Bowl Predictions 2021: Projections and Odds For CFP Final and Top Matchups

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 5, 2021

Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams (1) runs toward the end zone for a touchdown against Georgia during the second half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson
Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

The two College Football Playoff participants from the SEC are favored in the national semifinals set to take place on New Years' Eve.

The top-seeded Alabama Crimson Tide are favored by 13.5 points over the fourth-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats in the Cotton Bowl.

Despite losing to Alabama, the Georgia Bulldogs are still favored by seven points for their Orange Bowl clash with the Michigan Wolverines. Georgia is the lower-seeded team in the matchup.

Alabama and Georgia come into their respective matchups with playoff experience, while Cincinnati and Michigan are taking part in their first-ever playoff fields. 

If the spreads are any indicator of the semifinal results, Alabama and Georgia are headed for a SEC Championship Game rematch in the National Championship Game. 

Covering and winning will not be as easy for the SEC sides since Cincinnati and Michigan have been tough to beat all season, and in Cincinnati's case, it hasn't been beaten.


College Football Playoff Odds

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College Football Playoff Odds @DKSportsbook 🔥 Alabama (-13.5) vs. Cincinnati Georgia (-7) vs. Michigan Who ya got? https://t.co/nIRjGOJ2kB



No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Cincinnati (+13.5) 

Alabama should be heavily favored in the Cotton Bowl because of its stature compared to Cincinnati.

Nick Saban's team is a constant fixture in the national semifinals and proved it could win a big game in Saturday's SEC Championship Game. 

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young is now the likely Heisman Trophy winner, and he could be in for another big day against the Bearcats. 

However, Young will be without one key part of his offense. Wide receiver John Metchie III tore his ACL in Saturday's win over Georgia. 

Young still has Jameson Williams, Slade Bolden and Jahleel Billingsley to work with against the Cincinnati secondary, but he will be without his 1,000-yard wide receiver.

Cincinnati's offense is no slouch either, as quarterback Desmond Ridder tore apart opposing defenses all season. He threw for 3,190 yards and 30 touchdown this season and also ran for 361 yards and six scores. The dual-threat ability of Ridder and 1,200-yard rusher Jerome Ford will test the Alabama defense. 

After all, this is still an Alabama team that conceded 41 points in its loss to the Texas A&M Aggies and 24 points on Saturday. 

If Ridder, Ford and Co. score early, the Bearcats can stick within two touchdowns of the No. 1 seed. Winning is a different story against the experienced Tide, but the game should remain competitive. 


No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 3 Georgia (-7) 

Georgia's defense is a bad matchup for Michigan's offense. 

The Bulldogs' biggest strength is its front seven, while Michigan is most effective on offense with Hassan Haskins and its collection of running backs. 

Georgia boasts the No. 3 rushing defense (81.7 rushing yards per game) and No. 1 scoring defense. 

Jordan Davis, Nakobe Dean and the rest of the UGA front seven could wreak havoc on the Michigan offensive line and make it difficult to move the ball. If that happens, Michigan will be forced to air the ball out against two of the best cornerbacks in the country in Chris Smith and Derion Kendrick.

Georgia's offense was overshadowed by its defense throughout the season, but it still produced 24 or more points in all but one of its games. 

If the Bulldogs double-team Heisman candidate Aidan Hutchinson, they could run the ball with success and move into an early lead. 

Michigan can keep it close with Georgia if Hutchinson and Co. thrive on the interior, but it may be hard for its offense to create much momentum against a defense that dominated most of its opponents.


CFB Playoff Final Projection

No. 3 Georgia def. No. 1 Alabama

Georgia would love nothing more than to spoil Alabama's title hopes while earning revenge in the national championship game.

The Bulldogs defense should make the proper adjustments to deal with Alabama's skill position players, and the absence of Metchie for the Tide could hurt them against UGA's top corners.

Georgia still put up 24 points on the Alabama defense, and if the Bulldogs contain Young and Co. better than Saturday, it could remain a low-scoring game that the Bulldogs would love to play in. 


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