Potentially two spots in the College Football Playoff are on the line for the SEC on Saturday when Alabama faces Georgia in an epic SEC Championship Game from Atlanta. We break it down with our Georgia-Alabama picks.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey can never take sides publicly when two of his conference’s teams are facing off, but I promise you that Sankey is rooting for No. 4 Alabama to upset No. 1 Georgia on Saturday in the SEC Championship Game, because if that happens the league will get both schools in the College Football Playoff. Of course, the SEC was the only school previously to have two representatives when Georgia and Alabama made it to the 2018 National Championship.
Alabama leads the all-time series with Georgia 41-25-4 and has won each of the last six meetings dating back to 2008. The teams didn’t play this season but did last year in Tuscaloosa, and the No. 2 Tide beat the No. 3 Bulldogs 41-24. This marks the third time the teams have met in the SEC Championship Game.
Here are my picks and predictions for the SEC Championship Game matchup between Georgia and Alabama (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).
Georgia vs. Alabama Game Info
Date/Time: Saturday, Dec. 4, 4 p.m. ET
Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
Georgia vs. Alabama Odds Analysis
Yes, that is a plus sign next to the 6.5 adjacent to Alabama. It’s the first time since Oct. 3, 2015, that the Tide are betting underdogs. It actually opened at +4, but I see no way it gets to 7 points with likely sharp money flowing in late on Nick Saban’s side. When the teams played last season, Alabama was a 6-point home favorite.
The total has dropped from an open of 51.5. Early consensus action is about 55% on the Over. The 2020 total was 56 points and the final sailed Over the number.
Georgia vs. Alabama Picks
Alabama +6.5 (-105) ★★★★
Under 49.5 (-115) ★★★
Georgia vs. Alabama Predictions
Alabama +6.5 (-105)
The last time Alabama was an underdog was more than six years ago at Georgia. The Tide were +1.5 but rolled to a 38-10 win. Bama’s 92-game streak as the betting favorite was the longest since the 1978 FBS/FCS split. The last time Saban’s team was at least a 6.5-point underdog was the 2008 SEC Championship Game against QB Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators, who won 31-20. Since that game, every FBS team except Alabama has been a 6-point underdog at least six times.
I guarantee you that Saban will play the underdog card to his players this week. He had been unbeaten all-time against his former assistants – like Georgia’s Kirby Smart – as head coaches, but Jimbo Fisher ended that streak earlier this year when Texas A&M upset Alabama. Smart is 0-3 in his career against Alabama.
As noted above, there’s no doubt that both of these schools are in the playoff if Alabama wins. It's hard to see a road for the Tide with a second loss, and schools like Cincinnati, Notre Dame and Oklahoma State/Baylor need to be rooting hard for Georgia. The Dawgs will obviously enter the playoff as the No. 1 seed if they win. The top seed failed to win the playoff the first five years but was victorious in each of the last two National Championship Games.
Another storyline for Saturday: the Heisman Trophy is now Alabama QB Bryce Young’s to lose with QB C.J. Stroud and Ohio State being upset by Michigan in Week 13. No Alabama QB has won the Heisman.
This is the first time since 1980 that the Bulldogs are 12-0, which was the last time UGA won a national championship behind a young running back named Herschel Walker. Smart’s team is 4-0 vs. ranked opponents this year, and Georgia won three of the four games by at least 17 points.
I just can’t bet against Saban getting all these points. Even though the game is in Atlanta, it won’t really be much of a home-field advantage for Georgia because Alabama fans travel extremely well. Take nothing from the Tide’s close call vs. Auburn last week, as it was a major trap game.
The underdog is 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings in this series. Alabama is 11-3 ATS in its last 14 games after an ATS loss. Back the Tide +6.5 with our Georgia-Alabama picks.
Under 49.5 (-115)
I can’t rule out the possibility that Young plays poorly enough to lose the Heisman Trophy because the Georgia defense is that good. Young attempted 226 passes without an interception before his third-quarter turnover at Auburn on Saturday.
Georgia leads the nation in scoring defense in allowing a scant 6.9 points per game. UGA opponents have scored a combined 83 points; the next-best in the FBS is 180 points allowed by Clemson. The defense has allowed an FBS-low nine touchdowns while the unit has scored three TDs. Truly a historically good unit.
However, the best defensive player on the field might be Alabama LB Will Anderson Jr., who was named co-SEC Defensive Player of the Week on Monday for a fifth time this season. The sophomore has 30.5 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks, both tops in the nation.
Alabama ranks third nationally against the rush (79.0 yards per game) and seventh in total defense (292.5 YPG). Since the upset loss to A&M, the Tide are allowing 17.8 points and 52.3 rushing yards per game. Auburn had just 159 total yards on Saturday yet still nearly won.
There is one key Alabama offensive injury: RB Brian Robinson Jr. The team’s leading rusher left the Auburn game after a 37-yard fourth-quarter carry due to a leg injury. The status of Robinson (1,016 yards, 14 TDs) for Saturday is unclear. Alabama already lost top backups Jase McClellan and Roydell Williams for the season due to leg injuries
The Under is 5-1 in Georgia’s last six SEC games, and it’s 4-1-1 in Alabama’s last six neutral-site matchups.
Georgia-Alabama picks made 11/29/2021 at 8:45 p.m. ET.