SEC Championship Expert Pick and Prediction – December 2, 2023
SEC CHAMPIONSHIP EXPERT PICK AND PREDICTION – DECEMBER 2, 2023 – Someday, there’s going to be a documentary on the 2023 Alabama football team as to how in the world Nick Saban managed to squeeze 11 wins out of this team.
The Tide looked dead for a half against Tennessee before turning things around. They would have lost to Texas A&M if Jimbo Fisher could make an adjustment. Alabama had absolutely no business beating Auburn. It looked barely good enough for the Sun Belt for three quarters in an ugly win over South Florida.
Somehow, they’re still here and still have a chance to go to the playoff. They’ll have to make a hell of an argument to get in over the Texas team that beat them, but the chance is on the table — if they can beat Georgia.
But it’s now been almost two calendar years since someone beat Georgia. The Bulldogs’ last loss came Dec. 4, 2021 to Alabama in the SEC title game, and since then, they’ve run through the nation and made it look easy. This Georgia team isn’t as good as last year’s team, but it’s parlayed a favorable schedule into another shot at the national title.
Time and again, the Dawgs have proven they rise to the occasion against the best teams. Georgia’s faced four ranked teams this season, and only Missouri was able to keep the final deficit within 28 points. They’ll have to come up big one more time to make the playoff.
(12-0 SU, 5-7 ATS)
(11-1 SU, 8-4 ATS)
When: Saturday, December 2nd at 4 p.m. EST
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta
Public Bets: 67% on Georgia
Public Money: 66% on Georgia
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of November 29th, 2023
Georgia vs. Alabama In-Season Trends
If you think defense when you think Alabama, you haven’t watched the Crimson Tide play since September. The Tide have gone 9-2-1 to the over and haven’t played under since beating Mississippi 24-10 on Sept. 23. Alabama’s been offensive-minded ever since, giving up at least 20 points to every FBS opponent it’s faced since Sept. 30.
Georgia’s defense has also been questionable for most of the season. Since Sept. 16, only Kentucky and Tennessee have failed to score at least 17 points against the Bulldogs. Georgia’s not quite as much of an over team as Alabama because people expect the Dawgs to both score and give up red zone opportunities, but the over still cashed five times against SEC opposition.
Brock Bowers represents a matchup nightmare for anyone, and Alabama knows that all too well. Two years ago in the SEC championship game, Bowers caught 10 balls and a score as one of the few bright spots on an otherwise forgettable day for the Dawgs. Bowers has only gotten better, and it’s even harder to slow him down now.
When Jermaine Burton touches the ball, good things usually follow for Alabama. Burton has caught seven touchdowns on just 33 receptions, and he’s averaging just over 22 yards per catch. If he can find space against the Georgia defense, the Tide can set up against the softer red zone defense of the Dawgs.
The weather won’t be an issue, with the roof of Mercedes-Benz Stadium able to close.
It’s hard to pick against either of these teams for different reasons. On one hand, Georgia has dominated for the past two years and plays its best football against the best teams on its schedule. On the other, Alabama keeps finding ways to hang around when it should have been dead and buried by now.
The Crimson Tide shouldn’t still be in the playoff race. But they’re here, and something says that this game will stay close. For me, the best bet on the board is the over, but Alabama catching almost a touchdown seems too many points.