College Football SEC Championship Betting Picks: #14 Missouri Tigers vs #1 Alabama Crimson Tide

2014 SEC Championship Game
#14 Missouri Tigers vs #1 Alabama Crimson Tide

Georgia Dome – Atlanta, Georgia
Saturday, December 6, 2014, 4:00 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Opening Line: Alabama -14
Current Line: Alabama -14 1/2
Opening Total: 48 1/2
Current Total: 49
Opening Money Line: Alabama -650 / Missouri +500
Current Money Line: Alabama -650 / Missouri +500  

Alabama can wrap up not only the SEC Championship but a likely berth in the playoff with a win Saturday over Missouri in Atlanta.
Alabama can wrap up not only the SEC Championship but a likely berth in the playoff with a win Saturday over Missouri in Atlanta.

The #1 Alabama Crimson Tide are 11-1 this season. They will almost certainly lock up a spot in the four team college football playoffs with a win Saturday in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta. It won’t be easy as the Crimson Tide must face the 10-2 Missouri Tigers. Alabama won the SEC West with a 7-1 record. Missouri was also 7-1 in the East Division.

Alabama is playing in their 9th SEC Championship game. The Crimson Tide are 4-4 in the game. Missouri is playing in their second straight  SEC Championship game after losing to Auburn last season. The Tigers haven’t won any conference titles since they shared the 1969 Big 8 title, and Missouri hasn’t won an outright title since 1960.

The series between Alabama and Missouri is tied 2-2. Alabama has won two straight games including 42-10 in Columbia in 2012.

Missouri is coached by Gary Pinkel. The Tigers have home losses to Indiana 31-27 and Georgia 34-0. Missouri has won 6 straight games since the Georgia loss. The Tigers have home wins over South Dakota State 38-18, Central Florida 38-10, Vanderbilt 24-14, Kentucky 20-10, and last week against Arkansas 21-14. Missouri has road wins over Toledo 49-24, South Carolina 21-20, Florida 42-13, Texas A&M 34-27, and Tennessee 29-21. The Tigers are 8-4 ATS this season and the total is 4-7-1 ATS. Missouri was a 2 point underdog against Arkansas and the total was 43.5.

Alabama is coached by Nick Saban. Alabama has won 7 straight games since a 23-17 loss at Ole Miss in early October. The Crimson Tide have a win over West Virginia 33-23 in Atlanta, and home wins over Florida International 41-0, Southern Miss 52-12, Florida 42-21, Texas A&M 59-0, Mississippi State 25-20, Western Carolina 48-14, and last week against Auburn 55-44. Alabama has road wins over Arkansas 14-13, Tennessee 34-20 and LSU 20-13 in overtime. The Crimson Tide are 4-8 ATS and the total is 5-6 this season. Alabama was a 9.5 point favorite against Auburn and the total was 54.

Missouri is outscoring teams 29-20 this season. The Tigers are #13 in points allowed. Missouri is averaging 366 yards per game on offense including 190 passing and 176 rushing yards. The Tigers are #98 in total offense and #100 in passing nationally out of 128 teams. On defense, Missouri is allowing 331 yards including 204 passing and 127 rushing yards. The Tigers are #36 or better nationally in all three categories. Missouri is +9 in turnovers with 22 takeaways. The Tigers average 62 penalty yards per game and opponents average 51. Missouri is 94/201 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 79/215. The Tigers have forced 40 sacks and allowed 20 this season. Missouri is 35/38 scoring in the red zone with 25 touchdowns, and opponents are 27/31 with 19 touchdowns. Missouri has six defensive and special teams touchdowns.

Missouri quarterback Matty Mauk has completed 53.5% of his passes for 2,279 yards with 22 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, along with 95 carries for 336 yards and a touchdown. Running back Russell Hansbrough has 177 carries for 949 yards and 9 touchdowns plus 11 catches. He is probable with an ankle injury. Marcus Murphy has 158 carries for 747 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 25 catches for 185 yards and a touchdown. Murphy also has a punt return and two kickoff returns all for touchdowns. Receiver Bud Sasser has 65 catches for 904 yards and 9 touchdowns. Jimmie Hunt has 34 catches for 529 yards and 7 touchdowns. Darius White has 26 catches for 318 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Alabama is outscoring teams 37-17 this season. The Crimson Tide are #20 in scoring and #5 in points allowed. Alabama is averaging 487 yards per game on offense including 281 passing and 206 rushing yards. The Crimson Tide are #38 or better in all three categories. On defense, Alabama is allowing 312 yards per game including 220 passing and 92 rushing yards per game. The Crimson Tide are #11 in total defense and #2 in rush defense. Alabama is -2 in turnovers with 17 takeaways. The Tide average 43 penalty yards per game and opponents average 36. Alabama is 99/183 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 72/200. The Crimson Tide have forced 29 sacks and allowed 11 this season. Alabama is 47/56 scoring in the red zone with 37 touchdowns and opponents are 30/37 with 14. The Crimson Tide have a fumble return for a touchdown and have allowed a kick return and a fumble return for touchdowns.

Alabama quarterback Blake Sims has completed 63.1% of his passes for 2,988 yards with 24 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, along with 64 carries for 302 yards and six touchdowns. He is probable with an ankle injury. Jake Coker has thrown for 403 yards and 4 touchdowns in limited action this season.

Running back T.J. Yeldon has 170 carries for 885 yards with 8 touchdowns, plus 15 catches for 180 yards and a touchdown. Derrick Henry has 139 catches for 754 yards and 8 touchdowns, plus 3 catches for 79 yards and 2 touchdowns. Kenyan Drake has 4 rushing touchdowns this season but is out for the year with an ankle injury. Receiver Amari Cooper is a Heisman contender. He has 103 catches for 1,573 yards and 14 touchdowns. DeAndrew White has 33 catches for 338 yards and 3 touchdowns. Five defensive players are questionable or out.

Alabama is 8-3 ATS in neutral site games, 2-5 after rushing for more than 200 yards, 4-11-1 after allowing 450 yards or more, and overall, 1-4 after allowing more than 40 points, and on fieldturf, 1-6-1 after gaining more than 450 yards, 0-4 after a cover, and after allowing more than 280 passing yards.

Missouri is 4-0 ATS after a straight up win, 13-3 against teams with winning records, 16-5 in SEC games, 19-6-1 overall, 9-3-1 after allowing 20 points or less, 8-3 after allowing less than 170 passing yards, 11-5-1 after a cover, 13-6-1 on fieldturf, and 1-6 in December.

This should be a defensive slug fest with two of the top defenses in the country. Both teams are capable of offensive explosions but I think this will be low scoring. Alabama has way too much at stake to nod off but Missouri will not go quietly. The Tide win to secure their spot in the playoff.

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