College Capper: National Championship Best Bets

College Capper: National Championship Best Bets

This article is part of our College Football Picks series.

GREG'S PICKS

I managed to close the bowl season with one of my best weeks of the 2021 season. My lone loss was Cincinnati, and my winners were Wake Forest, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Michigan State.

Now, let's see if we can close it out in style with one last winner. Before we get to the National Championship game, I should note that only the game pick will count towards my total. I will offer up some recommendations on some props, however.

All lines courtesy of draftkings.com

Georgia (-3) vs Alabama

This shapes up as one of the most interesting rematches in a long time. Entering the first match, Georgia was the unquestioned favorite, but after that game, there was no doubt that Alabama was the better team. A few weeks later however I'm wondering if the 'Tide was just the better team that day.

Alabama had its way with Georgia on offense, though mostly through the air. The game was close entering the 2nd quarter, but by the half, it was clear that this was Alabama's day.

So what's changed since then? Why is Georgia favored?

For starters, the performances of these two teams in the semifinals were drastically different. Yes, both teams won with ease, but while Georgia manhandled the tougher opponent (by most accounts), Alabama seemed to struggle to put away Cincinnati. Perhaps I'm not framing that correctly, there was never a doubt that Alabama was going to win that game and the 'Tide was extremely impressive on

GREG'S PICKS

I managed to close the bowl season with one of my best weeks of the 2021 season. My lone loss was Cincinnati, and my winners were Wake Forest, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Michigan State.

Now, let's see if we can close it out in style with one last winner. Before we get to the National Championship game, I should note that only the game pick will count towards my total. I will offer up some recommendations on some props, however.

All lines courtesy of draftkings.com

Georgia (-3) vs Alabama

This shapes up as one of the most interesting rematches in a long time. Entering the first match, Georgia was the unquestioned favorite, but after that game, there was no doubt that Alabama was the better team. A few weeks later however I'm wondering if the 'Tide was just the better team that day.

Alabama had its way with Georgia on offense, though mostly through the air. The game was close entering the 2nd quarter, but by the half, it was clear that this was Alabama's day.

So what's changed since then? Why is Georgia favored?

For starters, the performances of these two teams in the semifinals were drastically different. Yes, both teams won with ease, but while Georgia manhandled the tougher opponent (by most accounts), Alabama seemed to struggle to put away Cincinnati. Perhaps I'm not framing that correctly, there was never a doubt that Alabama was going to win that game and the 'Tide was extremely impressive on the ground and on defense, but there was little "shock and awe" about the game. I wasn't watching that game thinking, "my goodness, this is the best team in the country".

Now, fast forward an hour into the Georgia game and my jaw is on the ground at how the Bulldogs were manhandling what was thought to be a very stern test in Michigan. Maybe Michigan didn't have anything left after beating Ohio State and whooping Iowa in the Big 10 Championship, I don't know, but what I do know is that not for one moment did it appear that Michigan had a chance to win that game and that's saying a lot.

And that's how we ended up with Georgia as the favorite, but should it be?

In my estimation, there are two major factors playing into this line.

Let's start with adjustments. Alabama played nearly a perfect game the last time out against Georgia. The Bulldogs were likely aware that the game plan was to attack them through the air, but now that Georgia has seen it live, Georgia has the advantage of making the adjustment. Will 'Bama's counter adjustment work? Can Georgia even force a counter adjustment? Something tells me that the best defense in the country has the talent and coaching to slow down something that just beat them a few weeks ago. How the Dawgs respond to 'Bama's adjustment will tell the tale.

The other major factor is the absence of John Metchie. I don't think we can overstate how big this is. His absence didn't matter against Cincinnati because 'Bama was able to run that ball at will, but that won't be the case against Georgia. Georgia's secondary can now focus on one big problem in Jameson Williams, instead of two problems. I say this realizing that college teams can't always just take away a WR like the pros can do sometimes, heck, the Rose Bowl is proof of that, but if Georgia can hold up against the run, and there's no reason to think it can't, then it should have a better result of slowing 'Bama through the air.

As for 'Bama's defense vs. Georgia's offense, it seems like 'Bama's defense has improved throughout the year and I expect a good effort from that unit. With that said, Georgia's offense is peaking right now after having its way against Michigan. Let's now forget that the Bulldogs were able to move the ball on 'Bama as well in the first game, even before it got out of hand.    

If that weren't enough… though it's a cliché, it's hard to beat a team multiple times in a season when you are evenly matched. The team that won the first game won for a reason, maybe it had a better game plan or executed better, or both, but whatever the reason, you simply can't expect the rematch to play out the same way, things have a way of evening out (see adjustments above). Unless Alabama can come up with a new game plan that works, I think Georgia gets even here.

Additional Props

Over 249.5 passing yards and Over 1.5 passing TDs – Stetson Bennett

Georgia has morphed into quite the passing team lately and I expect that to continue. Either by choice or by game script, Bennett will be throwing a lot in this game.

Over 64.5 rushing yards – Brian Robinson

I'm expecting Alabama to change its game plan to feature more of Robinson, especially after what he did to Cincinnati and although I don't expect him to have a ton of success, I do expect 'Bama to give him enough opportunities (at least early) to get over this smallish number.

Over 30.5 receiving yards – George Pickens

Brock Bowers destroyed Alabama in the first matchup, so I'm expecting 'Bama to adjust and pay more attention to the big guy, which will leave more opportunity for Pickens, who actually beat this number in the first game going 2-41.

Over 6.5 receptions – Jameson Williams

If the game goes as I think, that'll mean that 'Bama will be in catch-up mode in the second half and although Georgia will do everything it can to limit Williams, you can't stop him from catching everything. 6.5 seems like a lot, but as Ohio State proved in the Rose Bowl, when you have a great weapon at WR, you can get him the ball as often as you want. It's what happens after he gets the ball that determines the final score. My guess is that 'Bama will try to feed Robinson early and sprinkle in Williams, and for that script to flip in the 2nd-half once they fall behind. The Bulldogs will let Williams and 'Bama beat them underneath, but they won't give up the big plays like the first time around.  


Bowl season record: 8-6

Chris' Pick(s)

All hail getting in early. My final week of published plays went well. My personal betting record didn't fare quite as such, as line movements between writing/publishing and me actually placing bit me in the rear. Wisconsin (-6) = cash money. Wisconsin (-7) at kick, milking the clock for eight minutes and then taking a knee = push. Still, a 4-1 week to close is awesome, pushing me back over .500 at 42-41.

On we go to one final game until next season. 'Bama and Georgia; a matchup my colleague and I both pegged completely incorrectly in Atlanta about a month ago. The line hasn't moved much at all and doesn't seem to reflect the previous result much either. 

I'm apparently unable to view player props via DraftKings.com living in Virginia but will toss in a few nuggets after an official pick, which is...

Alabama (+3) vs. Georgia

Big boss man John reached out to friends at WynnBet, and let's just say a large percentage of bets, and straight money, are on the Tide. That seems obvious given the first matchup, and scary at the same time as I back them. Given how the other bowls' spreads have moved in the 24 hours leading up to kickoff, this should be a fascinating watch. Despite all the funds on Alabama, the line hasn't fluctuated, yet.

On the field, Alabama went right at Georgia vertically in the SEC Championship, and the Dawgs were hit in the mouth and left flabbergasted. So what adjustments can be expected from Georgia? I'm not an expert, but it looked like UGA did a fair amount of stunting and blitzing up the middle, which failed miserably. I'm expecting them to follow a path similar to what Auburn and Texas A&M took against the Tide successfully, and that's rushing off of the edges and forcing QB Bryce Young out of the pocket. He was sacked 11 times in those two games. Yes, he's mobile, yes he can dump down to a running back, but he's been at his best getting the ball out quickly and letting his receivers work in space.

That brings us to the clear elephant in the room, or I guess out of the room. John Metchie. He had a 6-97-1 line in the last matchup and isn't available here. His presence allowed for single coverage on Jameson Williams, something that clearly won't be happening Monday night. I don't trust the Georgia safeties to help much, but Williams isn't going to repeat his success from the prior meeting either; he'll be bumped off the line and largely double-covered.

So what's going to happen? Georgia overcorrects. I love that Alabama went right at UGA through the air, lost a star wideout, and then came at Cincinnati as conservatively as possible, running the ball down their throats and putting minimal in terms of passing game adjustments on tape. I expect a heavy dose of RB Brian Robinson in the first half, with Nick Saban content to punt, play field position and attack as Georgia's offensive production dictates. And I think the Bulldogs will get out to an early lead. This Georgia defense remains elite and can make amends with a rebound effort and a win. That wouldn't be stunning. But I trust Saban and his staff's game planning. Conservative early, halftime adjustments galore, and a huge advantage at quarterback are more than enough to keep this close. When getting a field goal, I'm on 'Bama. If this moves given the public money, the line could be closer to even at kickoff...at which point, I do think the 'Dawgs can prevail, even if I severely question Stetson Bennett winning over Young.

Additional props

Over 52 points (-105)

The first matchup sat at 49 at kickoff, and Alabama almost covered that on their own. As good as Georgia's defense is, and as well as Alabama's defense is currently playing, I think this is going to open up as the game progresses. Do we really thing a Georgia 28-24 win is the final outcome? 

Georgia -0.5 1st quarter (+115)/1st half (-105)

Pick one or both. As noted above, I expect a quick start from Georgia, and if betting, you've simply got to pick a side and/or script, and go all in. These are the even lines I want out of UGA, and they're currently available. Of course, maybe 'Bama gets the ball first and we're behind early, so maybe wait to kickoff on the first quarter. But my game script has Georgia going to the locker room with a lead.

James Cook OVER 20.5 receiving yards (-115)

As noted above, I'm flying blind thanks to a state that somehow blocks college player props, and also thinks banning betting on in-state college teams helps prevent shaving. Whatever. Cook has been the Bulldogs' best running back over the last month and should get chances isolated against linebackers. He caught four for 28 in the previous matchup, and I'd be stunned if he doesn't get at least four catches here, with more success. He turned four into 114 against Michigan. I don't expect him to flirt with a 71 yard/gm average, but I also see value when the number is this low. 

Ja'Corey Brooks all everything

Brooks is what I expect to be Alabama's second-half monster. You can't replace Metchie's experience, but Brooks is a five-star talent who's the Tide's next big thing. His 4-66-1 line against the Bearcats is just scratching the surface of what's to come. I can't imagine the props are anywhere near those totals, which makes me feel even stronger about going all-in on the freshman. Yards and anytime scorer for sure, receptions if at 5 or less.

Editor's note: Brooks' over/under for receiving yardage sits at 45.5 and his anytime touchdown scorer prop is at +215 as of 1/7

Want to Read More?
Subscribe to RotoWire to see the full article.

We reserve some of our best content for our paid subscribers. Plus, if you choose to subscribe you can discuss this article with the author and the rest of the RotoWire community.

Get Instant Access To This Article Get Access To This Article
RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only College Football Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire College Football fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Chris Bennett
Bennett covers baseball, college football and college basketball for RotoWire. Before turning to fantasy writing, he worked in scouting/player development for the Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos. He's also a fan of the ACC.
Greg Vara
Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the FSWA Golf Writer of the Year in 2005 and 2013. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.
College Football Fantasy Five: Big 12 Analytics, Systems and Trends
College Football Fantasy Five: Big 12 Analytics, Systems and Trends
College Football Fantasy Five: ACC Analytics, Systems and Trends
College Football Fantasy Five: ACC Analytics, Systems and Trends
College Football Fantasy Five: Big Ten Offensive Analytics and Trends
College Football Fantasy Five: Big Ten Offensive Analytics and Trends
College Football Fantasy Five: Top 2022 Head Coach Changes for CFF
College Football Fantasy Five: Top 2022 Head Coach Changes for CFF