The stage is set for Monday night’s College Football Playoff National Championship.

It all comes down to this.

The No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide will clash with the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs in a rematch of the SEC Championship game, which the Crimson Tide won 41-24.

Both teams are coming off decisive wins in their respective semi-finals, and it will be very interesting to see how this game is similar or differentiates from their battle in early December.

Here is my approach to betting on the national title game from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis at 8 p.m. ET Monday.


No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs at No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide

Spread: Georgia -3
Total: 52

Despite a 17-point win by Alabama in the SEC Championship game, Georgia will be the favourite for the rematch. I think it has a lot to do with a combination of things.

First, the Bulldogs looked great last week in an absolutely dominant win over Michigan, which made the Alabama loss look a lot more like an anomaly for this defence that has otherwise been dominant.

Then there is the motivation factor. Whether or not they won or lost that game, Georgia was going to make the playoffs. On the other hand, the Tide needed a win just to get to the playoffs.

Third, there is the absence of Brampton, Ont.,’s John Metchie from the Alabama lineup. Metchie tore his ACL in that SEC final game and has been the safety net for quarterback Bryce Young all season.

Last week, the Crimson Tide turned big-play threat Jameson Williams into more of a possession receiver and, while it worked, I’m not sure that is the way to beat this Georgia defence. Alabama will not be able to pound Brian Robinson up the middle for 200 yards and play bully ball the way they did against Cincinnati. For the Tide to win this game, I think someone will need to emerge outside of Williams as a playmaker and that player could be freshman wide receiver Ja’Corey Brooks.  Brooks had a touchdown in the game last week and is a big-time athlete. Odds for him to score anytime are +450 and to score twice, +5000.  Either of these props is worth a shot regardless of who you think will win this game.

If Georgia can dominate in the trenches like they did last week, I do favour them in this game. It is never a good idea to go against Nick Saban, especially against one of his former assistant coaches, but it’s hard to see this Bulldogs’ defence getting marched on like they did in the previous meeting. Alabama’s path to winning this game is to get an early lead and try and make QB Stetson Bennett lead a come-from-behind win and have a future top-five pick Will Anderson terrorizing him in the backfield all day. They will need Williams to make big plays and someone else to emerge as a chain mover.

For Georgia, they need to establish the run game and take some shots down the field to either Brock Bowers or James Cook, who is a very effective receiver for a running back. As well, linebacker Nakobe Dean is a heat seeking missile in the run game and with Jordan Davis and the big boys up front they will collectively need to shut down the Alabama run game. Bryce Young is obviously talented but I don’t see the Tide offensive game plan from last week working against this Georgia. If Young cannot take the head off this defence like he did in the previous matchup, I think Georgia wins this game and covers. I’m going to go with the old mantra that defence wins championships and roll with the Dawgs here.

The Pick: Georgia -3

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