It is no surprise that No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia are meeting in the College Football Playoff national championship game. It’s the college football odds that have some scratching their heads, because the Bulldogs are not dogs after losing to the Crimson Tide in the SEC final.
- Game: Georgia Bulldogs (13-1) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (13-1)
- Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
- Day/Time: Monday, 8 p.m. ET
- Television: ESPN
Georgia Bulldogs at Alabama Crimson Tide Betting Lines
Alabama has won seven straight meetings after its come-from-behind 41-24 triumph for the SEC championship on December 4. The Crimson Tide, who were a jaw-dropping six-point underdog in the college football spreads, trailed 10-0 after the first play of the second quarter before responding with a 38-7 run. The decisive burst was highlighted by Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young’s three touchdown passes — two totaling 122 yards to junior wide receiver Jameson Williams — and capped by junior safety Jordan Battle’s 42-yard interception return for a score. Alabama’s run against Georgia includes three SEC title games and a 26-23 overtime triumph in the 2017 season CFP final. The last two meetings — both by 41-24 scores — have gone over.
Georgia is in a position to claim its first national title since 1980 after dismantling Michigan 34-11 in the CFP semifinals. Senior quarterback Stetson Bennett passed for 313 yards and three touchdowns as the Bulldogs led 17-0 early in the second quarter, and cruised as a 7½-point favorite when betting online. Georgia rushed for 190 yards while limiting the Wolverines to 91. Michigan entered the game averaging 223. Under bettors were on edge with the total at 46½, but Georgia made it only to the Wolverines’ 11-yard line on its final drive as time expired.
Freshman tight end Brock Bowers is dealing with a shoulder injury, but coach Kirby Smart said “he’s good”. Bowers has recorded team-highs of 52 receptions, 846 yards, and 12 touchdowns. He caught 10 passes for 139 yards and a score in the SEC final, and also had a TD catch against Michigan.
Alabama Crimson Tide
Young, a sophomore and second straight Alabama player to win the Heisman (DeVonta Smith), tossed three touchdown passes in a 27-6 victory over No. 4 Cincinnati in the CFP semifinals. Young threw for a season-low 181 yards but managed the Crimson Tide well with a big hand from the defense and a rushing attack that totaled an eye-popping 301 yards. Alabama held the Bearcats to 211 yards from scrimmage after Cincinnati entered the contest producing 430 per game. Alabama was a 12½-point favorite in the Las Vegas odds while under players were licking their chops as the 56½ total was never threatened as insinuated here.
Coach Nick Saban didn’t have much to say concerning injuries to key players. Junior cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis struggled with a hip injury against Cincinnati while Josh Jobe (turf toe) did not play. The offensive line is also banged up as senior right tackle Chris Owens (ankle) and junior right guard Emil Ekiyor Jr. (shoulder) sustained injuries in the semifinal.
Betting on the Game
Georgia opened as a 1½-point favorite in broader betting markets before smart money showed up on the Bulldogs, doubling the line the day after the CFP semifinals. Speaking of Smart …
Saban tries to make it 5-0 against his former assistant while seeking his eighth national title and seventh with the Crimson Tide. The program has played in seven of the eight CFPs. Saban is 7-2 in national championship games after crushing Ohio State 52-24 last season. Smart knows what winning it all looks like as he wore the crown as Alabama defensive coordinator in the 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2015 seasons.
The Crimson Tide injuries are noteworthy, but players such as freshman Kool-Aid McKinstry and junior Khyree Jackson stepped up in the secondary against Cincinnati. Alabama junior John Metchie III caught the go-ahead touchdown pass in the SEC title game before sustaining a season-ending knee injury later in the second quarter.
The Tide, though, still possess big receiving weapons in Williams (15 TDs) and tight end Cameron Latu (seven). They also proved to be multi-dimensional with a rushing onslaught versus Cincinnati that included 204 yards from senior Brian Robinson Jr.
Georgia had yielded 83 points in its first 12 games before coughing up 41 in the SEC final. The Bulldogs got back to their stingy ways against Michigan, but it’s hard to paint a scenario in which they can stop the Tide from rolling.
An interesting prop bet is that Alabama is +900 to win by 13-to-18 points. They have defeated Georgia twice in a row by 17. Who’s to say the Tide can’t do it again in a high-scoring game?