College Football Playoff betting: Georgia opens as a favorite over Alabama ahead of national title game

Alabama is an underdog to Georgia again.

The Bulldogs open as 2.5-point favorites at BetMGM over the Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff national championship game on Jan. 10. Georgia beat Michigan 34-11 in the Orange Bowl on Friday night after Alabama beat Cincinnati 27-6 in the Cotton Bowl.

Alabama beat Georgia 41-24 in the SEC championship game on Dec. 4. Georgia entered that game as a 6.5-point favorite as Alabama was an underdog for just the third time since 2008.

The Crimson Tide have won all three games straight up as an underdog too. Since losing 31-20 as a 10-point underdog to Florida in the 2008 SEC title game, Alabama has beaten Florida 32-13 as a 5-point underdog in 2009. Georgia as a 1-point underdog in 2015 and then the Bulldogs again four weeks ago.

We wouldn’t be surprised to see the line move towards Alabama given the Tide’s small sample size success as an underdog under Nick Saban. And also because of what happened in Atlanta earlier in December. Alabama’s quick passing game had the Georgia defense off balance and Georgia’s offense wasn’t capable of coming back after Alabama took the lead.

The Bulldogs have lost both games against Alabama started by QB Stetson Bennett by a score of 41-24. Bennett has thrown five interceptions combined in those two games. If Georgia is going to win outright and get the school’s first national title since 1980, he’ll have to play much more like he did against Michigan. Bennett was 20-of-30 passing for 310 yards and three touchdowns against the Wolverines.

The early total for the national title game is 52.5 points. That line is clearly banking on some defensive adjustments from both Nick Saban and Kirby Smart after the 65 combined points in each of the last two matchups. The lowest-scoring game between Smart and Saban as head coaches came when they met in the 2018 national title game. Alabama won that game 26-23 in overtime after Tua Tagovailoa found DeVonta Smith for the game-winning touchdown pass.