The 2020 SEC college football season kicks off on Saturday, with each team playing their first opponent of a 10 game conference only season.
Missouri's new head coach, 37-year-old Eliah Drinkwitz, will have his work cut out for him against Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide. Drinkwitz has only been a head coach for one season but led Appalachian State to a terrific 12-1 record last year before leaving for Missouri.
These two teams have not met since Oct. 13, 2018 when Alabama came away with a 39-10 victory as a 28-point home favorite.
Alabama opened the week as a -26.5 point favorite in the contest and the line has ticked up slightly this week. The Crimson Tide is now favored by 28 with 87 percent of the bets ATS backing the Crimson Tide. When it comes to the moneyline, a whopping 95 percent of the bets are on Alabama.
The over/under started the week at 55.5 points and hasn't moved all that much this week. It currently stands at 56 points with 63 percent of the bets for the contest expected to go over the total.
Game-time Weather: Temperature at kickoff is scheduled to be in the low-80s with dropping temperatures into the mid-70s as the game wears on. Clear skies are expected as there is no rain in the forecast. Winds are projected from the south at 13 miles an hour with gusts trending up to about 16 miles per hour.
Alabama a national title contender againNo. 2 ranked Alabama returns seven starters on offense and five starters on defense, from last season's Citrus Bowl championship team that went 11-2. The Tide's only two losses last season were to eventual national champion LSU, 46-41 on Nov. 9 and 48-45 to arch-rival Auburn on Nov. 30.
Quarterback Mac Jones will be in the spotlight more this season after throwing 14 TDs, 3 INTs and 1,503 yards in four starts and 12 total appearances. Jones was 3-1 as a starter last season and took over for the injured Tua Tagovaila, who went in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He won't have Jerry Jeudy to throw to, but will have the explosive DeVonta Smith (1,256 receiving yards). Senior running back Najee Harris (1,224 yards, 13 TDs) could be the best in the nation.
We are four days from Alabama versus Missouri, so why not thank Eddie Jackson, Jerry Jeudy, T.J. Yeldon and Tyrone Prothro for the wonderful moments they provided to us as Crimson Tide fans. GAME DAY is Saturday! pic.twitter.com/xQN31OmC8A— In My Own Words/w Stephen M. Smith (@InMyOwnWordsTDA) September 22, 2020
Alabama finished second in the country in scoring offensive averaging 47.2 ppg in 2019, and sixth with 510.8 yards per game. Defensively Alabama was third in the nation, allowing 18.6 ppg and 20th holding opponents to just 324.5 yards per contest. They return five starters from that unit led by LB Dylan Moses, who hopes to return from a knee injury that kept him out all season. If there is a concern, it's the young secondary.
OUT: OL Alex Leatherwood
No tuneups for MizzoMissouri went 6-6 in 2019 but was ineligible to appear in a bowl game due to a one-year postseason ban. The Tigers offense was not prolific last year, averaging 374.3 yards per game and 25.3 points, which ranked 93rd in the country. This season two offensive linemen, tight end Daniel Parker Jr. and senior running back Larry Rountree III, who rushed for a team-best 829 yards on 4.5 yards per carry return for Mizzou. The Tigers will have a new signal-caller with either TCU transfer Shawn Robinson or freshmanConnor Bazelak handling the offense this season. Robinson would seem to be the pick, considering starting a freshman quarterback against the Alabama defense may not be the best move for a new coach.
Five takeaways from Mizzou football’s Week 1 depth chart ahead of the Alabama game https://t.co/gFcQQZdfwB— Sports Daily KC (@SportsDailyKC) September 23, 2020
Defensively, Missouri was the 16th in the nation, holding opponents to just 19.4 ppg and 14th best, allowing only 312 yards. One area that the Tigers did not excel in was pressuring opposing quarterbacks. In 2019, Missouri was the worst team in the SEC when it came to sack rate with an average of just one sack in every 19.3 chances, 101st in the country.
OUT: LB Chad Bailey, WR CJay Boone, OL Jack Buford, DL Chris Daniels, DL Sci Martin Jr., WR Maurice Massey, OL Thalen Robinson, TE Branden Scales
Questionable: RB Simi Bakare, RB Elijah Young
- Tigers are 0-7 ATS in their last 7 conference games.
- Crimson Tide are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games on fieldturf.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Missouri Tigers have a tough draw for their home opener. Regardless of who starts, the Tigers will be throwing a new quarterback into the fire against Alabama with no returning wide receivers and three offensive linemen who did not start last season. Five true freshmen could also see significant playing time and possibly start for Mizzou in the defensive secondary.
The goal at Alabama every year is to win the National Championship, and with the Tide falling short last season, I expect to see them coming out to send a message early. Playing an SEC opponent to open up the season, I see no reason to expect Nick Saban to ease up on Saturday. Expect the Tide to roll in a big way.
Prediction: Alabama -27
Full-Game Total Pick
Mac Jones is not Tua Tagovailoa; however, the Crimson Tide offense was still explosive and averaged 48.5 ppg in the four contests that Jones led them in last season, scoring no less than 35 points in any of those contest.
I am concerned with Missouri's ability to score against the Tide in this game with so many new offensive players. Even in his first game at Mizzou, I think Eliah Drinkwitz, whose Applachian State team averaged 38.8 ppg last season, will be able to muster enough late offense for this game to go over the total.
Prediction: Over 56.5