CFP National Championship Game: Why Georgia Won’t Cover Against Alabama

profile image of Shawn.West
Head Coach Kirby Smart of the Georgia Bulldogs. Mark Brown/Getty Images/AFP.

For the second time in three games, Georgia and Alabama will square off with a championship at stake. The Crimson Tide knocked off the then No. 1 Bulldogs to take the SEC title in early December. Now, the two teams meet again, in Indianapolis, with the national title at stake. For your college football picks, here’s why Georgia won’t cover against Alabama.

Georgia Bulldogs vs. Alabama Crimson Tide

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

Since playing each other last, the Tide and Dawgs have made short work of their first-round College Football Playoff opponents. Alabama throttled No. 4 Cincinnati’s offense and rolled to a 27-6 win on New Year’s Eve. Georgia also rolled in its national semifinal, beating No. 2 Michigan, 34-11.

It’s the second time in five years that the two SEC rivals have played for the national title. Nick Saban and the Tide beat Kirby Smart and Georgia, 26-23 in January 2018 to give Saban one of the three titles he’s won in the last six years. Now, Saban appears to be on his way to his fourth title in seven years.

Surprising Favorite

Despite being the No. 1 team in the nation, Alabama will enter the CFP Championship game as the underdog at the NCAAF odds. The Tide opened as 2.5 point dogs at most of the top-rated sportsbooks, and some Vegas casinos boosted that spread to as high as three after big money came in on Georgia early on.

One book reported taking a single bet for $40,000 on the Dawgs, another took a pair of $110,000 bets for UGA.

So, does the big money know something the rest of us don’t? We prefer to rely on the wisdom of the crowd. Despite the big individual bets on Georgia, the vast majority of the early money and early bets came in for Alabama. One book told ESPN that 70% of the bets and 68% of the money was leaning toward the Tide, even with the huge UGA wagers.

Still, Alabama will enter as an underdog for the second time in three games and just the third time since 2015. All three of those games have been against the Bulldogs, and Alabama won the previous two fairly decisively.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart, who previously served as Saban’s defensive coordinator with Alabama, has never beaten his former boss, going 0-4 since taking over the Bulldogs. The last two outings have both been 17-point Georgia losses.

Answers at Receiver

The biggest personnel difference between when Georgia and Alabama last met and this game is that Bama receiver John Metchie III is out. Metchie tore a knee ligament in the SEC Championship game, costing Alabama the team leader in receptions, with 96. Metchie was also second on the team in yardage at 1,142 and receiving scores, at 8.

With Heisman winner Bryce Young throwing passes, the Tide passing game is still dangerous. Jameson Williams leads the way, with 1,445 yards and 15 touchdowns, and an average of 21.25 yards per catch.

Alabama also has plenty of candidates to take Metchie’s targets, led by Ja'Corey Brooks, who nearly doubled his catches and yards on the season against Cincinnati. He had four catches for 66 yards and a touchdown in the national semifinal, after tallying five, 79, and one all year up to that point.

If Smart and the Georgia defense take away Brooks, Traeshon Holden, Javon Baker, and Agiye Hall, who combined for 285 snaps this year, are ready to step in and contribute as well.

The Pick

Not only has Saban dominated Smart in their history as rival coaches, but the Alabama coach also has a long history of eating his young. Jimbo Fisher led Texas A&M past the Tide this season, marking the first time in 25 meetings that a former Saban assistant has beaten the guru. Look for Saban to continue to add to his legacy with another win over Georgia and yet another national title.

NCAAF Pick: Alabama +2.5 (-102) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

BetOnline logo
Alabama +2.5 (-102)
Visit Site

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.