ball around very generously as he completed his 16 passes to 10 different receivers. Kearis Jackson was his main target, catching four passes for 91 yards and a touchdown. Georgia held the ball for over 36 minutes in the game, and they held the Volunteers to minus-1 yards rushing on 27 attempts.
Bennett has completed 63.1% of his passes in the first three weeks of the season for 689 yards, five touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Zamir White has been the Bulldogs main ball carrier this season, rushing 54 times for 209 yards and four touchdowns, while Jackson has 19 catches for 300 yards and a touchdown. The Georgia defense has forced seven turnovers this season, including two interceptions apiece from Richard LeCounte and Eric Stokes.
“We try to keep the other team under 13, that’s our goal,” LeCounte said on dawgnation.com. “Try to stop those guys from having any explosives and making sure our havoc rate is going up every game.”
Georgia is averaging 36 points per game this season and 420 yards of total offense per game, but their defense has taken center stage in the first three games. They have the best rush defense in the country, giving up just 38.3 yards per game on the ground, and the Bulldogs are second in the NCAA in total yards yielded per game at 236.7 yards. Georgia is giving up just 12.3 points per game this season, which is fifth-best in college football.
OUT: WR Dominick Blaylock, WR Tommy Bush, QB Jamie Newman
Doubtful: OL Owen Condon
Questionable: QB JT Daniels, LB Walter Grant, WR Matt Landers
Tide continue to rollThe Alabama Crimson Tide’s offense continues to impress, as they have scored 153 points in their first three games of the season. The Crimson Tide got a little bit of a scare in their last game, as they were tied with the Ole Miss Rebels 42-42 early in the fourth quarter, but they outscored the Rebels 21-6 the rest of the way to secure the victory. There were 1,370 yards gained to go along with the 111 points scored between the two teams. Alabama had 723 yards of offense, as Mac Jones was nearly perfect. He completed 87.5% of his passes for 417 yards, his second straight 400-yard game, and two touchdowns. Devonta Smith caught 13 of Jones’ passes for 164 yards, while Jaylen Waddle had six catches for 120 yards. The Crimson Tide rushed for 306 yards as a team, led by Najee Harris’ 206 yards and five touchdowns.
“Sometimes we coach players for what we want them to be,” coach Nick Saban said on bamahammer.com. “But we really need to coach them for what they are. And when I say that, I’m talking about how much experience do they have? How much can they handle? How much can they execute? So, if the players are mis-executing, that’s not a good thing from a coaching standpoint because that means we have to do a better job of teaching them or make sure we’re not trying to teach them too much.”
Last week, Alabama’s offensive output wasn’t a fluke, as they have possibly the best offensive team in the nation. They are first in points scored per game (51.0), second in passing yards per game (385.0), and third in total yards per game (560.3). The Crimson Tide are giving up 30.3 points per game in their first three games and an average of 473 yards per game.
Jones has completed 79.5% of his passes this season for 1,101 yards, eight touchdowns, and just one interception. Harris is averaging 6.7 yards per carry and 115.7 yards per game, as he leads Alabama with 347 yards on the ground. Waddle (19 catches for 396 yards) and Smith (27 catches for 316 yards) both have over 300 yards receiving this season, while John Metchie III has 11 receptions for 298 yards. The three receivers have a total of seven touchdown catches this season.
No Injuries Reported
Trends found on oddsshark.com:
- The Crimson Tide are 1-2 ATS in their last three games overall
- The Bulldogs are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games overall
- The Bulldogs are 5-0 ATS in their last five road games
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
This game is quite a contrast in styles. Alabama’s high-powered offense versus Georgia’s stifling defense. The Crimson Tide gained 723 yards in their last game, while the Bulldogs have given up 710 yards all season. Georgia gave up minus-1 yard on the ground last week, and they have given up a total of just 115 yards rushing this season. The Bulldogs are outscoring their opponents by an average score of 36-12.3 this season, while the Crimson Tide are giving up over 30 points per game. Georgia’s defense will make Alabama a one dimensional and make Mac Jones try to beat them with his arm. This will be a close game throughout the game.
Prediction: Georgia +5.5
Full-Game Total Pick
The Georgia Bulldogs have one of the best defenses in the country, and defense will win out over the offenses in this game. Alabama is giving up 30.3 points per game this season, while Georgia has given up 37 points all season. The Bulldogs have been very tough against the run this season, giving up just 38.3 yards per game on the ground this season. Alabama won’t be able to run for over 300 yards like they did last week, so that will keep their point total lower. The Crimson Tide will score nowhere near their average of 51 ppg versus the Bulldogs, so take the under in this one.
Prediction: Under 58