Last Updated: 2018-01-05
Finally the College Football National Championship Game is here! The last game of the season is always bitter sweet, but they may have saved the best for last. On Monday January 8th we may witness an instant classic as the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs battle to see who will be the National Champions of the College Football world. This game kicks off at 8 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN. The game will be played in Atlanta, Georgia.
For years many college football experts have fought for or argued against the Southeastern Conference being the best in all of football. There is no more disputing that fact as both teams in the National Championship game are from the SEC.
The Georgia Bulldogs were a team to watch at the start of the season, but not many expected this team to go to the National Championship Game. They quickly made a statement when they posted two wins against ranked opponents in the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Those wins guided the Bulldogs to a 13-1 straight up record on the regular season. They were 7-1 in the SEC and that lone loss was to the then No. 10 ranked Auburn Tigers. The Bulldogs still won the SEC East and eventually won the SEC Championship game by exacting revenge on Auburn. The most impressive win however was in the Rose Bowl where the Bulldogs took down the Oklahoma Sooners in overtime. The Bulldogs are ready to win a championship, but it won’t be easy as they will face a team that is familiar with this big game.
The Crimson Tide has been here before and they were the favorites at the start of the season to win it all. They cruised through the regular season with a 12-1 straight up record. They were 7-1 in the SEC and that was good enough for only a second place finish in the SEC West. They had several big wins on the season to include victories against Texas A&M and Florida State to start the season. The one blemish on the record is an Iron Bowl loss to the Auburn Tigers. Unfortunately that loss cost the Tide a trip to the SEC Championship game, but they were still able to advance to the playoffs. A dominating win over the Clemson Tigers in the Sugar Bowl has made the Tide a favorite to win it all once again.
These teams had similar regular season recordss, but very different results against the spread (ATS). The Tide is 6-7 ATS on the season and that included an ugly 1-3 ATS mark on the road. They were 5-5 ATS on the road in the last ten overall, but failed to make a profit for anyone that backed Bama all season long.
The Bulldogs were a much better bet during the season. They were 10-4 ATS on the season and finished the year on a 7-3 ATS run cashing in at 70 percent for sports bettors smart enough to bet on Georgia.
Since both of these teams are in the SEC they have a long standing rivalry that dates back to 1895. In the series Alabama has the distinct advantage as they have a 38-25-4 record against Georgia in this series. However this series played more in the past than they have of late. These teams have only met twice in this decade and Alabama has won both games. This series has many memorable games to include SEC Championships.
This series also has connections in coaching. Kirby Smart is the head coach at Georgia. Before being hired on at Georgia he was the defensive coordinator for Alabama under Nick Saban. This will make this a very interesting matchup from a coaching perspective with two individuals that know each other very well. This is not the only overlap as several other coaches to include Bulldogs defensive coordinator Mel Tucker have worked with Saban. It is interesting to note that Saban has never lost against a former assistant. He is 11-0 straight up and 9-2 ATS when facing a former assistant of his from Alabama. He has outscored former assistants 427-111 in those 11 wins. This makes coaching another intangible that needs to be handicapped when betting on this game.
The point spread for this game opened with the Crimson Tide listed as high as (-5.5) and the majority of the sportsbooks settling for Alabama (-4.5). The point spread had dropped even more since that original line and can now be found at (-3.5) at many of the major online sportsbooks. The over / under in this game started at 44 and has now dropped a point, sitting at 43 at many sports betting sites that post odds for the National Championship game.
The public is betting on this game as over 60 percent of the money coming in on this game is on Alabama. As far as the total goes, just over 51 percent of the wagers are favoring a low scoring game as they are betting on the under. It is also being reported that sharp money by knowledgeable sports bettors is coming in on this game. The smart money came in to move the line from (-4) to (-3.5) as they were favoring the Bulldogs to win this game. There is also some slight smart money coming in on the under in this game. If you like to bet with the sharp money in college football games then your money would be on Georgia and the under.
The college football betting trends show just how much Alabama has struggled this season at the betting window. The Crimson Tide are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games in January, 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 conference games. They are also 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following a win against the spread.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are 10-3 ATS in their last 13 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game, 6-2 ATS a team with a winning record and 8-3 ATS in their last 11 conference games.
Perhaps more importantly the Bulldogs are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 bowl games, 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall and 4-0 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games.
The best thing about betting on the National Championship game could be the prop betting. This allows the sports bettor to bet on different outcomes that may happen during the game. For example the sports bettor can bet on if there will be special teams or defensive touchdown Yes (+175) No (-260). What team will score first (Alabama -400 or Georgia +100), or even the coin toss. Since this is the biggest game of the year there are literally hundreds to choose from. Many professional sports bettors choose to use prop bets to make money when betting on the biggest game of the season.
My favorite prop bet is “Will either team score 3 unanswered times, Yes (-175) No (+135). This is favored to “Yes” because in big games when a team is rolling they will always press to score more points. This happens in blowouts, but I do not believe this game will be a blowout and could be one of the closest National Championship games to date. With that in mind, I believe there is value in playing “No” (+135). Make sure to shop around and check out the endless amount of props on this game.
As far as picking a side on this game is concerned, there is more to the breakdown.
The Bulldogs have two of the best running backs in the country in Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Together they dominated the Rose Bowl and they will face their toughest challenge to date. Alabama has an incredible rush defense that has not allowed more than 3.6 rushing yards per game. Georgia averages 7.0 yards per carry and Michel averages eight yards per carry. This will be an incredible matchup to watch.
As far as quarterback play is concerned the edge goes to Alabama and Jalen Hurts, but only because he has more experience in the big game. He has just one interception this season and can safely manage a football game. On the other side Jake Fromm is awesome in his own right as he ranks fifth nationally in pass efficiency. The Bulldogs are 5-0 straight up when he has more than 15 completions. He is young and will be tested if the Tide can shut down the Bulldogs run game.
On defense the teams are near even. It could be argued that Alabama has a better interior and secondary and Georgia has better edge rushers, but overall these are two incredible defensive units. There are defensive caliber players on both defenses to include the Bulldogs linebacker Roquan Smith.
This total seems dead on as both defensive units will play tight and tough early and scores will be at a minimum. The Bulldogs have the better offensive unit, but the Tide has the experience edge and slightly better coaching. In the end this game will come down to the closing seconds and the Bulldogs will win 23-20 securing the National Championship!
<< Previous PostNext Post >>