College Football Championship 2022: Odds, Critical Matchups in UGA vs. Alabama
The Alabama Crimson Tide and Georgia Bulldogs played to their strengths to reach the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship.
Alabama made up for the loss of top wide receiver John Metchie and the difficult matchup versus the Cincinnati Bearcats defensive backs by running the ball with a ton of success.
The SEC champion ran for 301 yards in the Cotton Bowl to set up a rematch with Georgia from the SEC Championship Game.
Georgia flexed its defensive muscle in the Orange Bowl, holding the Michigan Wolverines without a touchdown until the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs are listed as a short favorite for the January 10 clash in Indianapolis. Alabama was also the underdog in the first meeting between the SEC rivals in December.
National Championship Odds
Spread: Georgia (-2.5)
Moneyline: Georgia -140 (bet $140 to win $100); Alabama +120 (bet $100 to win $120)
Georgia is listed as the favorite for its second straight matchup with Alabama.
The Bulldogs were favored by a touchdown for the SEC Championship Game because they were viewed as an untouchable team going into Atlanta. Alabama thrived in the underdog role and torched the Georgia defense in the process.
Georgia's defensive dominance in the Orange Bowl is one of the many factors that led to it becoming a short favorite for the championship game.
Metchie's absence could hurt the Crimson Tide offense more against Georgia because the Bulldogs are much better on the interior than Cincinnati.
Alabama may be forced to win the contest through Bryce Young's arm, which is a more difficult task without its top wide receiver.
Georgia held all but one of its 14 opponents under 20 points, and it should be plenty motivated to reverse its poor performance against Alabama, in which it conceded 41 points.
The over/under of 52.5 points seems attainable with the offensive talent on both rosters, but neither over hit in the national semifinals.
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.
Brian Robinson Jr. vs. Georgia's Front 7
Alabama produced a phenomenal game plan to get over its shortcomings in the passing game against Cincinnati.
The Crimson Tide were without Metchie and Jameson Williams faced a tough matchup against Ahmad Gardner and Coby Bryant.
Alabama avoided the reliance of the passing game by running the ball at will through Brian Robinson Jr., who finished with 204 yards on 26 carries.
The Crimson Tide will not have the similar level of success on the ground against Georgia's front seven. The Bulldogs held Michigan to 91 rushing yards in the Orange Bowl, which is a high total by the team's standards.
Georgia gives up 81.7 rushing yards per contest, and it should make life miserable on Robinson from the first snap on January 10.
Alabama can either scheme up run plays that take Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean out of the play or shift to the passing attack to take advantage of Georgia's secondary.
Bryce Young only had 28 passing attempts versus Cincinnati. That number could inflate as high as 40 if Robinson can't get any traction in the ground game.
That might allow Georgia to either tee off on the Heisman Trophy winner in the pass rush or commit an extra player to Williams. The extra body thrown at Alabama's No. 1 wide receiver would force the less experienced wide receivers in the Alabama squad to beat Georgia.
Stetson Bennett vs. Alabama's Secondary
Stetson Bennett came away from the SEC Championship Game with plenty of critics.
The Georgia quarterback hit back at all of them in the Orange Bowl, as he threw for 313 yards and three touchdowns in the 34-11 win over Michigan.
Bennett was much less effective against Alabama in Atlanta. He was picked off twice and only averaged 7.1 yards per completion.
Georgia needs Bennett to play at his Orange Bowl level to either stick with Alabama in a high-scoring game, or pull away in a contest controlled by the Bulldogs defense.
The pass-catching running backs in Georgia's offense made Bennett's life easier on New Year's Eve. James Cook torched the Wolverines for 112 yards on four catches. Cook and tight end Brock Bowers, who had 139 yards in the SEC Championship Game, will be vital to Bennett's success in Indianapolis.
George Pickens' continued return to health from a torn ACL and Ladd McConkey will be important as well to spread out the Alabama secondary.
The Crimson Tide held Desmond Ridder to 144 passing yards in the Cotton Bowl, thanks in part to a ton of interior pressure.
Georgia's offensive line is built better to defend the NFL talent on the Alabama defensive line, which should buy more time for Bennett in the pocket.
The January 10 showdown could come down to how well Bennett performs in that potentially clean pocket. If he plays like he did on New Year's Eve, the Bulldogs stand a good chance to topple the Crimson Tide.
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