Twice in the past six seasons the teams have met in Atlanta for the conference title, and both times the Crimson Tide emerged triumphant. Georgia’s last loss before its current 29-game winning streak came in the SEC title game in 2021—41-24 to Alabama, which won outright as a 6.5-point underdog.
The two teams are set to clash again in Atlanta on Saturday, this time with Georgia as a 5-point favorite, according to most sportsbooks. Neither team looked dominant on the road this past week against undermanned rivals, with Alabama needing a miracle touchdown in the final seconds to beat 14.5-point underdog Auburn, and Georgia winning by eight over 23-point dog Georgia Tech. So what should sports bettors expect when they face one another?
The Crimson Tide proved more favorable to bettors over the course of the regular season, going 7-4 against the spread compared with 4-7 for the Bulldogs. Against ranked opponents, Alabama went 3-1 both against the spread and overall (with a lone outright loss at home to Texas), while Georgia went 3-1 against the spread and 4-0 overall. Georgia and Alabama rank second and third in the SEC, respectively, in both scoring offense and total defense. Everything between these two teams looks incredibly even—until you break down their common opponents.
That’s where differences begin to emerge. Kentucky: Georgia beat at home by 38, Alabama beat on the road by 28. Tennessee: Georgia beat on the road by 28, Alabama at home by 14. Mississippi: Georgia beat at home by 35, Alabama beat at home by 14. Auburn: Georgia beat on the road by seven, Alabama beat on the road by three. Even affording for some minimal home and road differences, Georgia prevailed each time by the larger margin. And it’s still tough to forget how Texas manhandled Alabama in the second half of that 10-point Longhorns victory in Tuscaloosa on Sept. 9.
No question, Alabama now is a better team than it was that night—particularly at quarterback, where Jalen Milroe has been afforded the freedom to make plays with both his arm and his feet. Indeed, Milroe made the remarkable fourth-and-goal throw from the Auburn 31 that beat the Tigers this past weekend. But before that, he also missed a shotgun snap and was flagged for an illegal forward pass. There is no Jekyll-and-Hyde nature to anything Georgia does, yet another factor for bettors to consider on Saturday.
Tigers Best to SEC Bettors
Georgia and Alabama may be the two best teams in the SEC, but LSU was the best team to sports bettors over the course of the regular season. The Tigers finished 8-3 against the spread (versus FBS competition) after closing out 11-point underdog Texas A&M by 12 this past Saturday in Death Valley. The Tigers also went over the total in 10 of their 11 games, their lone under coming against Georgia State and a season-high 71.5-point total two weeks ago.
Missouri finished 8-3 against the spread after covering five of their last six to close the regular season. Mizzou also went over the total seven times in 11 FBS games, including in back-to-back matchups to end the regular season. Arkansas, despite its overall struggles, managed to go over the total in each of its last four games and seven times overall, while Kentucky—which went under in all but one game last season—finished over the total seven times, with one push.
The worst SEC team against the spread in the regular season? Take a bow, Vanderbilt—the Commodores covered just twice in 11 FBS games. After that comes Mississippi State, which went 3-8 against the spread despite covering in each of their final two regular-season matchups. Georgia and Florida then check in with 4-7 ATS marks, with the Gators failing to cover four of their last five regular season games. And no surprise that the worst team against the over was offensively challenged Auburn, which fell under the total six times along with one push.
For many SEC teams, bowl games are next—and those bring a whole new set of concerns for sports bettors, given how many top players bound for the NFL now tend to opt out of postseason contests. But judging from the results of the regular season, betting on the SEC’s top two Tigers (LSU and Missouri) has proven the best play.
Player Prop Watch
Players to watch for potential prop bets in the SEC Championship Game, should they be made available:
SEC Pick 3, Championship Game Edition
Georgia -5 vs Alabama
While these teams appear closely-matched on paper, Georgia hasn’t been seriously threatened by anybody this season—while Alabama suffered one outright loss early, and needed a miracle to avoid a second defeat last week. The Bulldogs seem to find an extra gear for the games that matter most, allowing them to sleepwalk past lightly-regarded foes then smash nationally ranked ones. We’re betting on that trend to continue, and for Georgia’s sustained, predicable level of excellence to cover the moderate spread.
Georgia vs. Alabama, uNDER 56
These are both exceptional defensive teams, with Georgia allowing just over 15 points per game and Alabama just over 17. During the regular season, the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide each played six games in which the combined total fell under 56 points. Most of those exceptions were blowouts, which shouldn’t be the case here. Georgia and Alabama combined for 51 the last time they played, a 33-18 Bulldogs victory in the national title game ending the 2021 season.
Brock Bowers Anytime TD
From a player prop perspective, this feels like the best bet on the board. The emergence of Carson Beck at quarterback for Georgia has translated into regular scores for Bowers, who after being shut out the first three games of the season has found the end zone in the last five games he’s completed (not including Vanderbilt, where he went out early with a high ankle sprain). Georgia has a good-but-not-great group of receivers, making Bowers a top target each time Beck drops back to pass.