Alabama vs. Florida: NCAAF Week 3 betting odds, preview, and pick
For just the second time under head coach Nick Saban, the No. 1-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide will visit the No. 11 Florida Gators inside "The Swamp," on Saturday, at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Sat, September 18 2021, 7:30 PM
The Crimson Tide and Gators have met nine times since Saban became Bama’s coach in 2007, but the majority of those matchups were played on a neutral site, in Atlanta, for the SEC Championship Game.
Most recently, the Tide defeated Florida, 52-46, in the conference title game last December, but both teams were led by drastically different offenses.
Tide quarterback Mac Jones, running back Najee Harris, and receivers DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle all heard their names called in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, while Florida tight end Kyle Pitts was drafted fourth overall, receiver Kadarius Toney was selected 20th, and Gators signal caller Kyle Trask went in the second round.
Heisman frontrunner Bryce Young off to swift start
Jones’ replacement, Bryce Young, has catapulted to the front of the Heisman Trophy race after two games as Alabama’s starter.
Bryce Young is the first player in Alabama history with 7 pass TD in his first 2 career starts.— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) September 11, 2021
The former 5-star recruit, and highest-rated quarterback prospect signed by Saban, became the first Alabama QB to throw four touchdown passes in his starting debut. That came in Week 1 against then-No. 14 Miami, who got destroyed by the Tide, 44-13.
In Week 2 against FCS opponent Mercer, Alabama got off to a slow start and punted on its first two drives, before Young found his rhythm. Across two games, he has completed 71% of his passes for 571 yards and seven scores, and has yet to toss an interception.
For all that has gone well for Young, the Tide still have some issues to address ahead of Saturday's contest.
The team was called for nine penalties for a loss of 95 yards against Mercer, and committed eight against Miami.
Another concern for the Tide is the loss of linebacker Christopher Allen, who endured a potentially season-ending foot injury in Week 1. Pass rusher Will Anderson Jr. is also questionable with a knee issue.
Florida’s rushing attack poses threat
The injuries to Alabama’s defense could open the door for Florida to continue its dominance in the run game.
The Gators currently rank first in the FBS in rushing yards per contest (381.5), and are led by two dual-threat quarterbacks who both rank in the top 10 in rushing yards in the SEC.
Redshirt junior Emory Jones has been the starter the past two games, but freshman Anthony Richardson has stolen the spotlight.
The underclassman ran for 160 yards and a score in Florida’s 35-14 win over FAU, and added 115 yards on four carries in a 42-20 victory against USF.
Jones has totaled 155 rushing yards through two games and has done the brunt of the work in the passing game. He has thrown for the same number of touchdown passes as Richardson, but has been picked off four times through two games.
Richardson hasn’t recorded an interception, and against USF, he completed all three of his passing attempts for 152 yards and two scores.
Nonetheless, head coach Dan Mullen has insisted Jones will remain the starter. Richardson pulled his hamstring on an 80-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter last week, which could spell even more playing time for the junior.
Alabama vs. Florida Injury Report
|Alabama Crimson Tide||Florida Gators|
DB Josh Jobe: Questionable (undisclosed)
QB Anthony Richardson: Probable (hamstring)
RB Camar Wheaton: Questionable (undisclosed)
LB Ventrell Miller: Out (bicep)
LB Will Anderson Jr.: Questionable (knee)
CB Jaydon Hill: Out (knee)
LB Christopher Allen: Out (foot)
LB Quandarrius Robinson: Out (suspension)
Alabama and Florida betting trends
- Dan Mullen is 0-10 in his career against Nick Saban
- Alabama is 7-1 ATS in its last eight conference games
- Florida is 1-6-1 ATS in its last eight games overall
- The Over is 4-1 in Florida's last five games as an underdog
- Alabama is 5-2 ATS in its last seven games against Florida
- The Over is 5-0 in the last five meetings
Turnover issues will cost Florida
Alabama’s defense features seven starters from last year’s national championship roster and will come in ready to feast on a Florida passing attack still finding its footing.
Against Miami, the Tide forced star quarterback D’Eriq King into three turnovers, sacked him four times, and held the Hurricanes’ rushing attack to 2.8 yards per carry.
Jones has struggled against far weaker defenses. On four consecutive drives against USF, he chucked up two interceptions and twice turned the ball over on downs.
Rotating Richardson in at quarterback will keep Alabama on its toes, but not enough to pull off an upset in front of a rowdy Gainesville crowd.
The last time Florida hosted Alabama, the No. 3 ranked Tide rolled to a 38-10 win over No. 12 Florida in October 2011.
History will repeat itself again on Saturday.
Score prediction: Alabama 37, Florida 21