There have been a few big games in the young 2020 season, but none have come close to the magnitude of Saturday night’s Alabama-Georgia matchup.
Three of the last four games between the third-ranked Bulldogs and the second-ranked Crimson Tide have taken place in postseason play, and in this shortened season where each game is even more important, this weekend’s game has the feeling of a playoff game.
The Tide have won five straight against Georgia dating back to 2008 (the infamous blackout), and they are once again favored in the Week 7 Alabama vs Georgia odds.
News broke late Wednesday evening that Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban (along with AD Greg Byrne) had both tested positive for COVID-19. With Steve Sarkisian the man in charge should Saban not be able to coach the Tide on Saturday, the line has moved two points in favor of the Bulldogs, who are now just 4.5-point underdogs. However, the situation with Coach Saban could be changing.
#2 Alabama Crimson Tide vs #3 Georgia Bulldogs Odds
|Georgia Bulldogs||+4.5 (-114)||+164||O 56.5 (-108)|
|Alabama Crimson Tide||-4.5 (-106)||-205||U 56.5 (-112)|
Odds taken Oct. 14 at FanDuel
Line Has Stayed Put
This line opened at Alabama -6.5, and the movement had been minute prior to the Saban news. In a game this massive between two top five teams, there’s bound to be plenty of action on both sides, and that’s the case here.
Neither team has been completely dominant through their first three contests, which only makes Saturday night’s matchup all the more unpredictable.
Clash of Styles
If you happen to be new to college football, it’s tough to put into words just how surreal Alabama is going to look on Saturday night. This is an explosive, elite offensive team with a leaky defense, that will enter a huge game against a top five team who fields, at least apparently so, a much better defense. After a decade of defensive dominance under Nick Saban, the Tide will be in a situation they’ve never really experienced in that time.
Georgia’s defense is getting hyped as one of the best in the nation. They gave up 0 points in the second half against Tennessee as they pulled away to beat the Vols handily, and Auburn scored just 6 points in all four quarters the week before. They haven’t, however, played an offense with the firepower of Alabama.
The numbers for the Tide are staggering. Najee Harris already has ten touchdowns. Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith each have over 300 receiving yards, and John Metchie is just two yards short of sharing that distinction. Mac Jones is completing over 70% of his passes, and he’s thrown just one interception to eight touchdowns and over 1,000 yards.
When the Tide offense finally lines up against the Bulldog defense, the entire college football world will be tuned in to see maybe the two best units in the sport.
What’s the Best Bet?
There’s one fact that is tough to ignore in this game; Nick Saban doesn’t lose to former assistants. After defeating Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss last week, Saban has taken his record against former staff members to 20-0. Even more impressive is the score in those games.
Per Newsday, Saban has defeated former assistants by a combined score of 841-308, which works out to an average score of nearly 42-15 per game. It is a classic case of “I taught you everything you know, but not everything I know”. The master has yet to be bested by the student.
With the line under a touchdown, Alabama is the way to go here. This should be more competitive than that 42-15 average, but the edge still sits with Saban. The track record is too strong in favor of the Tide to go against them.
Additionally, there are questions about the Bulldog offense. Stetson Bennett has been good in dominant Bulldog wins so far, but if the Alabama game becomes a shootout, it’s tough to see him going toe-to-toe with this electric Tide offense.
Even with the Alabama defense being in a rut, this is the most talented unit Bennett will have seen. JT Daniels waits in the wings, but backing a team while expecting a mid-game quarterback change is not advisable.
The Pick: Alabama -6.5 (-114)
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Layne Gerbig is the lead basketball analyst and covers all sports at The University of Alabama on behalf of Tide Talk Sports. Follow him on Twitter @DeutscheBammer, and don’t forget to check back here for regular updates concerning YOUR Alabama Crimson Tide.