SEC College Football Picks: #13 Alabama Crimson Tide at #8 Georgia Bulldogs

#13 Alabama Crimson Tide at #8 Georgia Bulldogs
Sanford Stadium – Athens, Georgia
Saturday, October 3, 2015, 3:30 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Opening Line: Georgia -2 1/2
Current Line: Georgia -1
Opening Total: 54
Current Total: 51
Opening Money Line: Georgia -135 / Alabama +115
Current Money Line: Georgia -120 / Alabama +100

Georgia is a slight favorite against Alabama in a key SEC contest.
Georgia is a slight favorite against Alabama in a key SEC contest.

Prior to this week, the Alabama Crimson Tide hadn’t been an underdog in any game since the 2009 SEC Championship game against the Florida Gators. However, this week the Georgia Bulldogs opened as a 2.5 point favorite against Alabama in Athens. Georgia has been bet down to -1. Alabama is 3-1 this season and 0-1 in SEC play. Georgia is 4-0 and 2-0 in SEC play. The Bulldogs are #8 and the Crimson Tide are #13.

Alabama leads the series 37-25-4 against Georgia including 14-10 in Athens. Alabama won the last meeting 41-30 in the 2012 SEC Championship game. The Crimson Tide haven’t played in Athens since 2008.

Alabama is coached by Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide lost at home to Ole Miss 43-37. Alabama has a win over Wisconsin 35-17 in Arlington, Texas, plus home wins over Middle Tennessee 37-10 and last week over UL-Monroe 34-0. The Crimson Tide were 37.5 point favorites against ULM and the total was 53. Alabama held ULM to 92 total yards and 10 first downs. Alabama is 1-3 ATS and the total is 2-2 this season.

Georgia is coached by Mark Richt. The Bulldogs have a road win at Vanderbilt 31-14, plus home wins over UL-Monroe 51-14, South Carolina 52-20 and last week against Southern 48-6. The Bulldogs were 48.5 point favorites against Southern and the total was 73.5. Georgia is 2-2 ATS and the total is 2-2 this season.

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Alabama is outscoring teams 36-18 this season. Alabma is in the top 40 nationally in both categories.  The Crimson Tide average 460 yards per game on offense including 258 passing and 203 rushing yards. Alabama is #45 or better in all three categories. On defense, Alabama is allowing 267 yards per game including 210 passing and 57 rushing yards. Alabama is #12 in total defense and #4 in rush defense. The Crimson Tide have forced 7 turnovers and have 8 of their own. Alabama averages 67 penalty yards per game and opponents average 66. Alabama is 26/68 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 22/74. The Crimson Tide have forced 11 sacks and allowed 5 this season. Alabama is 17/19 scoring in the red zone with 15 touchdowns and opponents are 9/11 with 5 touchdowns.

Quarterback Jake Coker has thrown for 786 yards with 8 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, along with 45 rushing yards on 11 carries and a touchdown. Cooper Bateman has thrown for 244 yards with a touchdown and 2 interceptions.

Running back Derrick Henry has 67 carries for 428 yards and 8 touchdowns, plus 7 catches for 51 yards. Kenyan Drake has 37 carries for 215 yards and a touchdown, along with 7 catches for 139 yards and a touchdown. Damien Harris has 21 carries for 101 yards.

Receiver O.J. Howard has 13 catches for 183 yards. ArDarius Stewart has 21 catches for 177 yards and 2 touchdowns. Calvin Ridley has 17 catches for 125 yards and a touchdown. Richard Mullaney has 12 catches for 116 yards and 2 touchdowns. Robert Foster has 10 catches for 116 yards and 2 touchdowns, but is out for the season with a shoulder injury.

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Georgia is outscoring teams 46-14 this season. The Bulldogs are #11 in scoring and #13 in points allowed. Georgia averages 491 total yards per game including 234 passing and 258 rushing yards. The Bulldogs are #23 in total offense and #11 in rushing. On defense, Georgia is allowing 273 yards per game including 166 passing and 107 rushing yards. The Bulldogs are in the top 25 in all three categories. Georgia has forced 5 turnovers and has 3 of their own this season. Georgia averages 52 penalty yards per game and opponents average 34. The Bulldogs are 11/31 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 25/73. Georgia has 8 sacks and has allowed 3 this season. The Bulldogs are 16/19 scoring in the red zone with 13 touchdowns, and opponents are 5/8 with 5 touchdowns. Georgia has a punt return and a pick six this season.

Quarterback Greyson Lambert has thrown for 733 yards with 7 touchdowns and no interceptions, and also has a rushing touchdown. Back-up Brice Ramsey has thrown for 201 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.

Running back Nick Chubb has 71 carries for 599 yards and 6 touchdowns, plus 3 catches for 37 yards and a touchdown. Sony Michel has 32 catches for 223 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 8 catches for 148 yards and 3 touchdowns. Keith Marshall has 22 carries for 125 yards and 3 touchdowns. Receiver Malcolm Mitchell has 20 catches for 306 yards and 3 touchdowns. No other receiver has more than 7 catches.

Alabama is 12-4 ATS in October, 2-5 after a straight up win, against teams with winning records and on grass, 2-6 against teams with winning home records, 1-4 overall, after allowing 275 yards or less, and after a straight up win of more than 20 points, 1-5 on grass and after allowing 20 points or less, 0-4 after allowing less than 100 rushing yards, and 0-6-1 after allowing 170 passing yards or more. The Crimson Tide are 1-4 ATS in the last 5 games against the Bulldogs and were favored in each of those contests.

Georgia is 4-0 ATS after a straight up win, 11-3 after allowing less than 170 passing yards, 6-2 on grass, 5-2 in SEC games, against teams with winning records, after gaining 450 total yards or more, and after allowing 20 points or less, 6-13-1 after a straight up win, 1-4 after scoring more than 40 points and after allowing 275 yards or less. The last 5 games in this series have gone over the total.

Alabama needs a win here or they could be eliminated from the SEC title race in early October. The Crimson Tide showed a lot of guts and toughness in coming back from double digit deficits several times against Mississippi. Georgia really hasn’t been tested with conference games against rebuilding Vanderbilt and South Carolina. I think Georgia wins a low scoring game at home though.

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