SEC Championship Pick – Florida vs. Alabama – 12/19/20

sec championship pick alabama vs. florida
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The importance of the SEC Championship Game took a bit of a hit last weekend after Florida fell to LSU, likely dashing its College Football Playoff hopes.

Now, Alabama is simply playing for an undefeated season and will probably be in the CFP even with a loss. The Crimson Tide opened as -17 point favorites with an over/under of 74 for the game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Were Gators Looking Ahead?

Florida may have looked ahead last week when it lost as a 23-point favorite, but its defense has struggled all season, so that definitely played a part.

The main reason the Gators will have trouble winning this matchup is because of their defense, which is allowing 26.3 points per game and has given up loads of points to any above average offense. They have two losses because they gave up 41 points to Texas A&M and then 37 to LSU last week. 

That’s where Alabama enters the picture, scoring 49.5 points per game, hitting at least 41 points in each of its last nine games. Quarterback Mac Jones remains in the Heisman picture completing 76.4% of his passes on 11.7 yards per attempt for 27 touchdowns and three interceptions.

Mac Jones Leads the Tide

He’s kept the offense humming and should find more success against this defense. DeVonta Smith has been mostly unguardable with 83 catches for 1,327 yards and 15 touchdowns, while John Metchie and Miller Forristall help when needed.

Running back Najee Harris does the rest, averaging 5.9 yards per carry for 1,084 yards and 22 touchdowns.

Alabama can beat you in a lot of ways and it’s hard to see Florida’s defense limiting them to less than 40 points. The Tide should have no trouble moving the ball against a group that couldn’t figure out how to contain what had been a struggling LSU offense.

The other side of the ball is the only way Florida can cover and win this matchup. Kyle Trask’s Heisman run took a bit of a hit after a couple interceptions last game, but his numbers are still better than Jones’s, completing 70.2% of his passes on 10.1 yards per attempt for 40 touchdowns and five interceptions.

While he threw for 474 yards last week, he wasn’t as efficient as the rest of the season, tossing two interceptions in the loss. Similar to Jones, he has numerous options to throw to with Kadarius Toney, Kyle Pitts and Trevon Grimes combining for 28 touchdowns.

Gators Lack Running Game

The rushing attack has been the offensive weakness for the Gators, as their leading running back has 29 yards the last two games. Dameon Pierce and Malik Davis are both averaging nearly 5.0 yards per carry, but they’ve struggled against better competition.

Alabama can be beat on the defensive side, though its numbers are still dominant, allowing 340 yards and 16.8 points per game. Of course, a lot of their struggles came earlier in the season, as they’re allowing 7.2 points over the last five games. But again, they haven’t really faced an offense like Florida’s in a couple months. 

While Alabama has the edge, anything can happen when points are expected. Both teams should score and the cover will likely come down to what Alabama’s defense can do against Trask. If the Gators struggle to hit 30 points, it could be an easy win and cover for the Tide.

Our Pick

We give Florida a punchers chance to cover based simply on the fact that they can score points. No one has been able to slow Alabama down all year and the Gators have done nothing to suggest they’ll be the ones.

That said, when we run the model using data from the last 7 games only, it suggests there may be some wiggle room with the total. Specifically, UNDER the high total of 74.5.

Alabama/Florida UNDER 74.5