The college football season concludes Monday night with the top two teams in the nation facing off in Indianapolis. The Alabama Crimson Tide are 2.5-point underdogs despite throttling the Georgia Bulldogs 41-24 in the SEC championship game a little over a month ago. There is one question looming on the minds of bettors contemplating which SEC powerhouse to back: Can Kirby Smart beat Nick Saban?
Saban is 4-0 against Smart and stands firmly as his final challenge on the path of bringing Georgia a national title. Despite my respect for Saban's ability to dominate on the biggest stages, I am betting this is the year Smart overcomes his mentor and brings Georgia the trophy that has eluded the program since 1980.
If there was one thing we learned from the first game, Georgia needs to get pressure and disrupt Bryce Young. Alabama's injury situation on the offensive line will make the task of keeping the Heisman Trophy winner clean even more difficult this time around. The offensive line had a remarkable performance in the SEC title game, but asking for a repeat against a historically talented defensive line is a bit too much. The Bulldogs' defense will create more havoc and Georgia's offense will perform much better without the pressure of having to come from behind.
You can bet Georgia -2.5 (-115) or -145 on the money line at BetMGM. As the line continues to move in Georgia's direction, it's only going to get more expensive to back the Bulldogs. This presents an opportunity for bettors to creatively utilize the wide range of bets available to get money on Georgia at better odds than the standard spread or moneyline bet provide. Here are three bets at +125 or greater that I think are solid wagers, considering Georgia's anticipated path to victory. You can play these as standalone bets or add them with a small stake to supplement your spread or moneyline wager. Best of luck and go, Dawgs!
Halftime/Final (excluding OT) : Georgia/Georgia (+130)
Georgia had very little experience playing from behind this season and it showed in the SEC championship. Once Alabama pulled ahead in the second quarter, the Bulldogs became predictable on offense and allowed Bama's defense to tee off with pressure.
I expect Bulldogs offensive coordinator Todd Monken to attack Alabama's secondary early and do everything in his power to get Georgia on the board first. The Bulldogs executed a 97-yard touchdown drive in the first quarter of the SEC championship, and their first two drives against Michigan resulted in touchdowns. If you are betting the Bulldogs to win, you are already banking on them playing in front with the lead. It's a key factor to them having success in this game. The halftime money line is already part of the handicap and creates an opportunity to bet Georgia at plus-money odds.
Moneyline and Total Points: Georgia and Over 41.5 (+125)
In the last four matchups, these two teams tallied an average combined score of 59.75. The lowest was Alabama's 26-23 win in the 2018 national championship. The 49 points still landed 7.5 points over the mark you need to hit to cash this bet. The last three meetings each produced 63 points or more.
Bryce Young played perfectly in the SEC championship. I am betting the Georgia defensive front has much more success this time around, but the Alabama offense is too good to keep out of the 20s. If you are betting Georgia to win, adding over 41.5 points is a great way to bolster your return with +125 odds.
Georgia Team Total: Over 29.5 (+125)
Georgia has scored at least 23 points in all four of its previous losses against Alabama and it wasn't enough. It's very reasonable to believe it's going to take 30 points or more to beat Alabama. The Bulldogs' offense showed it can have success against the Crimson Tide's defense as long as it does not fall behind by multiple scores.
Alabama cornerbacks Josh Jobe and Jalyn Armour-Davis are banged up with significant injuries, and Georgia can exploit that while TE Brock Bowers commands attention in the middle of the field. RB James Cook had 112 receiving yards against Michigan and racked up 101 yards on four receptions against Alabama last year. Utilizing Cook and taking advantage of WR George Pickens on the outside against a vulnerable secondary is going to give the Bulldogs enough firepower to get into the 30s. If the Georgia moneyline odds aren't attractive, this is another creative way to bet on the Bulldogs' success.