Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#143 Alabama vs.
#144 Florida
Saturday, September 18, 2021 at 3:30pm EDT
Written by Adam Rauzino

The top matchup of the week features the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide bringing its show to Gainesville to battle the #11 Florida Gators in a thrilling SEC showdown on Saturday afternoon. The Crimson Tide are 2-0 after victories against Miami Florida and Mercer. The Gators have done as expected and walloped FAU and USF in their two bouts. Alabama topped Florida in a wild 52-46 shootout in last year’s SEC Championship game.

#1 Alabama Opens SEC Play

Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide enter this one as the #1 ranked team in the FBS. They clobbered Miami Florida 44-13 in the season opener and easily won last week’s clash by a 48-14 score against non-FBS opponent Mercer in a game that had Alabama favored by a whopping 55 points.

Well, it’s the Bryce Young show in Tuscaloosa. The five-star recruit has the task of filling the void of NFL first-round pick Mac Jones. The sophomore QB was brilliant against Miami Florida in week one, accumulating 400 passing yards and four TD’s followed by 227 yards last week. Alabama also lost 2020’s rushing leader Najee Harris and receiving leader DeVonta Smith. As usual, Alabama has the depth ready to step in. Brian Robinson Jr. has 130 rushing yards in two games. John Metchie III could be in for a 1000 yard season after collecting 916 yards in 2020. The junior has 146 yards this season.

The Crimson Tide defense returns plenty of starters from 2020 and the pass defense will be improved after ranking 76th against the pass last year. They stand 39th in pass defense through the first two games. Will Anderson is a key player who returns after making seven sacks in 2020. Anderson is questionable with a knee injury. Alabama was solid in their season opener, limiting Miami FL to only 256 total yards.

Alabama ranked 2nd in the FBS with 49.7 points in 2020 and accumulated have 92 this season. They held foes to 19.5 points last year, good for 20th, and have conceded 20 points through the first two bouts.

Gators Prepare for Biggest Challenge of Young Season

The Florida Gators have made it look easy and the real challenge begins this week. They topped Florida Atlantic 35-14 in the season opener in a game they did not cover and followed with a 42-20 road win at USF last week in a battle that had the Gators labeled as large 29 point favorites.

Florida has two capable QB’s in Emory Jones and Anthony Richardson. It’s been Jones receiving a majority of the action so far. The junior threw two interceptions in the season opener and tossed another two last week which is a concern. The good news is Emery is mobile and has accumulated 155 rushing yards. Richardson has 192 passing yards and both QB's will see action in this one.

Florida has several big threats at running back including Malik Davis who has 126 yards after recording 310 last year. Jacob Copeland brought in over 430 receiving yards last season. He already has 190 receiving yards and is in for a big season junior season. Florida will run more than pass.

The Gators defense was an issue last season, especially in the air with a pass defense that was tabled 100th in the country, however, they have experience. The Gators squandered 268 passing yards in the season opener and rebounded by holding USF to just 188 yards last week.

Florida averaged 41 points in 2020 and have scored 77 points through the first two clashes. They allowed an average of 28.6 points in 2020 and have conceded just 34 this season.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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Alabama has already played a ranked team against Miami Florida in their season opener and had no problems, earning a convincing 44-13 road win. I am not sold on Florida yet. QB Emory Jones has already tossed four interceptions in two games against FAU and USF. The Gators have also used QB Anthony Richardson however he lacks experience. Last year's game against Alabama was close because Florida had star QB, Kyle Trask.

Furthermore, the Gators' pass defense was an issue last season and they rank 81st against the pass through the first two games of this year. Crimson Tide QB Bryce Young is an elite talent and has connected on 70% of his pass attempts in both games. This includes over 400 yards against Miami Florida. The Gators will run more than pass due to their mobile QB’s however Alabama features a tremendous rush defense. They were one of the best in the FBS in 2020 and held Miami Florida to just 87 rushing yards in week one.

Prediction: Alabama Crimson Tide -14.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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This will one a shootout. These foes played to a high-scoring 52-46 decision in last year’s SEC title game. Alabama QB Bryce Young already has 571 passing yards in two games and they once again have an abundance of depth on the ground. Florida’s defense was an issue last season and they have not stood out in two games against inferior opponents. The over is also 5-0 in the Gators’ last five games against a team with a winning record.

In addition, while this matchup features different QB’s this season, Florida coach Dan Mullen likes the deep passes in addition to an offense that will feature more RPO’s this season. The over is a perfect 5-0 in the last five meetings between these rivals.

Prediction: Over 59.5

Full-Game Prop Bet

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The over on the Alabama team total is worth a look. QB Bryce Young is already considered a top prospect for the 2023 NFL draft. The Crimson Tide features a potent RB in Brian Robinson Jr. who should do damage after averaging 5.9 yards per carry in two games. Alabama also returns John Metchie III who tallied close to 1000 yards last season. This is a loaded offense that will shine.

Prediction: Alabama Team Total Over 37.5

Half-Time Side Pick

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I am going with Florida on the first-half line. This will be a tough atmosphere for Alabama in the early stages of this game at the Swamp. Florida has started strong this season. They went up 14-0 in week one and outscored USF 35-3 in the first half last week. The Gators were outscored 17-7 in the second half last week and I expect Alabama to take control in the final half.

Prediction: Florida +7.5
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Written By Adam Rauzino , "Adam Rauzino"

Adam has been a sports fanatic his entire life, closely following hockey, baseball, basketball, and football. He enjoys analyzing various stats, as well as studying Sabermetrics and analytics to take his picks to a whole new level. Adam has a passion for writing about various sports as well as personal finance and being an expert sports bettor. Prior to bringing his talents here to Winners and Whiners, Adam graduated with a diploma in business marketing and business finance. You would do yourself a huge favor by following Adam on a daily basis.