2022 National Championship Odds, Predictions, Picks: The Total Bet to Make for Alabama vs. Georgia
Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Kearis Jackson.
We’ve reached the final chapter of the college football season, and even though the casual fan doesn’t want to see Alabama vs. Georgia again, the reality is these are clearly the best two teams in college football.
Now, when these two met a month ago, Alabama won the game, 41-24, behind 421 yards passing from Bryce Young, while Stetson Bennett threw two picks.
These two defenses showed out in the semifinal, giving up a combined 17 points and 4.4 yards per play. The question is, will we see a repeat of the SEC Championship game or a defensive slugfest?
Alabama vs. Georgia
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
First off, whenever we are discussing an over/under, we have to talk about each team’s pace, and the best way to do that is to look at plays per minute. Georgia, on average, ran 2.1 plays per minute, which ranked 110th in the country, while Alabama played a little faster, averaging 2.32 plays per minute, which ranked 57th in college football.
However, in the SEC Championship, Alabama played much faster than it normally did in the regular season, running 2.75 plays per minute, while Georgia ran their normal pace.
So, you could say that Alabama playing with tempo was something that gave it an advantage, not allowing Jordan Davis and the Georgia defensive line to sub out.
Alabama Offense vs. Georgia Defense
Now, Alabama ran the ball all over Cincinnati’s defense in the Cotton Bowl for a staggering 301 yards and 6.7 yards per carry.
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) January 1, 2022
The Tide won’t have that type of success against Georgia, as they only ran the ball 26 times at 4.4 yards per carry, and a lot of that was because of Young.
Brian Robinson Jr. may have had over 200 yards against Cincinnati, but against Georgia’s front seven, he had only 55 yards on 16 carries, with a 44% Rushing Success Rate, which is around the national average.
So, Georgia should once again be able to shut down Alabama’s rushing attack. But the question is, can it slow down Young? The Heisman Trophy winner averaged 9.6 yards per attempt and tossed seven passes that went for 20-plus yards, which is not something we were used to seeing from a Georgia team that had the best coverage grade in the nation, per PFF.
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) December 22, 2021
The biggest thing for Georgia is it has to put pressure on Young and make him uncomfortable.
Young is so good both when he has a clean pocket and when he’s blitzed, averaging over 8.5 yards per attempt while owning an adjusted completion percentage over 74% and a PFF passing grade over 90.
However, when he’s under pressure, his adjusted completion percentage drops to 66.7%, and his passing grade drops to 61.9.
What is most surprising about the SEC Championship game is that Georgia pressured Young 18 times, which is close to the number of times Auburn and Texas A&M got to him. But Georgia didn’t record a single sack in the game, which was the first time all season the Bama quarterback wasn’t sacked.
Obviously, the Alabama game plan in the Cotton Bowl was to run the ball, but Young didn’t have the best game. He averaged only 6.5 yards per attempt and had a 61.3 PFF passing grade, both of which were his lowest marks of the season.
It could have had something to do with how good Cincinnati’s secondary was this season, along with the fact he was without one of his top targets in John Metchie III.
Metchie torched the Georgia secondary in the SEC Championship for 97 yards on six catches, and Young had a 75% Passing Success Rate — the highest mark on the team — when throwing to him. All of that was just in the first half.
So, without him, Georgia can put more of their focus on shutting down Jameson Williams.
One thing that was somewhat of an anomaly as well in the SEC title game is that Alabama averaged 11.3 yards per play on third down. Georgia allowed only a 36% third-down conversion rate this season, so I don’t expect Alabama to continue that type of success in the National Championship game.
Georgia Offense vs. Alabama Defense
Stetson Bennett played a fantastic game against Michigan in the Orange Bowl, averaging 10.5 yards per attempt with an 81.5% adjusted completion percentage.
— Sᴘᴏʀᴛs 24/7 (@Sports_24x7_) January 1, 2022
In the SEC Championship, Bennett played really well in the first half, but the second half is when things started to fall apart — basically, when Georgia had to play from behind.
That’s not Georgia’s style of play on offense. The Bulldogs are a rush-heavy team, running the ball 57.4% of the time this season.
However, they didn’t run the ball with much success against Alabama in the SEC Championship game, as James Cook and Zamir White were held under 4.0 yards per carry.
That’s not really surprising considering Alabama has one of the best rush defenses in the country, allowing only 2.6 yards per carry this season and ranking inside the top five in rushing explosiveness allowed, Defensive Line Yards, and Stuff Rate.
So, I have a hard time seeing how things are going to drastically change for Georgia on Monday.
That means Georgia is going to have to attack Alabama’s secondary, which has been its weak point this season. With that being said, Alabama did hold Desmond Ridder to just 4.5 yards per attempt and a 61.6 PFF passing grade.
It’s clear that for Georgia to win the national title, it has to play with a lead and run the ball with success, which I’m not sure it’s going to be able to do against Alabama’s defense.
The total for the SEC Championship closed at 50 points, so the total naturally ticked up a few points after 65 points were scored back in early December.
However, without Metchie, Alabama has scored only four offensive touchdowns in six quarters of football.
Additionally, with the Crimson Tide not being able to run the ball with the success they had against Cincinnati, I have a hard time seeing how they’re going to move the ball and put up the large number of explosive plays they did in the SEC Championship.
On the other side of the ball, Georgia showed that if it can’t run the ball with a lot of success and the game is on Bennett’s shoulders, it’s not a recipe for success.
I only have 45.1 points projected for the National Championship game, so I like the value on under 52.5 points.
Pick: Under 52.5