SEC College Football Predictions: Alabama Crimson Tide at Florida Gators

No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide at No. 12 Florida Gators
Saturday, 10/1/11, 8:00 PM EST, TV:  CBS
Opening Point Spread:  Alabama -5
Current Betting Line:  Alabama -3.5
Opening Total:  45.5
Current Total:  44.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Alabama Crimson Tide head into The Swamp to face the Florida Gators Saturday night

Alabama enters with a perfect 4-0 record and comes into The Swamp off a 38-14 win over the Arkansas Razorbacks as 11-point home favorites.  The Crimson Tide have won the statistical battle in every game, including a 171-yard advantage in Tuscaloosa a week ago.  The two SEC rivals will be meeting for the 37th time this Saturday, with Alabama holding a 21-14 advantage, including spread victories in the last two years.  The Crimson Tide came away with a 31-6 win as 7.5-point home favorites in 2010.  Alabama is 19-10 ATS as a favorite the last two-plus campaigns.

The Crimson Tide are not afraid of knocking helmets with a ranked opponent, posting a 16-5 mark against such foes over the past three seasons.  Alabama has already tallied a 2-0 mark in this category though the opening two weeks.  Defensively, the team possesses one of the more dominant units in the country, allowing seven points or less in the first half of its last nine games.  Alabama is also tied with Ohio State for surrendering the fewest rushing touchdowns in the nation since the start of the 2005 campaign.  Heisman Trophy candidate Trent Richardson is the leader on the offensive side, averaging 110.2 rushing yards per game, while tying for the SEC-lead in scoring 13.5 points a game.

Florida moved its record to 4-0 this year with a dominating 48-10 win over the Kentucky Wildcats, cashing as 17.5-point road favorites.  The Gators are averaging 461.8 yards per game, while also possessing a top-five nationally ranked defense.  Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps are a powerful running back tandem, combining for 731 rushing yards and six touchdowns, which matches up favorably to Richardson and Eddie Lacy on the other sideline, who have garnered 806 total yards.  Florida is 0-2 ATS as an underdog the last two-plus seasons.

The Gators have a very young team under the watchful eye of first-year head coach Will Muschamp, suiting up just nine scholarship seniors on its roster.  Overall, Florida first-year head coaches are 12-24 versus ranked opponents, which includes a 3-2 mark under former leader Urban Meyer.  The program has gotten off to fast starts this year, outscoring opponents 54-3 in the first quarter and 96-20 in the first half of games this season.  The running game has been the dominant story, rushing for 405 yards at Kentucky, which was the highest total in that category for any SEC team this season.

Bettors will likely back the Crimson Tide due to their 9-4 ATS mark as a road favorite, while the Gators are 2-5 ATS in October.

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