CFP National Championship Game Picks: 3 Keys for Alabama to Upset Georgia

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Quarterback Bryce Young #9 of the Alabama Crimson Tide. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP.

As the season progressed, Georgia looked like the supreme team going into the SEC Championship game against Alabama. The Crimson Tide had already lost to Texas A&M and struggled to put away Florida and LSU to name a few. Meanwhile, Georgia just dominated every chance they got with terrific defense and good enough offense. If you were planning to back up Alabama for your college football picks, let me tell you all you need to know.

Georgia Bulldogs vs. Alabama Crimson Tide

Monday, January 10, 2022 – 08:00 PM EST at Lucas Oil Stadium

Georgia was the team to beat until Alabama dominated Georgia, 41-24 in the SEC Championship game. Then Alabama became the number one team in the nation, forcing Georgia to take on Michigan.

Most thought Michigan would keep their game against Georgia close. But Michigan didn’t, as Georgia ended up winning 34-11 in the semifinals. Meanwhile, Alabama defeated Cincinnati, 27-6 in the semifinals.

Georgia is the favorite in the CFP Playoffs, but Alabama already defeated Georgia once already. Here are three keys for Alabama repeating against Georgia as underdogs at the NCAAF odds, yet again.

Key 1: Win the Third Down/Turnover Battle

Every key for Alabama in this game will be to do exactly what the Crimson Tide did in the SEC Championship Game.

Alabama dominated third downs, converting on 50% in the SEC Championship game. Meanwhile, Georgia went 3-12 on third downs in that game.

To win third down battles, the goal is to get as many third and shorts as possible. It’s not just about converting third downs. It’s about limiting penalties and calling plays that get you closer to the first-down marker to make a third-down conversion easier.

This is what Alabama did. The Crimson Tide had 536 total yards of offense in that SEC Championship game and made third downs a bit easier to convert throughout the game.

Alabama, on the other hand, stopped Georgia in two fourth-down conversions and only allowed Georgia to convert on 3-of-12 on third down.

On top of that, Alabama limited turnovers to none while Georgia’s Stetson Bennett threw two interceptions.

Ultimately, if you’re able to win the third-down battle and turnover battle, you’ve got a great chance at winning games. Alabama needs to do that in the College Football Playoff Finals.

Key 2: Earn Yards on the Ground

All year, Georgia has been one of the best teams defensively, especially against the run. Michigan, for example, is known for a terrific rushing attack but that Michigan offense struggled all night in the semifinals against Georgia.

Alabama only rushed for 115 yards against Georgia on 26 attempts. But that was good enough for 4.4 yards per carry. The run game helped open up the passing game and the passing game dominated the Georgia defense, earning 421 yards on 26 completions.

Alabama needs to dictate the running game and earn over 4 yards per carry early in this game. If the Crimson Tide is able to do that, they’ll be in great shape moving forward. The playbook will be wide open.

Key 3: Score Early

Score early. If you want to put Georgia on the ropes early, score in the first drive. Prove that you can score efficiently going up against Georgia’s defense.

Georgia allowed just 9.5 points per game this season and even shut down a Michigan offense that had been terrific all year. Alabama needs to prove that they can go and score 40 or more points again.

Because once Alabama starts to put some pressure on Georgia, Georgia is going to start to feel the heat a little bit and Bennett might turn the ball over because of Georgia being a little too aggressive.

The Pick

The reality is, both teams are well-coached and have plenty of talent to win this game. There will be adjustments made on both sides and it’s going to be extremely hard to bet on this game.

I believe Georgia’s defense will show up a little bit more this second time around against Georgia but I’m not sure if Georgia’s offense has enough talent to beat Alabama in a shootout. If Alabama scores at an easy rate, Alabama will win. But if Georgia can prove its defense one last time, Georgia could sneak in and win this game.

I’ll go with Georgia -3 in this one, but again, this is going to be a crazy chess match. This isn’t the game you want to max unit on at the top-rated sportsbooks, I’ll tell you that much.

NCAAF Pick: Georgia -3 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Georgia -3 (-110)
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