National Championship Preview: Alabama (+2.5) vs. Georgia

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(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Chase Kiddy @chaseakiddy Jan 09, 2022, 9:34 PM

Alabama. Georgia. College football championship odds.

It’s the best kind of Monday Night Football.

You don’t need a big wind-up from me. We all know why we’re here. 

Let’s talk national championship.

Alabama vs. Georgia: The College Football Playoff National Championship Preview

There’s an old maxim in sports that it’s hard to beat a good team twice in the same season.

This saying is mostly bullshit across college football, college basketball and the NFL, as any basic google search can tell you.

Still, Alabama does have a rematch problem when it lines up against Georgia on Monday night. The biggest matchup issue: Bryce Young versus math.

The Alabama quarterback might have won the Heisman Trophy, but two of his last three outings have been two of his worst three games of the season. Pressure at the line of scrimmage (Auburn) and an irregular defensive scheme with 5 DB’s in base personnel (Cincinnati) made Young look his age. 

It was only in the SEC Championship Game against Georgia that Young put on a total show, posting 421 passing yards, four total touchdowns, and the second-highest QBR of his career. 

(By the way, if you want way more analysis on that Cincinnati vs. Alabama game, I wrote a longer analysis piece on how Alabama won last week. You can read it here.)

Anyway, Young will need to have another Heisman-type game for Alabama to win this year’s championship game, and gambling principles tell us that some regression to the mean is likely. 

As for Georgia’s offense, the Bulldogs actually carry a higher OPD (Offensive Points per Drive) than Alabama, 3.52 to 3.40, per Football Outsiders’ FEI ratings. 

Stetson Bennett might not have the hardware that Young does, but his offense can certainly do enough to win against an Alabama defense that has improved throughout the season but remains mortal.

How to Bet the National Championship Game: Georgia (-2.5) vs. Alabama

As is often the case with many of my football bets, this handicap starts and ends with the number itself. Analytics and trends are great, but sharp online sports betting begins with an evaluation of what the point spread means in the context of this individual game.

Georgia opened as a 2.5-point favorite on the night of December 31, with a -140 price on the money line. 

Predictably, a total waterfall of money came in on Alabama as an underdog. But despite the fact that more than 60 percent of point spread tickets were on Alabama +2.5, BetMGM moved the line up to -3. The number has only recently come back down to 2.5, thanks in part to a large bet on Alabama in excess of $300,000. 

Similarly, in the money line market, the price for Alabama has stayed steady at +120 – up from its opening price of +115 – despite the fact that 91 percent of money line tickets are taking Alabama and the increased payout.

All of these signals point toward a Georgia win and cover. 

For one thing, a competent online sportsbook like BetMGM wouldn’t open the line with the No. 1 team as a 2.5-point underdog if it wasn’t extremely comfortable taking money on the dog. This is doubly true when that underdog happens to be the greatest dynasty in the history of the sport.

Additionally, the reverse line movement in Georgia’s direction is a classic indicator of sharp action.

Alabama as a public dog? Not only is it predictable, but it’s also an icky side. Public dogs are notoriously poor ATS performers, and this rule is never more true than when the underdog is already a public team.

Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide might be the greatest program in college football, but everything about this game profile screams that Georgia is the side. If you’re coming to the game late, now is a great time to jump on the odds, as Georgia is back on the right side of the key number. 

I’m playing Georgia -2.5. I’m also considering some alt lines, like Georgia -5.5 (+145). This game is handicapped tightly because of the marketplace and not necessarily because the game is expected to be a nip-tuck affair. 

In that same vein, if you disagree with my read and want to play Alabama, forget the spread. Play the money line at +120, or take an alt line like Alabama -3.5 (+185).

Play: Georgia -2.5

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About the Author

Chase Kiddy

Read More @chaseakiddy

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.