B/R College Football 2022 Betting Locks with Adam Kramer: National ChampionshipJanuary 6, 2022
The journey to arrive here has been long. Satisfying. Frustrating. Thrilling.
It has been filled with good gambling opinions, bad gambling opinions, bad beats, good wins and everything in between.
But that journey will not end until the college football season is officially complete. And with the national championship yet to be decided, we've got work to do.
Locks of the Week, our weekly picks against the spread, got hot as the stakes attached to the bowl games increased. Our College Football Playoff semifinals and New Year's Day picks finished 4-1. The only miss, and it was a big one, was picking Michigan (+7.5) against the spread.
Outside that, the picks were clean.
One game remains. Alabama and Georgia (Part 2) will close out the season Monday in Indianapolis.
While this column normally focuses on multiple contests across grand slates of games, our opinions are limited this week to one game—albeit the biggest of games.
Still, there are multiple ways to bet. And bet we shall.
Let's close out Locks of the Week in style.
Georgia (-3) vs. Alabama
First, some transparency.
I bet Georgia to win the national championship before the season began. In fact, I told my magnificent readers at Bleacher Report to bet the Bulldogs at +650 (bet $100 to win $650) to win the title back in August.
Is this a humble brag of sorts? You bet. Here's what I wrote back then:
"It could come down to Alabama yet again in the SEC Championship Game. After that? We'll have to wait and see.
"If the team stays healthy, it should match up with anyone. The talent on this sideline is staggering, and it's time for that to finally flourish on the grandest stage."
The talent has been overwhelming for all but one week. The kicker, of course, is that the only team that made Georgia look mortal was Alabama.
Fast-forward more than a month, however, and things look a tad different. In the Orange Bowl, the Bulldogs absolutely dominated Michigan—an opponent I thought they might struggle with—to cruise to the national championship.
The defense limited the Wolverines to 11 points. And the offense, despite operating with a lead for the entire game, totaled 34 points and 521 yards.
Stetson Bennett was superb at quarterback with 313 yards passing, three touchdowns and no picks, and the play-calling was spectacular as well. As we look ahead to the rematch, Bennett's play will be critical. Although he won't be going at it alone.
Tight end Brock Bowers (five catches, 55 yards, one TD) and running back James Cook (144 total yards and a TD) were both excellent against Michigan, and that trend should continue. Bowers is one of the most exciting tight ends college football has seen in some time.
While the Georgia offense looked somewhat lost against Alabama the last time out, a month of film should go a long way.
The same can be said for the defense, which had no answers for Alabama QB Bryce Young when the two teams met in the SEC title game. Young accounted for more than 400 yards and four touchdowns and won the Heisman Trophy with his performance against the Georgia defense.
If he plays that way again, Alabama will likely win. I just don't think he'll be able to duplicate that effort. I also don't expect running back Brian Robinson Jr. to run for more than 200 yards—something he did against Cincinnati in the semis.
Both players are exceptional. But the Georgia defense is different, and I view the Alabama performance as more of an outlier than anything else.
Yes, the two teams played. Yes, Alabama won convincingly. Yes, fading the best coach to ever grace a sideline with visual evidence that he had the better team just a month ago sounds somewhat misguided.
Heck, it might be.
But I'm going to do it regardless. Georgia is the more talented team, which is not something I'm sure I've ever said about an Alabama opponent under Nick Saban.
The Bulldogs finally climb the mountain.
Georgia vs. Alabama (Over 52)
It's the national championship. We can't just bet a side.
The outcome has already been outlined. Georgia will win the rematch. But what will the flow of the game look like? Specifically, how many points will be scored?
The first game featured 65 points. I don't expect this total to be that high.
What's most interesting about the total points is how we arrived there. There were three points scored in the first quarter, 38 in the second, seven in the third and 17 in the fourth.
That second quarter was wild. It's also when the game flipped in Alabama's favor.
Should we be alarmed that so much of the output came in a 15-minute stretch? When you consider that two quarters featured a combined 10 points, things will probably even out.
While Georgia's defensive star power is likely to be the deciding factor in the game, Young will still find ways to manufacture points. Alabama won't hit the 40-point mark again, although I don't expect this game to be a punt party either.
The Bulldogs should be able to find more offensive success than they did in the last game. While Alabama's defense was superb against Cincinnati—and linebacker Will Anderson Jr. is the best college football player on the planet right now—slowing down this offense will be a much different task.
Georgia could have scored much more than 34 points against Michigan. Rather than push it, however, the Bulldogs sat on the football for almost an entire half.
There will be points. Well, some.
This won't be the Rose Bowl. It won't be a waterfall of touchdowns. But there will be enough to crack the over.
Georgia 31, Alabama 24.
Odds via DraftKings and accurate as of Tuesday.
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).