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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing

BAMA ROLLS TO SEC TITLE

By Marc Lawrence, Playbooksports.com — Alabama over Georgia by 3 — With No. 1 Georgia finishing the regular season 12-0 – and with Cincinnati and Michigan trying to muscle their way past Alabama in the CFB Playoff rankings – this is easily the most anticipated matchup of the 2021 season. It’s also the perfect spot for us to catch up with Jaybird The Bulldog, our SEC scout, who recently completed a whirlwind tour of his favorite sports books, and decided to make his home at El Cortez Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. When quizzed about this blockbuster showdown, he was hesitant to make a call. “Look,” he said, “Georgia has a very, very good team. But they’ll never be a GREAT team until they beat Alabama.” So, while the media is fixated on the Tide’s recent struggles, or head coach Nick Saban’s latest rant against “entitled” fans who expected too much from this year’s team, the SEC scout is reminding us not to overlook Alabama for one second. The Tide’s only loss this season was by 3 points at Texas A&M in a game where Bama buried the Aggie in the stats, 522-379. And last week’s epic 4OT comeback win over Auburn was one for the ages: Alabama trailed by 7 points late in the game, then went on a 97-yard drive to tie the game. This afternoon’s indoor slugfest marks the first time Bama is taking points since they were a 1-point dog at Georgia in 2015 (158 games ago), a game in which they beat the Dawgs, 38-10. But while we’ve come to praise the Tide, we’ve not come to bury Georgia. Not since becoming the first team since 1979 Texas to hold every opponent to 17 or fewer points for an entire season, while bringing the nation’s No. 1 ranked overall and scoring defense into this scrum. Our biggest concern today for Bama is an offensive line that surrendered 7 sacks in last week’s game trying to hold off the fiercest pass rush this side of the 1984 Chicago Bears. Still, Georgia has never been tested or in trouble this season, so it will be interesting to see how they respond if (and that’s a big ‘if’) the Tide is able to turn up the heat. The well-oiled machine suggests isn’t a misguided notion, noting that undefeated favorites of 3 or more points are 1-5 ATS in conference title games when taking on .800 or greater opponents. The Bulldogs have also not been treated well in this series since 1984, going 5-10 SU, including 6 straight losses, as well as 0-3 SUATS as a pick or single-digit favorite. Hey, Saban is already wild-eyed, and he’s 8-1 ATS as a single-digit dog if .900 or greater, including 6-1 SU and 7-0 ATS as a dog of fewer than 7 points. After last week’s “great escape”, Alabama is playing with house money, so we see the pressure squarely on Georgia in this showdown. Remember, as suffocating as the Dawgs’ defense has been this year, the Tide has held SEVEN foes to season-low yards in 2021, including 5 of its last six opponents. We say take as many points as you can get, and settle in for what we hope is one of this season’s most hard-fought and entertaining contests

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