SEC Championship Game: Georgia vs. Alabama

Georgia QB Stetson Bennett was intercepted three times in last year's 41-24 loss at Alabama.

Georgia Bulldogs vs. Alabama Crimson Tide

Line: Georgia -6.5

Total: 49.5

Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium

When: Saturday, 12/4 at 4:00 p.m. ET

TV: CBS

It has been well-documented in the lead up to Saturday afternoon’s SEC Championship, but Alabama has not been an underdog since 2015.

Barring significant injury news or suspensions, that is going to change when the No. 3 Crimson Tide face No. 1 Georgia in Atlanta. Georgia opened as a 4-point favorite and has been bet up to -6.5 as of Thursday night. Oddsmakers set the total at 53, but it has dropped to 49.5 after several days of betting action.

Alabama has not been an underdog of at least six points since 2008—Nick Saban has only been an underdog nine times during his time in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide have covered the spread in four of their last five games as underdogs, including a 38-10 win over Georgia as 1-point road underdogs in 2015.

Saban’s squad has won two of the last three SEC titles. They will need to add a third in four years if they want to make the College Football Playoff. Alabama kept its hopes alive by outlasting Auburn in a four-overtime Iron Bowl thriller last week.

Georgia has more wiggle room, which is one reason why it is a -220 favorite to win the national title this season. The Bulldogs blew through their schedule with a 12-0 record, covering the spread in eight of those games. Their only single-digit win came in Week 1 against then-No. 3 Clemson.

They did not give up more than 20 points in a game this season, allowing a season-high 17 points in a win at Tennessee in mid-November. Georgia’s defense leads the country, giving up just 6.9 points per game. Its offense has been nothing to scoff at either, ranked sixth in points per game (40.7).

Quarterback Stetson Bennett has completed 65.0 percent of his passes for 1,985 yards and 21 touchdowns this season. His top target has been tight end Brock Bowers, who has caught 37 passes for 652 yards and 10 touchdowns. Running backs Zamir White and James Cook lead a rushing attack that has averaged 5.4 yards per carry.

Georgia will be facing an Alabama defense that ranks No. 7, allowing 294.2 yards per game. The Crimson Tide are also No. 7 on the other side of the ball, where they are averaging 492.2 yards per contest.

Quarterback Bryce Young, who is currently priced at -200 to win the Heisman Trophy, has completed 68.9 percent of his passes for 3,901 yards and 40 touchdowns. He has only thrown four interceptions on 418 attempts. Wide receivers Jameson Williams and John Metchie III have both gone over 1,000 receiving yards this season.

Running back Brian Robinson Jr. leads the rushing attack with 1,016 yards and 14 touchdowns, averaging 4.9 yards per carry. He is ‘questionable’ for this game with a hamstring injury. Young was sacked seven times in last week’s win over Auburn, so the Alabama offensive line will need an improved effort against Georgia’s vaunted defensive line.

The Bulldogs have dropped their last six games against Alabama, including a 41-24 setback last October. Bennett was intercepted three times in that defeat in Tuscaloosa. UGA hasn’t tasted victory over the Tide since winning in overtime at Bryant-Denny Stadium in 2007.

These teams have played ‘over’ the total in eight of their last nine head-to-head meetings.

The pick: Alabama +6.5

While it’s tough to bet against this Georgia team, it’s even tougher to bet against Nick Saban. He has won six straight games against Kirby Smart, easily covering as a 6-point favorite last season. Alabama has not looked great over the last few weeks, which has led to the line value in Saturday afternoon’s game. I have more faith in the Crimson Tide than any other team in the country, particularly against a Georgia team that has not been able to break through in the big moment. It isn’t my favorite pick of the season, but I can’t fade Alabama as an underdog. This game should be a treat to watch.

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