It’s only right that the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship game will feature the two teams who were clearly the best in college football in the 2021 season: the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs.
The Southeastern Conference rivals will face off at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Monday in a rematch of last month’s SEC Championship Game, which Alabama won handily 41-24.
Now, Georgia under coach Kirby Smart has a chance for revenge, and it should be a really competitive game between well-matched teams that are probably much closer in ability than the 17-point deficit from their last meeting would indicate.
Right now, though, let’s focus on the point total for this game. The college football odds currently have it set at 52 points, but that is subject to change with so much time left until kickoff in just under a week. Let’s go through all the factors that can help you out if you’re betting online and want to take them over or under.
Alabama at Georgia Betting lines
Young, Bennett Are Rolling
As the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner, Alabama’s Bryce Young put together an incredible season, throwing for over 4,500 yards with a ridiculous 46:5 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He might have saved his best work for the SEC title game, decimating Georgia’s top-ranked defense with 421 yards and three touchdowns. He wasn’t as impressive against Cincinnati, but did more than enough to lead the Tide to a stress-free win.
On the other side, Stetson Bennett IV had a solid if unspectacular season for Georgia, throwing for 2,638 yards and 27 touchdowns (with seven picks). He just isn’t needed to do as much for the Bulldogs as Young is for the Tide since Georgia utilizes the running game more and relies heavily on its defense. Bennett IV threw a pair of backbreaking interceptions against Alabama on Dec. 4 but rebounded with an incredible 313-yard, three-touchdown showing against Michigan in the Orange Bowl.
Bennett and Young are playing really good football right now, which should bode well for how they play on Monday and for how the over will do compared to the point total.
Ignore Season-Long Trends
If you look at both Alabama and Georgia’s over/under records from this season, you would want to shy away from the over if you’re making college football picks. The over went 7-7 in the Crimson Tide’s games and just 6-8 in Georgia’s games. That’s not totally surprising, considering the quality of these defenses.
But, for the purposes of the national championship, those trends ultimately don’t mean all that much. The Crimson Tide and the Bulldogs spent much of their respective seasons beating up on inferior competition and, now, they’re evenly matched with a team on a similar talent level to their own.
It’s not particularly useful to put much stock in the point totals of non-conference games or games where Alabama or Georgia beat an unranked SEC team by multiple scores.
The closest analog for this game is when these teams played a month ago. The total (49 points) did not have much of a chance after they combined for 41 first-half points, including 24 by Alabama in the second quarter.
It took a scoreless third quarter for the under to have even a little bit of life, but a pick-six early in the fourth sent the game over. The offenses clearly won the battle with the defenses in that game, and that should happen again in Indianapolis.
Tide Typically High in Title Games
For whatever reason, Alabama, a mainstay of the College Football Playoff since its inception, seems to play low-scoring CFP semifinal games and high-scoring national championship games. The under is 6-1 in the Tide’s CFP semifinal appearances, including this season’s Cotton Bowl, while the over is 5-0 when the Tide plays in the title game.
That may be a reason why this game’s point total is 52 points on the BetUS sportsbook when the SEC Championship’s total was just 49 points. It’s tough to pinpoint an exact reason why such a stark difference exists between Alabama’s performances in the CFP semis and finals in terms of overall points scored. It could be a strategic move by Nick Saban and his offensive staff to hold some things back in the earlier round to save them for the title game.
It could even be a function of how Alabama plays against different levels of competition. All teams that make the CFP are really, really good, but it makes sense that Alabama plays a tougher opponent in the title game than the semifinal and thus that the Tide’s defense dominates the “lesser” team and the Tide’s offense takes charge against the “better” team. That certainly was the case when Alabama beat Georgia in the last meeting, and it could be true once again.