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SEC Football Championship Game
Florida vs Alabama
5* Key Release
We've been waiting for this game for 364 days. It was 364 days ago Saturday that undefeated Alabama at 12-0 played 11-1 Florida in the SEC title game with Florida winning the game 31-20 as 10 point favorites, which cost Alabama the chance to play for a National Title. Fast forward one year, and the circumstances surrounding this game could not possibly be any better. Both teams are undefeated at 12-0. They will be playing first, for the SEC Title, and 2nd, for a chance to play in the BCS Title game. Currently, leading sportsbook Bet Jamaica has Florida favored by -5.5 with a total of 41.
It's extremely rare in sports to get a 2nd chance of this magnitude. Last years loss by Alabama was devastating. Yet here they are, a year later, with a chance to make things right. A chance to accomplish what they failed to accomplish one year ago. There are many teams in all sports throughout history that would do anything for a 2nd chance like this. Few get the opportunity. Alabama needs to make the most of it. We think they will.
This years game breaks down much differently than last years. Yes, we bet Alabama a year ago. You can read our write up on that game here. We made the play on Alabama a year ago, despite the fact that the numbers we rely on the most, the numbers that we feel are most indicative of a teams true strength, revealed that the line on the game was actually dead on. You can go back and read that article for yourself, but we will revisit the breakdown briefly here.
A year ago, the yards per point numbers against common opponents suggested that Florida was 9.5 points better than Alabama. There was no question Florida was the better team. Florida's numbers were off the charts. 9.4 on offense and 24 on defense for a +14.5 overall. I've been looking at these types of numbers for 26 years folks. Trust me when I tell you those numbers were phenomenal. Alabama had decent numbers of 11.6 on offense and 16.8 on defense for a +5.2. Good numbers, not great.
The difference between the two teams numbers a year ago suggested that Florida was about 9.5 points better than Bama. Florida won by 11, so as you can see, the numbers were correct. From a strictly numerical standpoint, we should have stayed off the game. However, we felt we had some motivational edges that would make up for the talent difference. Alabama led 20-17 after 3 quarters, and trailed by just 4 with under 3 minutes to go before Florida scored the spread busting touchdown with 2:50 to play in the game.
But this years numbers tell a very different story. There were 7 common opponents this year with both teams obviously going 7-0 against those opponents. But unlike a year ago, where Florida had the better numbers across the board in every category, this years numbers are fairly even. They both averaged 400 total yards of offense. Florida averaged 31 points against these common opponents to Alabama's 29. They both held these teams to an average of 11 points per game. They both averaged 6 yards per play offensively and gave up 4 yards per play defensively.
When you look at the yards per point numbers against these 7 common opponents you see a much different story than a year ago. This year, it's Alabama with the edge. Florida has a 13 on offense and a 20 on defense. Alabama has a 14 on offense and a 25 on defense. So, +7 for Florida, +11 for Bama, edge to Bama by 4 points. Remember, last year these numbers favored Florida by 9.5 and the line was 10. This year, the numbers suggest Bama should be favored yet we're getting 5.5 to 6 points.
Bottom line here is the correct line on this game, meaning the true difference between these two teams from a numerical standpoint, would be anywhere from pickem to Alabama by a field goal. Yet this game opened Florida -4.5 and was bet up to -5.5 and -6. So the oddsmakers got it right from their perspective. They simply want to attempt to get equal action both ways (a rarity). Had they opened this game pick em, sportsbooks would have been overwhelmed with Florida money. So, the right line from their perspective. From our perspective as players though, the wrong line, and the perfect spot to step in and get some value.
We not only have the numbers working for us but we also have the motivational edges. Revenge can be huge in the right spot. This is the right spot. As mentioned at the start if this write up, it's rare to get a 2nd chance like this, yet here it is, on a silver platter for the Crimson Tide. For these kids, it's the opportunity of a lifetime. Expect them to leave it all on the field on Saturday afternoon.
From a betting perspective we'll sum it up like this for you. Wagering is a long term proposition. You expect to win every wager you make of course, but realize that if you're good, you'll end up hitting around 55-58% over the course of many years. In the past 26 years as a professional handicapper, a game with the same dynamics as this one has come up plenty of times. I've won roughly 56% of those. Slightly higher actually with numbers that are this favorable. Those percentages will likely hold up over the next 26 years. This is just one play in the big scheme of things. It may win, it may lose. But the fact remains, it's a damn good bet.
It's also important to point out that we are not making this play because we think Alabama can hang within the spread and cover. That's not the way to go about betting underdogs. The feeling here is that Alabama wins this game straight up. The points are a bonus. Having said that, you still want the best line you can get. As of this writing on Tuesday, there are a couple of +6's on the board with most books at 5.5. Monitor the lines using the Bettorsworld Free Live Odds feed and make sure you get the best possible number you can.
This play qualifies as are highest rated play of the year.
A 5* Key Release Alabama +6 or more over Florida.
Also note that there is value on the money line here as well at +210 or better. I can tell you with confidence that over the years, with numbers like we see in this game from Bama and Florida, in similar games, there is no way one team wins at a 2-1 clip over the long run. If you took +210 on every game with similar numbers over the last 20 years you would have been handsomely rewarded. Remember, long term profits. Not instant gratification. That's what separates winning bettors from losing ones.
Good Luck, Enjoy the game.
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