Alabama vs. Vanderbilt: 40.5-Point Spread is Largest in SEC Since 1996
Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Stop me if you've heard this before.
Alabama is listed as a 40-point favorite this weekend. However, the surprising part is that they aren't playing Louisiana Monroe or Utah State.
The Crimson Tide are facing an SEC opponent. It's not LSU or Georgia, but nonetheless, a 40-point spread in the best conference in the country is not something to ignore.
Dating back to the start of the SEC as we know it — back in 1991 when Arkansas and South Carolina joined the conference — only two teams have been listed as 40-point favorites in an SEC game prior to this week.
The last time we saw a 40-point favorite in SEC play was all the way back in 1996, when No. 1 ranked Florida Gators, led by Danny Wuerffel, Fred Taylor and Ike Hilliard, traveled to Vanderbilt to face the 2-6 Commodores.
Florida started slow and only led 7-3 after the first quarter and was up 21-3 at halftime. However, the Commodores scored 15 unanswered points in the middle of the second half, giving the Gators a scare before Florida escaped with a 28-21 victory.
Looking at the top six spreads in SEC history, four have been against Vanderbilt and Florida has been the favorite in three of them.
In total, SEC favorites of five touchdowns or more (35 points), are 20-0 straight up, but just 6-14 against the spread, including 3-8 ATS over the past 20 years.
Looking back in the Bet Labs database, which dates back to 2005, the largest in-conference point spread for any Power 5 game goes to Rutgers and Ohio State back in 2019. The Buckeyes opened as 51-point favorites and ended up closing -52 against the Scarlet Knights. Ohio State ended up winning the game, 56-21, though Rutgers covered the spread.