Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Florida Gators Total Pick

September 18, 3:30 PM EDT

Betting Odds

Point Spread: 
ALA -15.5/FLA +15.5

The first major SEC clash of the season will take place this Saturday in Week 3 when the No. 11 Florida Gators host the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide in the swamp at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. In their season opener, the Crimson Tide demolished no. 14 Miami with a 44-13 blowout despite returning just 11 starters on both sides of the ball from last year's National Championship campaign. Last week, the Crimson Tide seemingly scheduled a walk-through with Mercer in a 48-14 outcome that featured a lot of playing time by back-ups. Perhaps Saturday's collision with the 11th ranked Gators will provide Alabama their first true test of the season, but then again, oddsmakers opened the Crimson Tide as relatively large 15 point favorites and now as high -16 at some sportsbooks.

While Alabama appears unbeatable to the betting public, rest assured this will be a highly motivated battle on both sides of the football. The Gators completely destroyed South Florida last week before the Bulls managed a few scores in garbage time to make the score look respectable. The Gators led 35-3 at the half and definitely called off the dogs in the 2nd half for a 42-20 final score. It was the 2nd time in the opening two games, against inferior opponents, that the Gators seemingly let off the throttle at the half. Rest assured, Florida will be ready for a full 60-minute effort on Saturday against the nation's top team. While I understand the reasoning behind Alabama's position as a heavy favorite, I have to admit that Florida has all the tools to make this battle a downright dogfight.

The emergence of QB Anthony Richardson

Florida Head Coach Dan Mullen has been steadfast that QB Emory Jones is the team's starting quarterback. While Jones has the experience and likely knows how to run the offense correctly, freshman QB Anthony Richardson may be the best-kept secret in college football. Richardson is absolutely electric with the football in his hands. In last week's win over South Florida, Richardson threw three passes for three completions, equalling 152 yards with two touchdowns. Richardson also ran the ball four times for 115 yards and another touchdown. Richardson displayed the same highlight moments in the opener against Florida Atlanta converting just seven carries into 160 yards with a touchdown. Simply put, this quarterback is among the most exciting playmakers in the country. Even if Jones gets the start as expected, Richardson should and will get plenty of opportunities to make things happen, especially if the offense sputters against Alabama's stout defense.

Alabama vs Florida Betting Analysis

There is a chance that Florida's offense does not create the production needed to cover the spread. My fear is that Emory Jones will see too much playing time. In two games against inferior opponents, Jones has already tossed four interceptions and now gets his biggest challenge of the season. On offense, Alabama appears to be in mid-season form. QB Bryce Young is completing 70% of his passes with seven touchdowns and 0 picks on the season. As always, Alabama has a strong running game behind their incredibly talented offensive line. Running back Brian Robinson will get the bulk of the carries, and he is averaging nearly 6 yards per carry for his career.

Obviously, after losing Mac Jones, Najee Harris, DeVonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle, Alabama does not contain the elite firepower that we witnessed in 2020. The 2021 Crimson Tide offense is more methodical with less big-play ability. While Alabama still has national championship-caliber talent, I do believe the Gators have some extreme talent on the defensive side of the football that will match up relatively well. I could easily see Florida matching Alabama's defense success rate in this game. The question will be, can we rely on the Florida offense and the ongoing quarterback dilemma. The Gators are not going to make a ton of big plays without Richardson on the field, and that is why his playing time is the big x-factor in this game.

Tide vs. Gators Prediction 9/18/21

 I don't believe you are going to see a crazy scoring affair. I'm honestly expecting a low-scored game, especially during the 1st-half. As a result, I think there is solid value in the under 56 total!

Free Pick: 
Take the UNDER 57