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Alabama vs. Florida College Football Pick with Betting Line Analysis

10/1/11

Monster match up between two SEC Giants Saturday Night it what is no doubt the college football game of the week as #12 Florida hosts #3 Alabama. Alabama is a -3.5 point road favorite. The betting line opened up Alabama -4.5 and bettors took advantage of the rare opportunity of getting Florida as a home dog, bringing the number down to where it currently sits.

It's not hard to put together an argument favoring the Gators here. From a betting standpoint, the game has everything you look for in a potential underdog upset pick. We have revenge working for us. We have two ranked teams, the home team Gators being lower ranked than the Tide, so the added motivation of moving up in the polls is with the Gators. We have a prime time National TV audience, and let's face it, anyone and everyone who has any interest in football in general, will be tuned in to this one and the Gators home crowd will be an advantage.

All of the above are solid handicapping angles with merit, and that's before we even dig into what matters most, the talent on the field. The state of Florida is a talent hot bed and the Gators are the top dog when it comes to recruiting that in state talent. They are going to be among the quickest, best athletes in all of college football year after year after year.

So far so good for the Gators in 2011, with a new coach in Will Muschamp and an all star offensive coordinator, Charlie Weis, with plenty of new schemes to learn. Luckily for the Gators, they've been able to do that against Florida Atlantic, UAB, Tennessee and Kentucky. QB John Brantley hasn't been great, but he hasn't had to be. The Florida running game behind Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey have dominated games.

Just as it's not too difficult to make a case for the Gators, it's equally as easy to make a case for Alabama. This team is loaded. Yes they lost a star QB and running back but Alabama is where new stars are made. So far AJ McCarron is holding his own at QB (15/20 vs. Arkansas) while Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy pound the ball behind that experienced offensive line.

Defensively the Tide brought back everyone from last year and faced the #1 offense in the SEC last week when they hosted Arkansas. The result? They held Arkansas to 17 yards rushing and kept constant pressure on QB Tyler Wilson, sending him to the bench in the 4th quarter.

It makes no difference if you're Kent State or Florida. Any team that brings in a new coaching staff and a new system to learn, will have growing pains. Those growing pains may not be evident against teams like UAB and Florida Atlantic, but they will likely be evident against Alabama. It's a big disadvantage in this game for Florida to be going up against a team in Alabama that is intact from the coaching staff on down to the waterboy. No growing pains for the Tide.

Florida QB John Brantley left last weeks game at Kentucky with sore ribs. Last year, when he faced Alabama, he was knocked all over the place and when all was said and done, after a 31-6 loss, Mr. Brantley had some bruised ribs and a sprained thumb. Brantley hasn't had to carry this team at all this year, but may very well have to this week if Bama bottles up the Florida running game. With Brantley already hurting, if by chance the Tide knocks him out of this game, it could get ugly because his back up, freshman Jeff Driskel, will get eaten alive.

All of the motivational edges and the home crowd can go a long ways towards evening the playing field Saturday Night, but we're going to go with what we feel is the better team, with a big coaching edge, and not just because it's Nick Saban but because it's Nick Saban with a veteran group going up against a Florida team that was 8-5 a year ago that should still be a work in progress under a new staff. Alabama -3.5

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