Georgia vs. Alabama: Odds, Top X-Factors for CFP National Championship 2022

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJanuary 3, 2022

Georgia defensive back Derion Kendrick celebrates after intercepting a pass intended for Michigan wide receiver Daylen Baldwin during the second half of the Orange Bowl NCAA College Football Playoff semifinal game, Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

The Alabama Crimson Tide carry the edge in experience over the Georgia Bulldogs heading into the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship.

However, there is one player on the Georgia roster with experience at the national championship game level, which could be vital to the team's success January 10.

Derion Kendrick, a transfer from the Clemson Tigers, has played in five CFB playoff contests, including the 2020 championship game. He will be one of the Georgia defensive backs tasked with slowing down the Alabama wide receiver group inside Lucas Oil Stadium.

Alabama should throw the ball much more against Georgia than it did in the Cotton Bowl against the Cincinnati Bearcats because the matchup is better on paper.

The Crimson Tide need to keep Bryce Young upright in passing situations against Georgia's tremendous front seven. The SEC champion's potential top-five NFL draft pick needs to be massive in pass-protect situations to give it the best shot of repeating as national champion.


CFB National Championship Odds

Spread: Georgia -3

Over/Under: 52

Moneyline: Georgia -145 (bet $145 to win $100); Alabama +125 (bet $100 to win $125)

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.


Top X-Factors

Derion Kendrick, CB, Georgia

Kendrick's extensive playoff experience could be invaluable for Georgia early in the contest.

The senior defensive back should not be fazed by the moment, and he could come up with a few big plays in the first half that swing the momentum in Georgia's favor.

Kendrick and his teammates in the secondary will be tasked with slowing down Jameson Williams, who had seven catches for 62 yards in the Cotton Bowl. That's a rather pedestrian total for Alabama's top healthy wide receiver. Cincinnati's defensive back duo of Ahmad Gardner and Coby Bryant saw Alabama opt to run the ball more to avoid throwing into the tough matchup on a consistent basis.

The Crimson Tide know what to expect out of the Georgia secondary, which could lead to a few more deep shots from Young. The Heisman Trophy winner totaled 421 yards and three touchdowns through the air in December's SEC Championship Game.

Kendrick's impact likely will not be seen in the stat sheet. He had a single tackle in the first matchup with Alabama and made four tackles versus the Michigan Wolverines. The veteran defensive back needs to contain Alabama's top playmaker and make sure the other wide receivers do not get free for long gains when he is matched up against them in coverage.

Georgia's secondary needs to play much better than it did against Alabama in Atlanta. If the Bulldogs contain the Crimson Tide passing attack, they stand a good chance of coming home with the national title.


Evan Neal, OL,  Alabama

Evan Neal needs one more standout performance in an Alabama jersey to seal his second national championship.

Neal is the highest-rated NFL draft prospect who will participate in the CFP championship game. He is the No. 5 prospect in the draft class, per Pro Football Focus' latest rankings.

Pro Football Focus noted that Neal conceded 22 pressure in his starts at left and right tackle over the past two seasons.

Neal can neutralize one side of the Georgia pass rush to give Bryce Young plenty of time in the pocket to pick apart the Bulldogs secondary. Young was sacked twice in the Cotton Bowl but did not suffer a sack in the SEC Championship Game.

Georgia's pass rush must get more pressure on Young to avoid the same fate it suffered in December, but its best path to success will come away from Neal.

Neal is a behemoth on the interior and has terrific agility for someone his size (6'7", 350 pounds). He will not win the Most Valuable Player award January 10, but he will go down as one of Alabama's most important players if the Crimson Tide come away with the victory.


If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL).

Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (CO), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), or call or text the TN REDLINE: 800-889-9789 (TN).

21+. NJ/PA/WV/IN/IA/CO/IL/TN only. In partnership with Meadows Racetrack & Casino. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.