College Football Odds, Picks for Florida vs. Alabama: Our Staff’s 8 Best Bets for Saturday’s Top-25 Matchup (Sept. 18)
Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images and Ronald Martinez/Getty Images. Pictured, from left: Alabama Crimson Tide running back Trey Sanders (6) and Florida Gators defensive back Trey Dean III (0).
Florida vs. Alabama Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Our Best Bets for No. 11 Florida vs. No. 1 Alabama
The set of college football team logos below reflects each of our college football staff’s best bets for Saturday’s top-25 SEC showdown between No. 11 Florida and No. 1 Alabama.
Click one of the bets in the “Pick” column below in order to navigate to that specific section in this article.
|Alabama 1H -7.5|
|Alabama Team Total over 36.5|
|1Q over 13|
|Jacob Copeland under 67.5 yds|
Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.
Photos via Getty Images.
The 3:30 p.m. ET SEC game on CBS with fans? Can’t wait. It’s been too long.
This will be Alabama’s first trip to the Swamp since 2011. These two teams actually met last year in an absolute shootout that Bama pulled out 52-46. However, both teams look completely different this year, especially on offense after a mass exodus of talent departed for the NFL.
Bryce Young now lives under center for the Tide, while the situation is a little more complex for Florida.
Veteran Emory Jones is the starter, but hasn’t been impressive through two games. However, Florida has another quarterback who’s been super impressive and a walking explosive play in highly-touted freshman Anthony Richardson.
You have to give credit to Dan Mullen, who has transitioned this Florida offense from a high-flying passing offense into a vaunted rushing attack. The defense also looks a lot more formidable albeit against inferior competition.
I wanted more than two touchdowns with the bone dog Gators and I got it. We’ll see how Bryce Young handles his first road test in a raucous environment at The Swamp. I’m sure Florida defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is going to bring all kinds of pressure early on. If he makes a mistake early on, he could unravel a bit.
Richardson is the wild card here. I’m sure we will see him used frequently by Mullen, who will pull out all of the stops for this one with creative run designs and likely a few trick plays.
I can’t wait for this one. And from a betting perspective, it’s simply a numbers play for me in a game I make closer to 11, so I’ll gladly take the 15+.
Pick: Florida +15 or better
Alabama looks to continue rolling as it heads into the swamp to face Florida.
The Florida defense was bad in 2020, allowing 30.8 points per game. It ranked 101st in PFF Tackling and ranked 120th in Rush Rate. It allowed 4.6 yards per rush last season and were sitting at 108th in defensive Rushing Success.
In the matchup last season, the Tide won 52-46 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score may have depicted. The Tide had a 2-to-3 score lead for most of the game, but Florida’s electric offense continued to hang in there.
Rest assured, this is a different Florida offense that doesn’t have the likes of Kyle Trask, Kyle Pitts, or Kadarius Toney, who are now playing on Sundays.
The Gators’ offense has a new quarterback at the helm in Emory Jones, who has been sloppy so far. In two starts, Jones has averaged just 5.4 yards per pass attempt while throwing two touchdowns to his four interceptions.
Anthony Richardson is the backup quarterback. He’s an electric playmaker and has stolen the spotlight in Gainesville. He should see a bigger workload in this game, but he’s an unproven passer who’s thrown only 11 passes so far this season.
The Gators’ offense has transitioned from the air-raid attack of last year to a ground-and-pound attack this year. They’re averaging over 380 rushing yards and 8.5 yards per rush in their two games, but that was against Florida Atlantic and South Florida. They won’t find that same success against the brick wall Alabama defense.
Bama is allowing just 2.3 yards per rushing attempt this season and has first-round talent all over the defensive front. The unit accounted for four sacks and seven tackles for loss against Miami, and will find similar success in this game.
Bryce Young was prolific against Miami throwing for over 350 yards and four touchdowns while averaging 9.1 yards per attempt. He’s going to showcase his talents again and prove why he’s emerged as the Heisman favorite.
Pick: Alabama -14.5 (up to -15)
I’m not a man of many regrets, but oh boy do I have a big regret two weeks into the season. I will never forgive myself for not taking Bryce Young to win the Heisman at the start of the season. Two games into the campaign, Young has thrown for 571 yards, seven touchdowns, no interceptions and a completion percentage above 70%.
This is his biggest game to date to show everyone why he deserves to win the Heisman. Traveling to Florida, the Tide roll into town as a -14.5 favorite. Alabama has been a scoring machine as of late, scoring 40+ in each of its games this season with no signs of slowing down.
Florida, on the other hand, has looked like an offensive shell of itself compared to last season. With players like Kyle Pitts and Kyle Trask leaving for the draft, you would expect the offense to take a hit. It hasn’t been smooth sailing so far, as quarterback Emory Jones has 264 yards passing, two touchdowns and four interceptions.
It’s safe to assume Alabama will put up its fair share of points to get our bet slips past the over. Florida generates no havoc and has a pedestrian Def. Finishing Drives. Alabama will move the ball with ease on this Gators’ defense, especially if they get past the 40.
What it comes down to is this: Can the Gators do their part and put up some points on this Bama defense? I think so. It’s always hard to judge a powerhouse team like Bama’s mindset against a small school, but Mercer did score two touchdowns on them.
I would feel more comfortable if the Gators promote backup quarterback Anthony Richardson to the starter role. He’s been electric so far, passing for 192 yards and rushing for an insane 275 yards. It’s never easy to game plan for someone who can attack you with both his arm and legs.
Let’s hope Dan Mullen pulls the trigger on Richardson early and he brings some life into this offense to get the points we need. If Florida comes out flat and Emory stays in the game, I may be looking for opportunities to buy the dip.
Pick: Over 56 (up to 59)
By Alex Hinton
The last six meetings between Alabama and Florida have averaged 60 PPG. Last year’s SEC Championship was an offensive explosion with 98 points between the two. While both teams have lost a lot of talent to the NFL, points should be aplenty once again.
Alabama has reloaded on offense, averaging 46 PPG. Quarterback Bryce Young has lived up to his billing as a five-star recruit, throwing for seven touchdowns and zero interceptions in the first two games.
Florida’s defense is solid, but it did give up 20 points to a South Florida team that looked completely hapless offensively against NC State. Young is the betting favorite to win the Heisman Trophy and with him at the controls, I would say Bama scoring 40 points is a safe bet.
The Gators have shifted to a run-heavy offense this season and have not identified its best quarterback yet (it’s Anthony Richardson, in case you were wondering), but they’re still averaging 38 PPG.
Normally, you would expect Alabama to shut down this kind of team, but the Crimson Tide have already lost starting outside linebacker Christopher Allen for the season. It may also be without its other starting outside linebacker, star Will Anderson Jr.
With Alabama a bit banged up on defense, Florida may be able to have a little more success on offense and help the over hit.
Pick: Over 59.5 (up to 60.5)
Yes, the Alabama offense is going through a ton of transition with a new quarterback, running back, wide receivers and offensive coordinator. For most programs, only returning 26% on offense from a TARP perspective would mean big-time regression. But for Alabama, it doesn’t matter because they will slot in four- and five-star recruits at every position.
Bryce Young looked fantastic in the opener against Miami, throwing for 9.1 yards per attempt and four touchdowns. In fact, his seven touchdowns through his first two games is the most in Alabama history for a quarterback in his first two career starts.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 11, 2021
He was a five-star recruit coming out of high school and has amazing dual threat ability that will give Florida a lot of problems.
While Alabama’s offense will not reach the heights that it did with Mac Jones, Devonta Smith, and Najee Harris, there won’t be a precipitous drop off either.
Plus, Florida has some problems on defense. The defensive line returns only one starter and the secondary lost three starters from a unit that honestly wasn’t that dominant last season. Florida allowed 5.8 yards per play and was 99th in offensive success rate allowed, so Alabama should be able to move the ball just as easily as it did against Miami.
Now, the question is can Florida’s offense keep up? Dan Mullen has stated that Emory Jones will be the starting quarterback vs. Alabama, but he struggled against South Florida last weekend throwing for only 151 yards on 22 attempts and two interceptions. Meanwhile, Anthony Richardson came in and lit up the Bulls for 267 total yards in the second half.
The problem for Jones is his receiving core is one of the worst in the SEC after all of Florida’s targets left for the NFL a season ago.
I have to tell myself sometimes not to overthink things. The Alabama offense is still elite and so is the defense, considering they return 76% from a TARP perspective after finishing inside the top 25 in offensive success rate allowed and havoc.
Alabama has been a covering machine in the first half over the past four years and I think that will continue on Saturday in Gainesville.
Pick: Alabama 1st Half -7.5 (up to -8.5)
This is purely a numbers play for me.
Alabama has scored 38 points or more in 19 of its last 21. It’s also on a perfect 8-0 run to the team total over as a double-digit favorite away from home dating back to last season, averaging — get this — 46.8(!) points per game over that span.
Florida’s defense is formidable, but it still only ranks 111th in havoc and middle of the pack in Finishing Drives. If you can’t get an offense led by the Heisman favorite off-script, Saban’s bound to make it 20 of the last 22 putting up at least 38.
The Tide haven’t skipped a beat so far, averaging 46 points per contest. It’s simply a cheap price, and one I’m content paying the price of admission for.
Pick: Alabama Team Total over 36.5 (up to 37.5)
By Doug Ziefel
We know that Nick Saban likes to pounce on teams early in games. Last season, the Tide outscored opponents 153-44 in the first quarter. They’ve picked up right where they left off as they put up 10 points against Miami and 14 vs. Mercer in the opening quarter.
The Gators might be the best dance partner for this early over as they’ve put up 14 points in the first quarter in both of their games so far this year.
Though Bama is arguably the best defense in the country, the Gators have an interesting weapon at their disposal in Anthony Richardson. Richardson hasn’t been anointed the starter yet, but he’s made a very strong case to take over for Emory Jones.
He’s been explosive on the ground, busting off long touchdown runs of 80 and 73 yards. He even got a chance to flash his arm against USF. He completed all three of his passes — two of them went for scores — and he racked up 152 yards.
On the other side, Alabama freshman Bryce Young has done nothing but impress. The highest recruit in the history of the program has completed 70 percent of his passes and holds a 7/0 touchdown to interception ratio.
These two talented quarterbacks should combine for some early fireworks and reach the end zone at least twice.
Pick: 1st Quarter Over 13 points (-120)
There aren’t many bigger fans of Jacob Copeland than the man writing this, but 67.5 seems optimistic against this secondary.
For one, Copeland has gone over this number only three times in his four-year career: once in 2019, once in 2020, and then last week against USF. There are also a lot of mouths to feed in this Florida passing game, with Copeland having just a 15% target share after two games. He’s tied for the team lead in targets with teammate Justin Shorter and his six receptions in two games are tied with Shorter and Dameon Pierce for the team lead.
His two games so far don’t point to someone who will consistently see a heavy workload every week.
Copeland has also been used as a deep threat for most of his career, as his average depth of target has led the Gators for two straight seasons, per PFF. That was put on display with his 175 yards on just five catches last week, but I’m not expecting many deep shots to be available against this Alabama pass rush.
There’s also the matter of the elite Alabama secondary, which includes one of the best cornerbacks in college football in Jose Jobe. I just think a lot of things need to go right for Copeland to exceed this number, so I see the under being the more likely path.