Here we go. We finally made it to the National Championship game. Despite this being the year of parity in college football, we head into the last game of the year and it’s Georgia and Alabama standing at the end once again. It seems like just yesterday I was writing my CFB season preview and had this to say about the Georgia Bulldogs:
I put my ass on the line with a Georgia natty future, and despite their slip up in the SEC Championship Game, here they are as favorites in the National Championship Game. I’m pretty happy with myself and NO, I am not hedging. As you can see in that last sentence of my preseason preview… I’m going down with the ship. I’m putting 4 more units on the line on Georgia ML in this game. I think the Dawgs get it done… let’s get into the preview.
Bowl SZN: 29-25-2 +3.82u
CFB YTD: 165-142-6 +11.61u
Georgia (-3) vs. Alabama o/u 52.5
The rematch. I liked Georgia on the ML in the first matchup in the SEC Championship Game and I was wrong. But now that we sit here in the Natty, I’m glad Georgia lost. It might seem cliche, but it really is hard to beat a team like Alabama and a coach like Nick Saban twice in one season. It’s also really hard to beat a team like Georgia twice in one season… which is good for us. Here’s the only two times a team has faced in the regular season/conference championship then rematched in the National Championship:
The loser of the original matchup is 2-0 in the rematch and has won convincingly in each. Kirby Smart has been in a similar situation with this Georgia team in the past. In 2017 Georgia was the #1 team in the country and got BLOWN OUT 40-17 by Auburn at home. Auburn dominated the game in every fashion. Well, just three weeks later, the two teams were poised to rematch in the SEC Championship Game with a CFP spot on the line. Auburn scored on the opening drive of the game and then didn’t score the rest of the game. Georgia’s defense DOMINATED and the Georgia run game DOMINATED and that allowed Jake Fromm (who is quite similar to Stetson Bennett in style) to play much more conservative, easy, and mistake-free. I think Georgia is going to bring the same approach to this game.
I realize many people are prisoners of the moment and it’s hard not to be in this game but we can’t forget how much better Georgia was all year long. It’s not the end all be all, but here are their four common opponents this year:
- Florida: Georgia won 34-7, Alabama won 31-29
- Tennessee: Georgia won 41-17, Alabama won 52-24
- Arkansas: Georgia won 37-0, Alabama won 42-35
- Auburn: Georgia won 34-10, Alabama won 24-22
Georgia was better all year and in the SEC Championship Game Saban came with the perfect game plan, Georgia just played poorly, Bryce Young played the best game of his life, and Georgia was maybe under the surface just a little less motivated knowing they were in the CFP no matter what. I think we see Georgia make huge adjustments on D here and get after Bryce Young to make his life much harder than last time. They will emphasize not getting down early because that will allow Stetson to play like he did against Michigan instead of how he played against Bama. The Georgia OL was AWESOME against Michigan and the Heisman runner-up Aidan Hutchinson. I think we see more of that tonight.
Another key difference in this game is the absence of John Metchie for Alabama and the resurgence of George Pickens for Georgia. Pickens is their most talented WR and has been out all year with an injury and has just gotten back to nearly full strength. Meanwhile, Metchie was the heart of Alabama’s offense and was Bryce Young’s go to guy on 3rd downs and big spots. I think that will really hurt Bama as Georgia will be able to put more attention on Jameson Williams as well.
In summary, I think Georgia’s OL will be much better and Georgia will have a better game plan in terms of running the ball and getting the ball out quick to Bowers and the running backs in the pass game. That will allow Stetson Bennett to work the play action (which is what he does best) and hit Pickens and Bowers down field. Defensively, Georgia will do a better job of getting after Bryce Young and forcing tough throws, partially due to the absence of John Metchie. Kirby finally gets it done.
Full Betting Card
4u Georgia ML (-135)- I like the ML under -140 if you can get it. -2.5 is still good but I’m taking the ML to be extra safe.
0.75u Alabama TT u24.5 (-110)- I’m also rolling with the Bama TT under. I really think Georgia’s D dominates.
0.67u (to win 1u) Georgia ALT spread -6.5 (+150)- I want to sprinkle a little alt spread but I’m not getting greedy. I took this at DK and can cash +150 if the Dawgs win by a TD.
0.5u Brian Robinson u69.5 rush yards- This is another prisoner of the moment one. People saw what Robinson did against Cincy and this line opened at like 80 and dropped to here. Well, Cincy has the best secondary in the country and couldn’t comepete with Bama athletes on the OL so of course Robinson domianted. In the first matchup Robinson only ran for 55 yards and that’s also including the fact Alabama was up late. In this game that I think they’ll be trailing late and throwing to catch up, I think Robinson doesn’t hit 50.
0.5u Bryce Young o12.5 rush yards- In the first matchup Bryce Young had 40 rush yards. I think Georgia will get after Young this game and that will force him to scramble even more often. I think this his hits first half.
0.5u George Pickens o34.5 receiving yards- I love Pickens in this game. As I said earlier, I think UGA will do a great job of feeding the RBs and TEs and that will eventually take the top off for Pickens as a deep threat. I think he flies over this.
0.5u James Cook o21.5 receiving yards- Brock Bowers demolished Bama in the first matchup and I think they will make adjustments to limit his production. That should open the door for the Georgia RBs to sneak out and catch screens and run quick routes while the attention is on Bowers. Cook went over this number in the first matchup and was the Dawgs’ leading receiver with over 100 yards against Michigan.
0.5u Brock Bowers anytime TD scorer (-120)- I think Bowers will get extra attention after dominating in the first matchup so I’m not taking his receptions or yards overs but I do still think he finds the end zone. Bama just really struggles agaisnt the TE and Stetson loves finding Bowers in the red zone. When you look at the best teams Bama played all year, the opposing TE continually found the end zone (Texas A&M, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Georgia) and I think Bowers does again in this one.
I’m putting it all on the line with the Dawgs one last time! They were my preseason darling, my biggest bet Week One when they beat Clemson as dogs, and I’m taking them again to end the season.