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Florida vs. Alabama

Betting Line: Alabama -8 o/u 41


HC Urban Meyer knows this week means one thing. It’s time for his Florida Gators to do battle with the Alabama Crimson Tide yet again. The last meeting between these two came just a year ago in the SEC Title Game. Both teams were undefeated, but the Crimson Tide rolled on Tim Tebow and company by a score of 32-13. Alabama will host this Game. HC Nick Saban’s team narrowly escaped a tough Arkansas team last week. Things won’t get any easier against the Gators. Florida surely hasn’t forgotten the spanking Alabama delivered last year. They will seek revenge as 9 point underdogs.

The Florida Gators are 10-3-2 ATS in their last 15 Games on the road. This has been an extremely profitable angle. However, they are 0-3-2 in their last five road Games ATS, and just 1-5 ATS when playing Alabama. The Crimson Tide is 3-1 against the spread so far in 2010. It’s certainly been a long time since the Gators have been underdogs. Both teams have experieNCed drastic change since they last met so it’s tough to gauge how they will fare against one another.

Florida improved drastically in their last Game against Kentucky at the Swamp. They were lacking an offensive weapon prior to this Game, but it appears they have found one in freshman Trey Burton. The Venice, FL native broke Tim Tebow’s record for TDs in a Game by finding the end zone a whopping 6 times. He ran it in five times, and caught a TD pass. The freshman also completed a 42 yard pass. This is one of the best debuts we’ve seen from a college player since, well, Tim Tebow!

Can we expect him to be nearly as good? Don’t get your hopes up. However, he could be a catalyst to an offense that hasn’t blown any pundits away in 2010. QB John Brantley has been doing better with each Game, and RB Jeff Demps is lightning fast. Demps is slightly injured, but will play. It is uNClear to what extent the leg injury will affect his Game.

Alabama’s offense features an excellent QB in Greg McElroy. It took him a while to step up and play to his potential, but he reached that point in the late stages of 2009. He enters this Game after a poor showing against Arkansas, but he’s rebounded from bad Games in the past. RB Mark Ingram ran up the Razorbacks for 157 yards and 2 TDs last week. Backup Trent Richardson had 85 yards on 10 carries. It will be important to work him into the Game as Florida’s stout defense takes its toll on Ingram. 

The Crimson Tide dominated opposing teams in 2009 with high flying and nasty defense. They have been just as good in 2010 despite losing key starters. The secondary was able to get in Ryan Mallett’s head and pick him off 3 times last week. That’s incredible considering he is a Heisman candidate and widely considered to be one of the best QBs in the FBS. While the defense has been great at producing turnovers, they haven’t sacked the QB much. They have only 4 total sacks thus far in 2010.

The Gators defense has been dominant in 2010. They held Miami, OH to just 211 yards of total offense while intercepting the RedHawks QB 4 times. The offense was so abysmal in that Game that they may have been in jeopardy of losing if not for the defense. When the Gators played rival Tennessee they were able to sack the QB 6 times. This defense can stop the run, but they haven’t faced anything close to Trent Richardson and Mark Ingram this year. The Game could be in the hands of the defense.

The revenge angle is one of the most powerful in college football. You can’t use it blindly of course. No matter how badly a team like, say, Duke would like to avenge their loss to Alabama,  they have no shot. A team has to be capable of revenge. I think we all know, the Florida Gators are plenty capable. You’re getting an iNFLAted line due to the Gators slow start and apparent early season struggles. But heck, they are still 4-0 and no one has come within two touchdowns of them.

The Gators have literally been working on this Game, specifically, stopping the run, since they were hammered last year in the SEC Title Game for 251 yards on the ground. This quote sums it up. “It was a nasty taste last year with the loss,” defensive tackle Jaye Howard said. “And this offseason was dedicated to beating Alabama.”

This line opened Alabama -9 and is now -8. The move from 9 to 8 doesn’t bother us, but you want the +8, so don’t wait. Florida +8

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