Alabama vs. Florida Spread & Total Picks
Alabama Crimson Tide (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. Florida Gators (2-0 SU, 0-2 ATS)
When: Saturday, September 18, 3:30 p.m.
Where: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Fla.
Point Spread: ALA -15/FLA +15 (SportsBetting.ag)
Total: O/U 58.5
For the first time since 2014, this game will actually be played on a college campus. Alabama and Florida used to be one of the great battles between conference powers, but the SEC’s huge makeup and insistence on only playing eight league games (because it just has to leave room for those November duels between Prairie View A&M and Texas A&M or Florida and Samford) means the Tide and the Gators haven’t been scheduled to meet since 2014. They’ve played in three SEC title games since that game, but whether it’s been in Gainesville, Tuscaloosa or Atlanta, it’s always been Alabama coming out on top.
Nick Saban owns a 7-1 record against Florida since moving to Alabama, and mostof the time, the game hasn’t been close. Florida’s 52-46 loss last year was both the first time the Gators had topped 21 points against Alabama since 2008 and the first time that they’d come within 10 points of the Tide since then. Blowouts have actually been rather commonplace in this matchup: last year marked the first time the losing school had come within 10 points of the winner since a 40-39 Alabama win in Gainesville, a streak of 10 straight routs. How the Public is Betting the Alabama/Florida Game
The public believes in the offenses here, pushing the total up from 57.5 points to 58.5. The spread has remained unchanged, even as 65 percent of all tickets have come in on the Tide.
Alabama: Defensive back Josh Jobe (undisclosed), running back Camar Wheaton (undisclosed) and linebacker Will Anderson Jr. (knee) are questionable. Linebacker Christopher Allen (foot) and wide receiver Xavier Williams (undisclosed) are out for the season, and linebacker Quandarrius Robinson is suspended indefinitely.
Florida: Cornerback Jaydon Hill (knee) is out for the season.
When Alabama Has the Ball
Can anyone stop the Tide’s offense? Bryce Young looks like the next strong Alabama quarterback, as he tossed four touchdowns against Miami and made it clear that the Tide isn’t going to waste any time in getting back to its perch atop the mountain. If there is a question about Alabama, it’s how good the ground game is. Brian Robinson and Trey Sanders combined for 101 yards on the ground against Miami, but they needed 20 carries in which to do that. Alabama is all about the big play offense, but the Tide have to get a ground game to help balance things out in case they run into someone who can actually slow them down.
So far, Jameson Williams and John Metchie haven’t shown any signs of that, and Florida’s pass defense might struggle to keep up with them. The Gators gave up 188 passing yards to South Florida, and if the Bulls could move the ball that well, it’s difficult to see the Crimson Tide having problems.
When Florida Has the Ball
The good news is that Florida did anything it wanted on the ground against South Florida. The bad news is that Alabama plays defense a heck of a lot better than the Bulls do, so there’s not really anything that the Gators can take out of such an easy win. What they will need to do is figure out how to build on 666 yards of offense, a performance that could have been even better if the Gators hadn’t turned the ball over twice. And that’s the thing Florida has to worry about: Alabama isn’t going to let the Gators get away with leaving points on the field. Florida has to be thinking end zone on every drive, because last year showed they do not have the ability to slow down Alabama when the Tide are clicking. Emory Jones got the job done through tough runs against the South Florida defense, and the Gators have to be at their best on offense in order to have any real shot. If Florida gives Alabama a short field on a regular basis, it’s going to be tough for the Gators to keep pace.
More Picks: South Carolina at Georgia Pick ATS
Giving Nick Saban time to prepare for an opponent and giving him an opponent he’s familiar with facing are the two things that you don’t want to do if you plan on taking the opposing team. When Saban is facing a conference foe, he’s been pretty reliable, covering the spread in seven of his past eight SEC matchups. The Tider are also very used to having the target on their backs; they’ve covered in nine of their past 12 games as a favorite.
Florida, meanwhile, has just one cover in its past eight contests as well as a push. The Gators have struggled to get results when they’re the better team, but they have managed to do just enough as the underdog to come up with covers. In their past seven while getting points, the Gators have covered in five of them.
This could be a concern, depending on how storm systems in the area react on gameday. With temperatures at 85 degrees and wind only blowing at five miles per hour to the north, weather will only matter if thunderstorms in the area cause an issue.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
Alabama has tended to dominate this series, and Florida has yet to show anything that suggests that it can pick up where it left off a season ago. I trust Nick Saban in conference games and especially trust him against Florida, and I think the difference between the teams will be evident here.
Give me Alabama and the over.