Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (9) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
- #1 Alabama is a 15.5-point road favorite over #11 Florida on Saturday (September 18th, 3:30 pm ET) at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville, Florida
- The Crimson Tide have cruised to two 30+ point victories so far, while the Gators have posted back-to-back 20+ point wins to open the season
- Read below for odds, analysis and a betting prediction
SEC juggernauts clash in Week 3 of the College Football season, as #1 Alabama visits #11 Florida. The matchup is the only one the Week 3 slate that pits two top-15 programs against each other, and it promises to be a compelling affair.
The Crimson Tide and Gators rank first and second in the SEC in points for, and each enter this contest fresh off back-to-back blowout victories.
#1 Alabama vs #11 Florida Odds
|Alabama Crimson Tide||-720||-15.5 (-110)||O 58.5 (-110)|
|Florida Gators||+500||+15.5 (-110)||U 58.5 (-110)|
Odds as of Sept. 14th at DraftKings
Alabama however, is getting all the respect from both bettors and bookmakers. The Crimson Tide are 15.5-point favorites, in a game that features a total of 58.5. The betting action has been completely one-sided, as 77% of the spread bets are on Bama, while 88% of the total tickets are on the under.
Game time is scheduled for 3:30 pm ET on Saturday (September 18) at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville, Florida. CBS has the TV coverage, and the forecast is calling for rain and 83 degree temperatures.
Alabama scheduled two of its three hardest games for the first three weeks of the season. They put the entire college football world on notice with a 44-13 win over #14 Miami in Week 1, and last week smashed Mercer by 34 points, despite looking sloppy at times.
— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) September 11, 2021
No one can blame the Tide for looking ahead to Florida, but even with a C- effort, they still racked up 48 points and held the Bears to 216 total yards.
Sophomore QB Bryce Young has exceeded expectations so far, completing 70% of his passes for 571 yards and 7 TD. The number one quarterback recruit in 2020 has yet to commit a turnover, and is averaging 8.8 yards per attempt.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 11, 2021
He’ll face his stiffest challenge to date in Gainsville, as the Gators defense is no joke. They’ve already racked up seven sacks and 13 tackles for loss through two weeks, while 31 of the 34 points they’ve surrendered have come in garbage time.
Florida In Fine Form
Florida has been equally as impressive on offense, racking up 77 points thus far, although they’ve taken an unconventional route to do so. They’ve waxed South Florida and Florida Atlantic in consecutive weeks, but are still in the midst of a QB battle. Both Emroy Jones and Anthony Richardson are sharing snaps, but their statistics suggest that won’t last much longer.
Anthony Richardson is insane pic.twitter.com/yddZYOsDdv
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 11, 2021
For now, Jones is the starter despite being out played by Richardson. The Gators back-up has matched Jones in passing touchdowns (2 a piece, albeit on 38 fewer attempts) and has yet to turn the ball over, while his teammate has thrown four picks.
On the ground meanwhile, Richardson has been a force. He’s rushed for 275 yards on 11 carries, hitting paydirt twice.
Anthony Richardson stats the last two weeks:
Passing: 6-for-11 for 192 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs
Rushing: 11 carries for 275 yards, 2 TDs
— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) September 11, 2021
The sense is Richardson will eventually take over the starting role permanently, but Dan Mullen has already committed to starting Jones this week.
Whoever is under center will face arguably the best defense in college football. The Crimson Tide have already forced five turnovers, while racking up seven sacks. They’re limiting enemy rushers to 2.0 yards per carry, and opposing quarterbacks to 173 yards per game.
Alabama vs Florida Pick
There’s questions for both programs heading into this massive contest. How will Young fare in his first career road start? Can he handle the pressure of playing in front of 90,000 screaming Gator fans?
On the opposing sidelines, how long will it take before Richardson is a full-time player? Can Jones avoid a costly turnover?
Ranked matchups in Week 3 😤
#1 Alabama at #11 Florida
#22 Auburn at #10 Penn State
#19 Arizona State at #22 BYU pic.twitter.com/eMc58DgwnD
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 12, 2021
The Florida QB situation in particular brings the under into consideration, especially in the first half. We want to be fading the Gators when Jones is in the game, and it stands to reason he’ll play the bulk of the first half snaps as the starter.
Rotating him and Richardson clearly reduces the Gators’ offensive ceiling, but no matters who’s taking snaps, points should be tough to come by against this stout Bama defense.
Pick: First Half Under 30.5 (-115)
Chris began his career at Hockey Night in Canada over 15 years ago. He has since worked at TSN for over 12 years as a writer, line-up producer, field producer, newsroom supervisor for Sportscentre, and presently as a promotions producer.