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College Football Playoff National Championship Game Betting Preview: Alabama-Georgia

Alabama is in a rare spot as an underdog against Georgia and also facing a former Nick Saban assistant. Is that reason to back the Crimson Tide?

No matter what you may think about Alabama’s actual chances in this game, there is a golden betting opportunity at hand to maximize your ticket: The Tide are an underdog. It’s slight, at just 2.5 points at SI Sportsbook, but if you’re getting points with the Crimson Tide there are worse processes than to simply blindly fire on Bama.

Check the Latest Odds for Alabama-Georgia at SI Sportsbook

FILE - Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (9) works against Georgia during the second half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game Dec. 4, 2021, in Atlanta. Alabama plays Georgia in the College Football Playoff national championship game on Jan. 10, 2022.

At the forefront of the matchup is that tried and true stat: 24-1.

The Tide (13-1) had not lost straight-up under coach Nick Saban versus a former assistant until this season with the defeat at Texas A&M. Alabama faces another Saban assistant for the second time in three games when Bama faces Kirby Smart’s Georgia.

The Tide are an underdog for the second time this season. They hadn't been underdogs at all between Oct. 3, 2015, and this year’s SEC title game. Coincidentally, the streak is bookended by both Straight-Up and Against The Spread (ATS) victories against the Dawgs. Alabama hasn’t been an underdog multiple times in a season since 2008 (we throw 2007 Alabama stats out because it was Saban’s first year).

Here's how Alabama has fared as a underdog dating to the 2008 season:

  • 2008: Clemson (34-10 win)
  • 2008: Georgia (41-30 win)
  • 2008: Florida (31-20 loss … The only time Bama failed to cover as an underdog)
  • 2009: Florida (32-13 win)
  • 2015: Georgia (38-10 win)
  • 2021: Georgia (41-24 win)

Georgia was favored by 6.5 points in the 2021 SEC Championship. This line is holding relatively still, even as it seems money is heavily coming in on Bama’s side.

Saban’s Tide are 14-9 ATS against former Saban assistants. The ATS losses are actually clustered around two coaches as Jim McElwain and Jimbo Fisher share five covers.

  • 2013: Colorado State (Jim McElwain)
  • 2015: Florida (McElwain)
  • 2017: Championship game, Georgia (Smart)
  • 2018: Georgia (Smart)
  • 2018: Texas A&M (Jimbo Fisher)
  • 2018: Louisiana (Bill Napier)
  • 2019: Texas A&M (Fisher)
  • 2019: Tennessee (Jeremy Pruitt)
  • 2021: Texas A&M (Fisher)
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It should be noted, of course, that the Georgia cover also came in overtime of the 2018 national title game.

FILE - Georgia offensive lineman Warren Ericson (50) and Alabama wide receiver Slade Bolden (18) play during the second half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, in Atlanta. Those Georgia Bulldogs aren't the only ones having a devil of a time beating fellow Southeastern Conference powerhouse Alabama. They're just the only one that gets another shot in the biggest game of them all.

No. 1 Alabama (13-1) vs. No. 3 Georgia (13-1)

Date: Monday, Jan. 10 | 8 p.m. ET | ESPN
Spread: Georgia -3 (-118) | Alabama +3 (-118)
Moneyline: Georgia (-150) | Alabama (+115)
Total: 51.5 - Over (-118) | Under (-110)

Moneyline odds pick: Georgia (-135)

It's unclear if Bryce Young can repeat his heroics, and betting (literally) on the Dawgs winning the game outright in the sequel.

Spread pick: Alabama +3 (-118)

The Tide plus the points is a match made in heaven.

Over/under pick: Over 51.5 (-110)

Georgia’s defense is great, but I do think this game ends in the 30s for both teams.

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