National Championship Game Odds & Picks
Georgia Bulldogs (13-1 SU, 9-5 ATS) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (13-1 SU, 8-6 ATS)
When: Monday, January 10, 8 p.m.
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
Point Spread: UGA -3/ALA +3
Total: O/U 52.5
It’s rematch time for the national championship game, and the biggest question is whether Alabama can replicate the same formula that it used to beat Georgia in Atlanta. The Tide won that game because of their passing attack, something they didn’t really bother to use against Cincinnati. Part of that was because they didn’t really need to in the face of how well the run game worked against the Bearcats, but part of that was because Bryce Young and company weren’t actually that effective against the Cincinnati defense. If not for the ground game dominating the Cotton Bowl, the Tide might very well have lost to the Bearcats.
The passing game will have to be back to where it normally is, because the run game didn’t do much of anything in the first meeting with Georgia. The Bulldogs might have given up 41 points to Alabama last time, but that wasn’t because of the run game. Georgia won that battle on the line of scrimmage, and if the passing attack had been anywhere near as good as it looked against Michigan, the Bulldogs would have had the edge over the Tide. Every time the de facto championship game in FBS has been a rematch, the team that lost the first meeting ended up turning the tables and winning the game that really counted. Can the Dawgs follow the trend and finally find their way past Alabama?
How the Public is Betting the Georgia/Alabama Game
The public believes in Alabama. The sharps love Georgia. 65 percent of tickets have come in on the Tide, but the line has moved from Georgia -2.5 to Georgia -3. The total has hung tight at 52.5.
Linebacker Adam Anderson (suspension), wide receiver Arian Smith (leg), cornerback Jalen Kimber (shoulder), linebacker Rian Davis (quadricep), defensive back Tykee Smith (knee), wide receiver Arik Gilbert (personal) and offensive lineman Tate Ratledge (foot) are out.
Linebacker Keanu Koht (foot) and offensive lineman Darrian Dalcourt (undisclosed) are questionable. Defensive back Josh Jobe (foot), wide receiver John Metchie (knee), running back Roydell Williams (knee), running back Camar Wheaton (knee), running back Jase McClellan (knee) and linebacker Christopher Allen (foot) are out.
When Georgia Has the Ball
Stetson Bennett cannot throw it 48 times again if Georgia hopes to get a victory. The Bulldogs’ strength all season was running the ball, but Alabama’s defense has been just as loaded against the run as Georgia’s, and the Bulldogs were bottled up for most of the night. To turn this around, Georgia has to get its yards per carry up into the four yard range rather than three so that Bennett is consistently facing second-and-manageable or third-and-short.
Against Michigan, Bennett was able to air it out pretty regularly and create the big play, but that’s likely to be a lot harder against the Alabama defense, especially with Nick Saban getting more than a week to prepare. Brock Bowers is going to have to be a big part of Georgia’s game plan, as he’s the one player on the Bulldogs’ roster that Alabama cannot match up with.
When Alabama Has the Ball
The key question here: was Brian Robinson’s performance against Cincinnati because of him finally being healthy or because the Tide was just that much better on the line than the Bearcats? It’s probably a bit of both, and whichever one is more true is likely to decide how effective the Alabama offense will be against Georgia. Robinson barely did anything as far as running the ball went against the Bulldogs, but Bryce Young more than made up for it by striking all night against the Georgia secondary.
But this time, Young isn’t going to have John Metchie, who tore his ACL against Cincinnati and won’t be playing. Jameson Williams did most of the damage anyway in Atlanta, but Williams is going to have more attention from the Dawgs’ defense in this situation because Alabama’s other receivers just haven’t proven that they can get the job done here. Look for Alabama to try to see if the run will work early before going to the pass if needed.
It’s now seven wins in a row in this series for the Tide, and these games have not been defensive battles in the past. Alabama’s magic number is still 26, as the Tide is 24-0 against Georgia when it hits that number. Once again, the trends all work against Georgia, as the underdog has covered seven of the past eight meetings between the teams and the over has cashed in eight of the past 10 with a push. Something’s got to change if Georgia’s going to win the title for the first time since 1980.
With temperatures likely in the teens, the roof won’t be open at any point this weekend in Indianapolis.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
The trouble with making this bet is that you don’t know what you’re going to get with Alabama. The Tide have been inconsistent all year long, and while they’ve had some big games and looked like world beaters, they have also looked very ordinary against the likes of Auburn and Texas A&M.
Georgia has been much more consistent, and while that’s not always been a good thing, the streak of Saban over Smart has to end at some point. I’ll back Georgia for the cover here. Bet your Championship game pick for FREE by taking advantage of a 100% REAL CASH bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 It’s the biggest bonus on the web from a LEGIT sportsbook! Click here to get your free bets now!