No. 4 Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1 SU, 6-7 ATS) vs. No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs (13-1 SU, 10-4 ATS)
College Football Playoff National Championship Game
Date/Time: Monday January 8th, 2018. 8:00PM (EST)
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium Atlanta, G.A.
by Jay, College Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ALA -3.5/UGA +3.5
Over/Under Total: 45
The College Football Playoff National Championship Game will take place in Atlanta on Monday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium featuring the no. 4 Alabama Crimson Tide and the no. 3 Georgia Bulldogs. For the first time since 2011, the National Championship Game will feature two teams from the same conference and once again those teams stem from the SEC. Ironically the National Championship will take place at the same venue where the Georgia Bulldogs claimed the SEC Championship over Auburn back in early December. Now the Bulldogs will have a chance to revisit Mercedes-Benz Stadium with an even bigger prize on the line.
Following the theme of irony, Alabama will get the chance to win the National Championship despite being absent from the SEC Championship back in December. Remember all of the media and journalist that tried to keep the Crimson Tide out of the playoffs for not winning their conference championship? Well that same Alabama team that was lobbied against, dominated the top ranked Clemson Tigers last week in the CFP Semifinal by a score of 24-6 and that same team is favored over the Bulldogs yet again this coming Monday. Now the team that everyone wanted to keep out of the National Championship Game for not winning their conference title will get a chance to meet their conference champions inside the same venue for the National Championship. Oh, the irony.
Now lets talk about the matchup and circumstances. Georgias path to the National Championship Game was less controversial but nonetheless dramatic. The Bulldogs victory in the Rose Bowl last week was perhaps the most exciting Rose Bowl game in history. The Bulldogs rallied from a 31-14 deficit to win an eventual double overtime thriller 54-48 over the Oklahoma Sooners. I had previously pegged the Sooners to overtake the Bulldogs. I figured Oklahomas offense would get off to a fast start and cause Georgia to abandon their running game. I was correct on the first premise but dead wrong on the latter.
The Bulldogs rallied from a 17 point deficit by staying true to their running attack and racked up over 300 yards rushing against the Sooners. Sony Michel ran for 185 yards with 3 touchdowns and Nick Chubb ran for another 145 with 2 touchdowns on just 25 combined carries. Quarterback Jake Fromm also delivered with a strong outing hitting 20 of 29 passing for 210 yards with 2 touchdowns. However, it was the running combination of Michel and Chubb that stole the show which is the same combination that has propelled this Georgia offense all year.
The question now becomes can Georgia establish the same type of offensive success against Alabamas defense? For the first time in months, Alabamas defense is healthy and their tenacity returned in last weeks convincing win against Clemson. The Tigers had previously transitioned into a heavier rushing offense with quarterback Kelly Bryant averaging nearly 200 yards per game on the ground as a team. Yet, they were stymied by Alabamas defense to just 64 yards on the ground in total averaging just 1.9 yards per attempt. To be completely honest, Alabama was not only disruptive defensively, but they were overwhelming against Clemsons offense. As a result, one has to wonder if they will have the same effect on Georgias offense?
However, I will warn everyone that Georgia will not be outmatched in this game. The Bulldogs defense is still very good, and I imagine that a lot of people will forget that fact after last weeks shootout with Oklahoma. Yes, the Bulldogs gave up over 500 yards of offense and over 200 yards on the ground. However, the Rose Bowl turned into a big play highlight reel by two amazing offenses which can only be considered an anomaly towards Georgias defensive performances this year. Before the Rose Bowl, the Bulldogs ranked 6th overall in defense allowing just 289 yards and 5th in scoring allowing just 15.7 points per game.
Alabamas offense has the traditional Nick Saban pro style powered rushing scheme. They will not spread the field like Oklahoma and that favors Georgia to have a better defensive outing against a team much closer to what they have faced all year in the SEC. My biggest question for the matchup on this side of the ball is can the Alabama offense make enough plays? I have been critical towards Alabamas offense at time this year and I am still a little hesitant to call them a championship group. However, this game should be relatively low scoring in similar fashion to last weeks Sugar Bowl matchup with Clemson. Therefore, if quarterback Jalen Hurts can keep the ball safe and hit a few passes down the field to a guy like Calvin Ridley, Alabama will not need to post a huge number to win this football game. Rather a consistent running attack from Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough could be enough to get the job done.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think this matchup is pretty even and has the ingredients for a classic SEC grudge match. I personally believe the defenses will play well and the offense that makes a few big plays will take the win. I think that offense will be Georgia with Michel and Chubb proving once again they are the best duo in the country. Take Georgia +3.5. - Bet this game for FREE by taking advantage of a FAT 100% bonus up to $1000 at MyBookie! (Use Promo Code: PRDCT14)