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2021 SEC Championship Betting -- Georgia Bulldogs vs Alabama Crimson Tide

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Sec Championship Alabama Crimson Tide Vs Georgia Bulldogs

Evaluating the SEC Championship Week Matchup: Georgia Bulldogs vs Alabama Crimson Tide

By Charles Jay

The Georgia Bulldogs have seemed very much like the immovable object this season, as they have rolled past all their opponents. But as those engaged in college football betting know, sometimes the unexpected happens on the biggest stages.

And BetOnline customers understand full well that the Alabama Crimson Tide provides the biggest stage more often than not.

So no one should get the impression that Georgia, the top team in the country in all the polls, will have a cakewalk as they meet up with Alabama for the SEC Championship, with the kickoff scheduled for 4 p.m. Eastern time at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

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College Football Betting -- How great has Georgia been?

There is no question that Alabama will be facing the most formidable defense in the country. The Bulldogs, at least statistically, have been utterly dominant in college football's pre-eminent conference. They are first in the nation in Total Defense, first in scoring defense, first in passing efficiency defense, third in rushing defense, and ahead of the rest of the pack in red-zone defense, where, on 45.5% of all occasions, their opponents have failed to score.

Only four opponents have been able to reach double digits, and no one has exceeded 17 points. George's closest call came in the season opener against Clemson, where they came away with a 10-3 victory in a defensive battle.

College Football Betting -- Don't forget about Stetson

No, we are not talking about the university in Florida. We are talking about Georgia's quarterback, Stetson Bennett, who took over the job from JT Daniels, who was hailed as a Heisman candidate early but didn't really fit into that role. Bennett has been called a "game manager" by some, but he has, in fact, averaged 10.8 yards per attempt, and has kept his mistakes to a minimum, throwing just five interceptions. He is not as spectacular as his counterpart, Bryce Young, but Georgia does not suffer all that much on the scoreboard, as they've averaged 40.7 points per game.

College Football Betting -- Here are the numbers....

In the Championship Week odds at BetOnline, the Bulldogs are laying some points:

Georgia Bulldogs -6.5
Alabama Crimson Tide +6.5

Over 49 Points -110
Under 49 Points -110

College Football Betting -- Don't discount Alabama's defense

Nick Saban's team has obviously sent a lot of standout offensive  performers to the NFL. And you are seeing a couple of them play key roles in the AFC East, namely Mac Jones and Jaylen Waddle. But as they are perceived to be in the shadow of Georgia's stop unit, let's not forget that Alabama can play some defense too. In fact, they have the second-best sack rate in the country, as well as the eighth-best stuff rate from the defensive line. Like Georgia, they've allowed 2.5 yards per rushing attempt, and rank fourth in the nation in rushing defense.

If there is an area they are vulnerable, it's in the secondary, and so this might provide a test for how good Stetson is at going down field. That especially applies on third downs, where Alabama has allowed the opposition only 32.4% conversions.

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College Football Betting -- The Tide is the biggest test for the Bulldog "D"

Alabama ranks seventh in the nation in total offense at 492 yards per game. They have converted 54% on third down, which is second best in the country. And they have the Heisman Trophy favorite at the controls.

Bryce Young is priced at - 215 at BetOnline to win college football's most coveted award. He took over that position when CJ Stroud and Ohio State had a bit of a meltdown against Michigan. But Young has earned his place; he has completed 69% of his passes with 40 touchdowns, and he's thrown only four interceptions in 419 attempts. As usual, Bama is loaded with weapons, and there is no question about the fact but as far as firepower is concerned, they are the best Georgia has faced.

College Football Betting -- Our conclusion

The thinking here is that Georgia's pass rush is going to be a factor here, and on an overall basis their defensive line might be able to extract an advantage over that of Alabama. Georgia also does not beat itself a whole lot with penalties, as they are eighth best in the country in that category, while Alabama is down toward the lower reaches of NCAA schools (114th).

If you look at the performance over the course of the season, Alabama has had pretty close calls against Florida, LSU and Arkansas, not to mention the quadruple overtime victory over Auburn in the Iron Bowl, which they were probably lucky to get. And of course, there was the defeat suffered at the hands of Texas A&M.

Still, there is no reason they shouldn't be able to hang in there in this one. The principal way Georgia would be able to put up a huge number on offense is by dominating field position. And we don't see any reason for the Crimson Tide to be stopped cold in their effort to move the chains. Don't forget that there is a real chance for Alabama to extract an edge with its return units.

And if this counts for anything, Nick Saban's loss to A&M's Jimbo Fisher this season was the first time in 25 instances where he dropped a decision to  a former assistant (which Georgia's Kirby Smart is). They will take Georgia to places they haven't been yet, and although they may not win, they have enough equipment to make this one very close. So we are taking the points.

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Posted : 04/12/2021 2:53 pm

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