Alabama - Georgia College Football Pick: Tide to Cover as Road Dogs?

Willie Bee

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 11:39 AM GMT

Think of it as a pre-playoff game when Georgia hosts Alabama this weekend in Athens, and we think we have a college football betting angle on the sparsely-played SEC rivalry.

The College Football Playoffs are officially a 2-round bracket and don't begin until New Year's Day 2016. Don't tell that to the Alabama Crimson Tide or Georgia Bulldogs though, because the playoffs really begin for both teams this weekend in Athens.

It's the first regular season meeting between them since 2008, and is getting the marquee on CBS's television schedule with a 3:30 PM (ET) kickoff at Sanford Stadium. BetOnline sent the contest out as a pick, but early action on Georgia set the Bulldogs at -2½. The total went out at 52 on the College Football Odds, since climbing to 55.

A win for either team won't ensure an invite to the CFP party, but a loss is going to hurt both teams' chances and the outcome will at least impact the SEC race heavily. A loss would all but cripple Alabama's chances and start the Crimson Tide  0-2 in conference play. The last time that happened, Papa Bush was in the White House and the Tide began 1990 with 3-straight losses to Southern Miss, Florida and, you guessed it, Georgia. A 'Bama win definitely puts the Crimson Tide right back in the conference and national hunt. A loss by Georgia also gives the keys to the SEC East to Florida, the Gators hosting Ole Miss in a battle of undefeated teams this Saturday.

 

'Over' A Deceptive Winner In This Rivalry
It's not often we get to see these teams on the regular season college football betting fixture, late-September 2008 the last time it happened. Alabama (3-1 straight up, 1-3 against the spread) covered the -6½ on this field with a 41-30 victory, the only time in the last five meetings that Bulldog backers didn't cash their tickets.

You only have to go back 34 months to the most recent meeting, but even that one won't hold much water with the current personnel on both sides of the ball. It was the 2012 SEC Championship game down the road in Atlanta where Nick Saban's kids rallied in the final quarter then held off a fast and furious finish for a 32-28 triumph. Georgia (4-0 SU, 2-2 ATS) got the consolation prize of covering the 9 point spread, and it was the fourth of five consecutive 'overs' in the series.

 

Kiffin Rumors Sure To Be Played up This Week
A late-Monday morning trip to a local pub in town had me hearing for the first time about this Lane Kiffin/Saban's wife blowup that's apparently going on. I'm guessing Saban's the kind of guy who could have you killed for sleeping with his wife.  He's also the kind of guy who is very happy with the effort his defense gave him in a 34-0 whitewashing of Louisiana Monroe last week, so maybe he lets Kiffin -- and his wife -- slide this week.

As long as his offense does a better job this week, that is. It has been an adventure at quarterback for Saban and Kiffin this year, and probably an adventure for Saban's wife, but let's not go there again. Fifth-year senior Jake Coker, a transfer from Florida State, Jake Coker was given an easy game plan against the Warhawks last week; he'll have to do a better overall job of game management this time under pressure from a Georgia defense that is limiting opponents to 13.5 PPG and ranked 14th in the country in total defense.

I've got to eat a little early crow here after thinking the Bulldogs were going to give up their SEC East dominance this year. In fact, it looks like might also be wrong about Alabama in the West, but that remains to be seen. The Bulldogs are off to a 4-0 start overall, and vanquished Vanderbilt in their first conference game. Alabama is going to be huge step up in competition -- massive speed and coaching -- for Mark Richt, his staff and his team.

We've got rain in the forecast, a 60% chance of at least light showers that could leave the Sanford Stadium turf slick. I just can't see the Tide starting 0-2 in SEC play and will gladly take them and the points for my free college football pick.

Free College Football Pick: Alabama +2½ @ BetOnline

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