Alabama opens as the favorite over Georgia to hoist the College Football Playoff trophy. According to OddsShark, Alabama is favored by 4.5 points, and the over-under is set at 45.5 points.
It is the first matchup in the College Football Playoff era featuring two teams from the same conference. Atlanta, the site of the SEC title game, is hosting the national championship in a game that will feel similar to an SEC championship matchup. Georgia was left for dead in the Rose Bowl, trailing Oklahoma by two touchdowns heading into halftime. The Bulldogs needed an amazing second half along with overtime to pull out a win over the Sooners.
Things were less complicated for Alabama who managed to hold Clemson to two field goals the entire game as the Tigers only had 188 total yards. Clemson could not get their rushing attack going, averaging just 1.9 yards per carry against a stout Alabama defensive front. Georgia’s strength is their rushing attack, and it will be interesting to see how they are able to perform against the best defense they have faced this season.
It is a complete opposite matchup than the Rose Bowl given Oklahoma’s propensity for giving up points. Alabamas defense is tops in the country as the Crimson Tide hold opposing offenses to just 12 points a game.
Georgia has the upper hand when it comes to Vegas. The Bulldogs went 10-4 against the spread this season. Georgia’s games have trended slightly towards the under with seven out of 13 games hitting the under. Alabama has also trended towards going under the total, with seven out of 12 contests hitting the under. The Crimson Tide went just 6-7 against the spread this season.
While both teams are in the SEC, Georgia and Alabama have not played since 2015. Alabama has won the last three matchups, and Georgia’s last win over Alabama came in 2007. This year’s title game pairs a student with his teacher as Kirby Smart was the former defensive coordinator at Alabama under Nick Saban. Saban spoke with the Atlanta Journal Constitution about the job his former assistant has done in Athens.
Well, Georgia had a pretty good nucleus of players there; I think they had won 10 games the year he took over. Now he has done a fantastic job of bringing those players along, getting those players to play with discipline and play together. They play hard, very relentless. I think this last game was sort of a reflection on the attitude he’s been able to instill to overcome adversity.
SB Nation’s S&P+ analytical rankings have Alabama and Georgia ranked almost even. Alabama sits at No. 1 in the rankings while Georgia is No. 3.
As of now, the OddsShark computer likes Alabama’s chances of being victorious. The computer is projecting a 38.6-31.4 Crimson Tide victory.
Georgia has bounced back since getting blown out by Auburn with four straight wins, including a sizable victory for revenge against the Tigers in the SEC title game. Alabama’s only blemish this season came against Auburn in the Iron Bowl matchup to end the regular season.