NCAA Odds: Alabama at Florida a SEC Championship Game Preview
Saturday, October 01, 2011
by Bodog Sportsbook
It’s a very crucial SEC game tonight in Gainesville when No. 12 Florida Gators hosts No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide in a matchup of unbeatens and what could well be a preview of the SEC title game. The Tide have opened as 3-point favorites on Bodog Sportsbook’s NCAA football odds.
In a way, neither club can afford a loss because both have other powerhouses in their own division: South Carolina in Florida’s East and LSU in Alabama’s West.
The Gators (4-0) are doing it with defense under first-year head coach Will Muschamp. They are fourth in the nation in scoring defense at 9.0 ppg. Offensively, UF relies heavily on its run game. Last week in a 48-10 win over Kentucky, Jeff Demps finished with 10 carries for 157 yards and two touchdowns and Chris Rainey added 105 yards for the Gators, who finished with 405 yards rushing. Led by Rainey and Demps, Florida’s running backs have already run for 1,057 yards and averaged 6.91 per carry. The Gators have 36 rushes of 10-plus yards. QB John Brantley is simply asked to manage the game and he was 8 for 14 for 115 yards and one touchdown.
But when you talk defense, you have to talk Alabama. The Crimson Tide are No. 2 in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 8.0 ppg. And the Tide have played a much tougher schedule than Florida, having easily handled ranked teams Penn State and Arkansas. Last week the Razorbacks' high-octane attack was limited to just 226 total yards (17 rushing). Trent Richardson, a Florida native whom the Gators desperately wanted, rushed for 120 yards and caught a 61-yard touchdown pass for the Tide. Alabama QB AJ McCarron also came up big in his first SEC start. He completed 15 of 20 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns.
The Bama defense seemed to have figured out Florida’s offense under Urban Meyer in allowing 19 total points in winning the last two meetings. Last season, Alabama intercepted Brantley twice and held the Gators to 79 rushing yards in a 31-6 victory in Tuscaloosa. But now UF runs a pro-style offense under OC Charlie Weis.
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