The Alabama Crimson Tide have long been one of college football’s most successful programs, dating back to even before Bear Bryant’s six-title tenure at the helm in Tuscaloosa. But, Nick Saban — hired in 2007 — has taken things to a whole new level in his 15 seasons with Alabama, both in terms of regular-season dominance and with postseason hardware.
Saban has already won six national titles with the Tide and is looking for a seventh with Alabama taking on the hated rival Georgia Bulldogs in the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship Game in Indianapolis on Jan. 10.
On the current college football odds on the BetUS Sportsbook, Alabama is a three-point underdog against Georgia but that is subject to change with a week until kickoff. It is a rematch of the SEC Championship Game, won by Alabama 41-24.
As Saban and the Tide try to win a remarkable fourth national championship in the short eight-year history (and second in as many years) of the College Football Playoff, let’s take a look at Alabama’s recent bowl history with an eye toward any betting-related facts of note.
Alabama Owns CFP
One of the reasons behind the NCAA implementing the College Football Playoff was so that it could help level the playing field in college football and allow more teams to play for a title. In some ways, that has been true — Cincinnati having the chance to play Alabama in the Cotton Bowl as the first-even Group of Five in the CFP is an example — but, in others, it hasn’t changed things much.
Alabama has been selected for seven of the eight CFPs and has won its semifinal game in six of those seven years (each time by double figures). The Tide have gone 3-2 in their CFP national championships, typically winning by a single score with the exception of their 52-24 blowout of Ohio State last January.
Also of note is that this is not the first time Alabama and Georgia have faced off in the CFP title game. They played each other in 2018 and Alabama won 26-23 in overtimewith backup quarterback Tua Tagovailoa running the show in the second half after Jalen Hurts was injured.
Plus, if you expand just beyond the life of the CFP, Alabama won three of the last five BCS National Championships. Since the end of the 2000s, college football has unquestionably gone through Tuscaloosa.
Good Teams Win, Alabama Wins And (Sometimes) Covers
If you’re betting online, there are many worse bets you can make than taking Alabama in a CFP game in terms of the moneyline. However, Alabama’s record against the spread has been pretty mixed in the CFP. The Tide easily covered against Cincinnati (27-6) on New Year’s Eve but, in its CFP history (before this season), Saban’s team was just 4-7 against the spread.
The Tide’s record against the spread in CFP national championships is even less impressive. Alabama is just 1-4 against the spread in those games, each time as a favorite. Of course, the only cover was last year’s dominant performance against the Buckeyes. That shaky record doesn’t mean that Georgia definitely is going to cover as a slight underdog, but it does show that the Tide haven’t necessarily cruised to victories in their CFP games.
For Title Games, ‘Bama Plays Shootouts
Another interesting statistical trend in Alabama’s CFP games is that their semifinal games tend to be relatively low-scoring — at least compared to the pregame point total over/under — while their national championship games tend to be high-scoring.
The under is 6-1 in Alabama’s CFP semifinal games (including this year’s Cotton Bowl), with the only over being the Crimson Tide’s loss in the 2015 Sugar Bowl. Meanwhile, the over is 5-0 in Alabama’s CFP national championship games. Those trends are pretty stark and could be interesting if you want to make college football picks on the point total in Monday’s game.
So, it might be worthwhile to bet the over when the Crimson Tide take on the Bulldogs. Alabama is balanced enough on both sides of the ball to be able to play either a low-scoring defensive battle — that was the vibe of the win over Cincinnati — or a high-scoring shootout, like the SEC title game against Georgia that blew past the over.