Veteran Handicapper Brian Edwards is taking the points when No. 1 Alabama and No. 15 Florida clash in the SEC championship game on Saturday afternoon at the Georgia Dome.
Edwards, a long-time VegasInsider.com handicapper with an emphasis on SEC football, will provide his thoughts and insights on the line moves throughout the 2016 season. He is a University of Florida graduate and a weekly radio guest in Las Vegas, Omaha and Memphis.
No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 15 Florida (Atlanta)
Kickoff: 4 p.m. ET, CBS
Friday Line: Alabama -24 (opened -22)
Over/Under: 41 (opened 40.5)
Public (ATS): 61 percent Gators
Edwards’ Analysis: “I made the line -21 and the total 42.5. This is the lowest total Alabama has seen this year. The under is 4-1 in ‘Bama’s last five games, and it has cashed in five straight for Florida. With that said, I’m staying away from the number, here. It is a tad low and I have little confidence in Florida’s offense. Honestly, I don’t know how they’re (Gators) are going to score. But I do think they’ll find a way to somehow get 10-17 points.
“Obviously, Florida is super beat-up and they have to win the turnover battle to stand a chance. Their path to victory: no turnovers, big plays on special teams — like (Antonio) Callaway made last year, (Eddy) Pineiro has to be perfect, and the defense stand tall. Not sure all this can come together, though.
“Defensively, Marcell Harris has been playing super good in place of Marcus Maye. The two freshman linebackers (David) Reese and (Kylan) Johnson are playing well, too. Jarrad Davis will return from injury (ankle) for the game. How much he can go, we’ll see. We didn’t think he could play against Georgia and he stole the show in that one. Nonetheless, even from a morale standpoint, it’s good for Florida to get him back. Overall, the front four has to make plays.
“The Gators have only been double-digit underdogs under (Jim) McElwain twice, going 2-0 against the spread with a outright win at LSU. As an underdog overall in his tenure, they are 3-4-1 against the spread, including two wins straight up.
“I think Alabama wins by 17 to 21 points. (Jalen) Hurts was throwing it to some white jerseys last weekend, so if Quincy Wilson or (Teez) Tabor can make a big play, setting the offense up with some good field position, it can be the difference. Pineiro can make anything inside 60 (yards) in the Dome tomorrow. I think they (Florida) find a way to get a few points, and I like them at +24.”
Pick: Florida +24