College Football Odds, Picks for Alabama vs. Georgia: Our Bettors Debate the National Championship Spread
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images and David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured (L-R): Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams (1) and Georgia Bulldogs defensive back Javon Bullard (22).
- The Alabama Crimson Tide and Georgia Bulldogs will go to battle for a national title on Monday night.
- Mike Ianniello and Tanner McGrath debate which side of the spread to bet for this SEC rematch.
- Check out their reasons for betting either team below.
Alabama vs. Georgia Odds
-115o / -105u
-115o / -105u
Georgia lost one game with its defense getting shredded one time, and the world seems to have forgotten how dominant this team is.
Sure, the Bulldogs are favorites. But per our Action Network PRO Report, more than 65% of the tickets are coming in on Alabama. Just a few weeks ago, this line was -6.5. Now, it’s less than a field goal at some books.
The public is purely disrespecting the best team in college football this season — all because of one letdown game.
Let’s remember what the Dawgs pulled off this season:
- 13-1 record
- 9.6 points per game allowed (first nationally)
- 39 points per game scored (ninth nationally)
The consistency of the Georgia defense — and then the Georgia offense after Stetson Bennett took over the starting quarterback full-time — was outstanding. Until that Alabama game, Georgia never let anyone get close.
Meanwhile, nobody has been more Jekyll and Hyde this season than Alabama. The Tide, in chronological order, managed to:
- Dominate Miami, 44-13
- Barely beat Florida, 31-29
- Dominate Ole Miss, 42-21
- Lose to Texas A&M, 41-38
- Outshoot Arkansas, 42-35
- Beat Auburn without Bo Nix in a gross effort, 24-22
- Blow out Georgia, 41-24
Just going off this season’s precedent, Alabama is due for a letdown game — especially against a Georgia team that is not only the best in college football, but now feeling very disrespected.
It’s rare when you get to play that card. I’ll lay the points with the Dawgs, who I believe win this game handily.
Let me get this straight. You want to give me Nick Saban, No. 1 seed Alabama and three points? What an idiot!
Besides being the best college football coach of all-time, Saban has also dominated against his long list of former assistant coaches, especially Kirby Smart.
In four tries against his former boss, Smart is 0-4, including a 41-24 loss just a month ago. So, what has changed since then? Because last time I checked, Bryce Young is still the quarterback for the Crimson Tide.
The Heisman Trophy winner has tossed 46 touchdown passes and just five interceptions this season. He set the Alabama single-season record for passing yards and touchdowns.
Well, against this Georgia defense, Young went off for 421 yards, the second-most in his career, and tossed three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Sure, you can point to that as just a bad game for the Bulldogs defense. But prior to Alabama, who was the best quarterback Georgia has faced all season? Bo Nix? Hendon Hooker? Even Hooker threw for 332 yards and two touchdowns against Georgia.
The one change you can point to is the loss of wide receiver John Metchie III. That definitely sucks for the Tide. But they still have leading receiver Jameson Williams. The Biletnikoff Award finalist caught seven passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns in the SEC Championship.
Let’s not cry for Bama too much here. Without Metchie, it will just be forced to rely more on five-star freshman Ja’Corey Brooks, the team’s leading receiver against Cincinnati last week.
The last time Alabama relied on a true freshman receiver making a big play in the National Championship game, someone named DeVonta Smith emerged on the big stage.
On the other side will be former walk-on Stetson Bennett. While he certainly was not the reason that Georgia lost the SEC Championship game (it was the pass defense), it still remains to be seen if he can come up with the big plays when the team relies on him.
In the three losses Bennett has suffered in the last two years, he has struggled with turnovers, throwing six interceptions. Five of them have come in his two losses to Alabama.
Nick Saban and Alabama have lost in the National Championship game twice in their eight trips to the title game. Those two losses came at the hands of historic performances from Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence.
Just like Jake Fromm was, Bennett is a good enough quarterback to beat up on Missouri and Kentucky. But it’s going to take more than a game manager to take down Saban in a National Championship game.
McGrath: Sure, Bennett isn’t the hottest quarterback on the planet. However, Bennett and the Bulldogs have a better track record against the same opponents.
Same opponents this season include:
- Florida: Bryce Young went 22-for-36 with three touchdowns in a 31-29 win. Stetson Bennett went just 10-for-20, but the Dawgs won, 34-7.
- Arkansas: Bryce Young exploded in this game, but Alabama snuck away with a 42-35 victory. Bennett completed just seven of his 11 attempts, but the Dawgs won 37-0.
- Tennessee: Both quarterbacks played relatively well against Tennessee, and both blew the Vols out.
- Auburn: This one is damning. Young goes 25-for-51 in a 24-22 win against Bo Nix’s backup. Bennett went 14-for-21 with two touchdowns in a 34-10 victory.
Georgia is just a better all-around football team that has posted more consistent results on a week-to-week basis.
And you can say that Alabama will just pass all over the Bulldogs again, but lightning rarely strikes twice. And I think Saban and Young will miss Metchie’s six catches and 100 yards more than you think. That’s especially true considering he’s such a great go-to security blanket (33.4% of snaps taken in the slot this season) against a dominant Georgia front.
And that front should get to Young this time around. Young produced just six big-time throws to eight turnover-worthy plays under pressure this season and completed less than 50% of his passes in those situations.
The Crimson Tide can’t hold off Jordan Davis and Co. forever.
Ianniello: As Tanner pointed out above, Georgia has been dominant all season while also not needing Bennett to do too much. The Bulldogs won six games this year with Bennett attempting fewer than 20 passes.
They can win games with defense and their running game. Well, as we saw in the SEC Championship game, slowing down this Alabama offense is a tall task.
Even if Georgia has a much better game plan, which I expect it will, the Tide were fifth in the country with 494.6 yards per game this season and third in scoring with 41.4 points per game.
Bennett was forced to attempt a career-high 48 passes against Alabama, breaking his previous high of 40 attempts in last season’s game versus the Tide. He has never even attempted more than 30 passes against any other team.
The reason for this is because teams can’t run on this Alabama defense. The Tide finished the season allowing just 82.1 yards per game on the ground and 2.5 yards per carry, both second in the country and even better than this historic Georgia defense.
Will Anderson and that Alabama front seven can take away what Georgia wants to do, which is why it was held to just 109 rushing yards and 3.6 yards per carry in the conference championship. Both marks were the lowest of the season for Georgia.
This forces the Bulldogs to try and win the game with Bennett’s arm, which he has not proven he can do.
He is constantly labeled as a “game manager,” but that name is not accurate, as Bennett does not play it safe like a typical game manager. He has 10 turnover-worthy plays and seven interceptions this season, which is more picks than Young has despite attempting half as many passes.
A true game manager would be more effective for the Bulldogs. Bennett has a 3.7% turnover-worthy play rate in his career. For comparison, their last “game manager” quarterback, Fromm, had a 2.5% turnover-worthy play rate in his time at Georgia. Young’s turnover-worthy play rate this season is just 1.9%.
McGrath: Look, Alabama did everything Saban wanted the team to do in that SEC Championship game. But the Crimson Tide haven’t been perfect on a week-to-week basis.
Alabama finished outside the top 30 in Defensive Standard Downs Success Rate and outside the top 50 in Defensive Passing Downs Success Rate. The Crimson Tide were also just 43rd in Offensive Standard Downs Success Rate and 64th in Offensive Line Yards.
This is not a perfect Saban team. Alabama played a perfect game against Georgia, mixed in with a bunch of lackadaisical performances all season.
Meanwhile, this is an all-time good Georgia team, particularly on the defensive side. The team finished:
- Second in Defensive Success Rate
- 13th in Defensive Line Yards
- Second in Defensive Standard Downs Success Rate
- Eighth in Defensive Passing Downs Success Rate
You don’t Smart will adjust after getting shredded in one game? This team has all the pieces to slow down Alabama’s offense, and it will be motivated to do so after the most recent embarrassment.
Ianniello: No, this is not a perfect Alabama team. But it’s an improving one. As we saw last week against Cincinnati, running back Brian Robinson Jr. is finally fully healthy after laboring through a hamstring injury in the SEC Championship.
Robinson was held to just 55 rushing yards against Georgia. However, after a month to rest up, he exploded for 204 yards against the Bearcats.
Now obviously, I don’t think he will go for 200-plus again. But he will also have the help of his quarterback, who rushed for 40 yards and a touchdown on three carries in the conference title game.
Between a healthy Robinson, and Young’s ability with his legs, Alabama will be able to move the ball on the ground better than most teams. It averaged 4.4 yards per carry in the first matchup.
The Tide’s ability to run the ball will help neutralize the Georgia pass rush again. The Bulldogs couldn’t get Young to the ground at all in the first meeting, whereas Anderson and the Alabama front sacked Bennett three times.
This game could come down to a few key plays, and that is where Alabama has a huge advantage. The Tide’s offense ranks 16th in the country in explosiveness, Georgia ranks 86th in explosiveness and does not have the weapons to take the top of the Bama defense.
If the Bulldogs can’t pick up big plays, they will need to consistently move the ball down the field on Alabama and finish off drives in the red zone, which they have struggled to do. Georgia is just 55th in the country in red-zone conversion rate, scoring less than 85% of the time. They convert with a touchdown just 60% of the time, 64th in the nation.
McGrath: Bet Georgia -3
To circle around to my original point: has the world forgotten about Georgia following one bad game?
That’s a ridiculous thought, as there’s one all-important group that hasn’t forgotten about the Bulldogs: the sharps.
While only 34% of the tickets are on Georgia, over 50% of the handle is. And we’ve tracked sharp money at books that have pushed Georgia up from -2.5 to -3.
The smartest gamblers in the world seem to be the only ones that realize that Alabama is inconsistent and slightly fraudulent. Meanwhile, Smart’s team is dominant, favored, and hungry.
Side with the sharps. Besides, do you really need to see Saban hold up that trophy again?
Ianniello: Bet Alabama +3
You want to talk about coaching adjustments? Georgia has had a lead in all four games against Bama under Smart. It’s been up double digits in three of the four matchups. Then Saban makes adjustments and coaches circles around his former assistant.
Now you want to make the greatest coach in college football history an underdog? Since his first season at Alabama, Saban’s team has been an underdog just six times. It’s 5-1 straight up, winning each time by more than 10 points.
When Alabama has the ball, Young is the best player on the field. When Georgia has the ball, Anderson is the best player on the field. And no matter who has the ball, Saban is the best coach on the field.
I’ll back Alabama to continue dominating the Bulldogs. Roll Damn Tide.
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