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Georgia Football

As Georgia Bulldogs, Alabama Crimson Tide Arrive Bettors Make Their Plays

January 7, 2022

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Alabama is looking to continue its unparalleled run of success in national championship games. The Crimson Tide have been triumphant in six of their previous eight trips to a CFP/BCS national title contest, all under coach Nick Saban. Alabama can extend its record for national championships in the poll era (since 1936) to 14. Bama already has five more than any other school; Notre Dame is second with eight. Georgia seeks its second national title in the poll era, winning the school’s lone championship in 1980. The Bulldogs (-135 on the moneyline) are currently 2-point favorites over the Crimson Tide (+115 ML). That is where the line opened before moving up to -3 and then dropping down to -2 today.
“I think the line may continue to go down,” said Adam Pullen, Caesars Sportsbook’s Assistant Director of Trading. “I think this game is as close to a toss-up as you can get. These teams played each other just over a month ago in the SEC Championship Game so there is a lot of information to go on. It’s a rarity when teams playing in the title game played during the year as well, let alone so recently.”
This will be just the second CFP/BCS national championship game in which the two teams played each other previously during that same season. Saban claimed his second national championship at Alabama when the Crimson Tide (-2) blanked LSU 21-0 in the BCS title game in January 2012 after losing 9-6 that regular season. 
When Alabama and Georgia squared off on Dec. 4 in the SEC Championship Game, the Crimson Tide pounded the Bulldogs, 41-24, as 6-point underdogs and +190 on the moneyline. This will be the second time Alabama and Georgia will meet in a CFP national championship game. On Jan. 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Tua Tagovailoa, who rarely played during the season, came off the bench to lead the Crimson Tide (-3.5) to a 26-23 overtime victory over the Bulldogs. Tagovailoa threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to DeVonta Smith in overtime for a walk-off victory.
For Monday night’s game, Caesars Sportsbook bettors have placed 72% of the spread tickets on Alabama while Georgia has secured 70% of the dollars wagered. The moneyline action has been a one-way street with the Crimson Tide hauling in 90% of the bets and 91% of the dollars wagered. That heavy Alabama moneyline action includes a $1.2 million wager from Houston furniture magnate Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale on the Tide (+125) for a potential $1.5 million win. In addition, a Louisiana bettor placed a $300,000 bet on the Alabama moneyline.
For the SEC Championship Game in December, the Bulldogs attracted 68% of the spread bets with Alabama getting 51% of the dollars wagered. On the moneyline for that game, the Crimson Tide drew 72% of the tickets while the Bulldogs collected 69% of the dollars wagered.

“I’m not surprised the Bama money is coming in now,” Pullen said. “Georgia was around a touchdown favorite in the SEC Championship Game and got handled pretty easily. There are two schools of thought. Some people will say it’s just one game and sometimes it corrects itself when teams play twice in a season with the opposite happening. Or, well, they just beat them by 17, why are they still underdogs? I don’t know if we’ll see the spread go back up to -3. I’d say it is more likely headed close to a pick.”
As it stands now, Alabama is poised to be an underdog in a CFP/BCS national championship game for the first time. In its eight previous title game appearances, all as a favorite, Alabama went 6-2 straight up and 4-4 against the spread. Both outright losses came against Clemson to end the 2016 and 2018 seasons as 6-point and 5.5-point favorites, respectively. Barring a major spread shift, this will be the third time in the past 168 games that Alabama is an underdog. The opponent each time? Georgia. The previous two times the Crimson Tide received points from the Bulldogs, they did not need them, winning 38-10 as a 1-point dog on Oct. 3, 2015, and in the aforementioned SEC title game that ended the Tide’s 92-game streak as favorites. Alabama’s last loss and non-cover as an underdog came in the 2008 SEC Championship Game, where it lost, 31-20, to Florida while getting 10 points.
Date                                                                  Opponent (Spread)                         Result
1/10/22 (CFP Championship Game)          Georgia (-2)                                          ???
12/4/21 (SEC Championship Game)          Georgia (-6)                                      Alabama 41-24
10/3/15                                                            Georgia (-1)                                      Alabama 38-10
Like the spread for this game, the total has undergone little movement, settling at 52 points. The Over has hit in six straight CFP title games. In CFP/BCS national title game appearances featuring Alabama, the Over is 7-1, including a 5-0 mark in the CFP era. The Over is 6-1-1 in the last eight games between these two schools, and the Over hit in the SEC Championship Game with the total closing at 49. Caesars Sportsbook bettors see those trends continuing Monday night, placing 60% of their bets and 67% of the dollars wagered on the Over.
“Usually when you get stand-alone or championship games like this, the public is more apt to be on the Over,” said Pullen. “It wouldn’t surprise me if the total goes as low as 51 and as high as 53.5. I’m sure people are curious if we are going to see a correction with Georgia’s defense looking like it had most of the year. They gave up 41 points when they last played Alabama, which is not like them. I think the total is about right where it should be.”
It is not surprising that Alabama and Georgia ended up playing in the final game of the season.  At the start of this campaign, Alabama had the lowest odds of any team to win the national championship at +260. But those odds got as high as +1200 on Nov. 27, when the Crimson Tide escaped with a 24-22, double-OT win at Auburn. Georgia was +750 to win it all in the preseason, the fourth-lowest odds, and was the favorite at -220 entering the SEC Championship Game.
“When you have a game with the two teams that were viewed as the best throughout the year and a game with such a close spread, you are going to get many different opinions on it. And that increases the betting action on it,” said Pullen. “This is such a naturally great matchup and one that is going to get everybody excited. With the expansion of sports betting across the country, including New York this weekend, this will be the biggest bet national championship game ever. And I would expect this will be our biggest handle for any game since the Super Bowl. You can’t ask for a better matchup.”


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