No. 3 Alabama meets No. 1 Georgia in the SEC championship game on Saturday.
Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The game will be televised on CBS.
Georgia (12-0) is trying to become the fourth consecutive SEC team to complete a perfect regular season. The Bulldogs have been dominant on both sides of the ball with an offense that averages 40.7 ppg. and a defense that surrenders 6.9 ppg. Georgia appears locked in to a second College Football Playoff berth under Kirby Smart.
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Alabama (11-1) is trying to win the SEC championship for the eighth time under Nick Saban, and will look to avoid a second loss that would likely knock it out of CFP contention. Quarterback Bryce Young has the opportunity to make a Heisman statement against the best defense in the FBS, and the Crimson Tide have won their last seven appearances in the SEC title game.
This game will have a national championship feel to it, because the winner will be favored to do just that. With that in mind, here is everything you need to know to bet on the matchup between the Crimson Tide and Bulldogs.
Alabama vs. Georgia odds
Three trends to know
— Alabama has won six straight meetings against Georgia, a streak that dates back to 2008. Five of those six matchups were top-10 showdowns.
— The Crimson Tide is an underdog for the first time since Oct. 31, 2015, an incredible streak of 92 games. The last time Alabama was an underdog was against Georgia, and the Crimson Tide won 38-10.
— The Bulldogs are 8-4 ATS this year, and they are 4-0 ATS when the line is below 20 points this season.
Three things to watch
— Bryce Young. Georgia’s pass defense allows just 4.9 yards per attempt, but they haven’t seen a quarterback like this in 2021. Young averages 9.3 yards per attempt, and he’s been brilliant with a dynamic tandem of receivers in Jameson Williams (1,261 yards, 13 TDs) and John Metchie III (1,045 yards, 7 TDs). They will test a Georgia secondary led by Clemson transfer Derion Kendrick and safety Lewis Cine.
— Georgia’s running game. Stetson Bennett has been productive in Georgia’s offense, but he’s had the help of a balanced rushing attack led by Zamir White (691 yards, 10 TDs) and James Cook (581 yards, 7 TDs). The tandem isn’t flashy, but they average 5.8 yards per carry combined and are part of a grind-it-out philosophy that will test Alabama’s run defense.
— Defensive studs. While this is seen as a chance for Young to make a Heisman statement, it could be a last-ditch campaign for Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr., who has 14.5 sacks and 30.5 tackles for loss. On the other side, Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis, a 330-pound force, has been the heart of the Bulldogs’ defense. He may have his way against an Alabama offensive line that is not up to the usual Tide standard. There is a lot of NFL talent on both sides, especially on defense.
Stat that matters
Bennett averages 10.9 yards per pass attempt, which ranks second in the FBS. That running support allows for down-field passing to tight end Brock Bowers (652 yards, 10 TDs), Ladd McConkey (395 yards, 4 TDs) and Jermaine Burton (376 yards, 4 TDs). All three top targets average more than 15 yards per catch, and if that happens against Alabama, then the Crimson Tide is in trouble. Alabama did allow 20 passing TDs this season.
Alabama vs. Georgia prediction
There is psychology at work here. Georgia has not beat Alabama on this stage with Smart, and if Alabama jumps out to a first-quarter lead with its big-play offense then it could get real. Georgia, however, will stick with its game plan. Bennett threw three picks in last year’s loss, but he learns from those mistakes and relies on that ground game. Georgia hangs on in the fourth quarter this time despite a last-ditch rally from Young. If Alabama has the ball last and Georgia needs a stop to win, then who do you choose? We’ll find out Saturday.
Final score: Georgia 27, Alabama 22
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