2018 National Championship Game Preview and Prediction
2018 National Championship Betting Preview
With the title game being held in Atlanta, Georgia - the site of the SEC Championship game every year - this college football championship game has so much SEC flavour it's unreal.
We've got two SEC teams playing in a SEC stadium with an upstart Georgia program looking to knock off big, bad Alabama. This was the game everyone expected to see in the SEC Championship back in early December, not for the National Title, but with how anticipated this matchup is, for a variety of reasons, I guess it's better late than never.
Nick Saban Undefeated Vs. Former Assistants
Possibly the most overhyped storyline coming into this title game (among many) is the fact that Nick Saban is a perfect 11-0 SU when he's coaching against one of his former assistants. If Alabama wins another title - their 5th in 9 years - that number will get routed to the moon.
However, none of those losses have been on Georgia Head Coach Kirby Smart's watch and he's the lone assistant on that entire list that spent the most time under Saban. Seeing how Saban reacts to any and every situation on both sides of the ball could work in Smart's favor here, especially when Saban's really only seen how Smart reacts on defense in those spots.
Secondly, Smart is basically the only guy on that list that had a direct hand in recruiting many of the current players he'll be up against. Nearly all of those other assistants that have gone 0-11 SU faced Saban years later when the outlook of Saban's teams were much different. But Smart recruited and coached a lot of Alabama's guys on defense and that's another fact some Alabama backers are conveniently ignoring for this game.
Alabama Vs. Georgia National Championship Odds
Alabama (-4) vs. Georgia: Total 44.5 (Odds Taken from Sports Interaction)
Oddsmakers have put this number basically in the perfect spot because they know Georgia will get some love being that this is basically a home game for them, but Alabama has long been considered the better team all year and has to be favored.
The Crimson Tide can't be listed below a FG either as sportsbooks will simply get pounded with Alabama money in that scenario, and that means that if you are hoping for a better number, you likely aren't going to get it. Alabama at -3.5 is about as best as you'll get so you'll have to live with that.
That being said, the perspective of this matchup with the Tide being the proven champion and all the talk about Nick Saban beating up on his former assistants, I do expect to see this number climb higher in Alabama's favor as we get closer to kickoff.
No matter the number, you know there are going to be plenty of bettors who simply can't go against Saban and the Tide in a Championship game like this and it's going to be the majority side. In fact, Alabama tickets on the point spread and SU are already being written at a 75% clip.Pick Georgia +4 SportsInteraction
Reputations are just that and that alone, as this Alabama team may be great, but reputations don't always equate to winning championships. The Crimson Tide are still very banged up on defense, and with these two teams liking going after one another in a very physical game from start to finish, those missing players could come back to haunt Alabama in the 4th quarter. The Tide may have redemption on their minds for losing in this game a year ago, but they might have to wait at least another year to get their rings and National Title.
Georgia is more than capable of winning this game outright, and Kirby Smart shouldn't fall victim to the same mistakes former Saban assistants have made. Those guys often feared the physicality Saban's teams would bring to their new squads and it showed on the scoreboard, but Smart was responsible for a lot of that physicality during his time under Saban and brought that entire mentality to this Georgia program.
Smart and his Georgia players do not fear Alabama in the slightest - this is the game they've wanted all year - and they'll come out and prove that they can definitely hang with Alabama in both stature and reputation. Led by the RB duo of Sony Michel and Nick Chubb, Georgia's physical running game will take advantage of an injured Alabama defense as this game goes on and could even pull away in the 4th quarter.
While I do believe Georgia wins this game SU to put an end to that Saban vs Assistants narrative, with a game that's expected to be close the entire way, I'm being safe here and taking the points. That way it covers me should Alabama win by with a late FG or something along those lines.
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