The rematch is set. Top-ranked Alabama (13-1) and third-ranked Georgia (13-1) square off in an All-SEC national championship game at 7 p.m.
The red-hot Alabama Crimson Tide open as an underdog despite an eight-game winning streak and win over the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC championship game. The line sits at for the Tide.
The 2022 national championship game will be played indoors at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis so weather will not be a factor.
How to watch the national championship game
- What: No. 3 Georgia (13-1) vs. No. 1 Alabama (13-1)
- When: 7 p.m. tonight
- Where: Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis
- TV: Disney brings back its “MegaCast” for the national championship game. ESPN will have the main broadcast. ESPN2 features a film room broadcast with Jimbo Fisher and the Texas A&M coaching staff. ESPNU has a Command Center telecast with different angles, stats and real-time drive charts. Finally, ESPNEWS has the SkyCast with different commentary and a popular view from above the action.
How to bet on the national championship game in Iowa
Iowa has 17 different sportsbooks to choose from. If you’d like to use the national championship game for your first bet, we’ll help you find some great offers. A DraftKings Iowa college football offer is good through tonight’s game, for example.
Not to be outdone, FanDuel in Iowa has a “bet $5, win $150” offer for either team. This also is for new customers. It’s worth noting that FanDuel will pay out the bet with real money — not in bonus bet credits.
Elite Sportsbook touched base with PlayIA about a week ago. The company saw 66 percent of bettors leaning on Alabama.
That usually causes the line to move in the Crimson Tide’s direction. But, the line actually moved from 2.5 points in Georgia’s favor to 3. (You can still find a 2.5 spread depending on where you look.)
Betting trends to watch for
Elite says about 60% of bettors early last week were hitting the over while 81% of the money was also on the over. Many sports betting markets in Iowa have Alabama as an underdog on the moneyline, anywhere from +115 to +125. Georgia is getting a line in the neighborhood of the -140 range.
The College Football Playoff Final has an over/under of around 52 points, depending on where you look. Most sportsbooks had the total at 52.5 on game day. DraftKings had the total at 52 and BetRivers Sportsbook in Iowa set the total at 53.
The Crimson Tide held Georgia to its lowest point total of the year in the SEC title game (24) while Alabama’s weakest outing was in a 20-14 win over LSU back on Nov. 6. The defending national champions were favored by 29 points in that game.
- Alabama has crossed the 35-point plateau in 10 of their 14 games this year, averaging 48.5 points per game (second-best in the nation).
- The Crimson Tide have gone under the total in nine games this year while Georgia has hit the under on eight occasions.
- Alabama is 8-6 against the spread this year while Georgia is 9-5. The Bulldogs’ most impressive win this year is their dominating victory over second-ranked Michigan in the semifinals. Naturally, Alabama recovered nicely after a shocking, 42-41 loss to Texas A&M early in the year.
- This rematch is certainly tough to handicap, pitting one of the nation’s top defenses — Georgia, holding opponents to 9.5 points per game (No. 1 in the nation) – against an elite offense – Alabama averages 494.6 yards per game.
How the national championship match was set
Both Georgia and Alabama made relatively quick work of their semifinal opponents on New Year’s Eve, with each squad easily covering the line. The Bulldogs thumped the Michigan Wolverines 34-11, racing out to a 27-3 first-half lead over the Big Ten champions. That game closed with Georgia as a 7.5-point favorite, though the over hit by just a hair, with the final number coming in at 46.5 points.
Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett threw for an efficient 313 yards and three touchdowns, completing 20-of-30 passing attempts. His favorite target was James Cook, who hauled in four passes for 112 yards and a touchdown. Georgia’s defense was at the top of its game, forcing four turnovers while holding the Wolverines to 91 yards rushing.
Alabama stifled the upstart Cincinnati Bearcats, 27-6 in its semifinal matchup, covering the 13-point spread while finishing well under the total of 57.5 points. Young was held to his lowest passing output of the year by the Cincy defense, mustering just 181 yards though he did toss three touchdown passes to go with a single interception.
The Crimson Tide managed to do most of their damage on the ground, led by Brian Robinson who gained 204 yards on 26 carries for a yards per carry average of 7.8. Alabama rushed for 301 yards as a team, averaging 6.4 yards per carry.
These two rivals most recently met in the SEC title game back on Dec. 4, with Alabama pulling a slight upset of the then-undefeated and top-ranked Georgia Bulldogs – who were six-point favorites. The Crimson Tide prevailed in a 41-24 drubbing, a mark that shattered the 49-point total set at sportsbooks.
Bettors could see history at the national championship
Alabama coach Nick Saban has led the Crimson Tide to seven national championship victories. They are making their 10th national championship game appearance under his leadership.
The Crimson Tide’s Heisman Trophy-winning-quarterback Bryce Young has thrown for 4,503 yards, 46 touchdowns and just five interceptions, having completed 67.6 percent of his pass attempts.
The sophomore quarterback was at his peak during the SEC title game against Georgia, throwing for 421 yards and three touchdowns in the playoff-clinching victory, which likely secured himself the Heisman.
Naturally, Saban will have his team prepared for the rematch with the Bulldogs. He told reporters he doesn’t plan on tweaking his game plan too much.
“There are some subtle changes that you need to make so you (give) your players the best chance to be successful. There is always going to be something different so players will have to adapt in the game. I don’t think you do everything the same, but I don’t think you can make a lot of changes so the players can’t go out and execute with confidence. The changes you need to make are relative to what you did well or didn’t do and some of the things they took advantage of.”
Even after losing last year’s Heisman winner in DeVonta Smith and a first round quarterback in Mac Jones, the Crimson Tide are back in the national championship for the fifth time in the last six years. The only year ‘Bama did not reach the title game during that stretch was in 2020.
Why Georgia is a favorite
Georgia’s defense is elite, holding opponents to 254 yards per game while garnering 41 sacks, fifth-best in the nation. The Bulldogs boast four athletes with at least five sacks, led by Nakobe Dean with six. Georgia is led by coach Kirby Smart, a former Saban assistant. Georgia last won a championship in 1980 behind the talents of Hershel Walker. The Bulldogs have only won two titles in program history, the other coming in 1942.
Georgia was rolling through its schedule until their SEC championship debacle against Alabama. The Bulldogs had dismantled 11 of their previous 12 opponents by at least double digits before stumbling against the Crimson Tide.
Smart says his team isn’t necessarily focused on if Alabama will change their plan of attack as much as the Bulldogs need to tighten things up and execute better.
“When you play a rematch, a lot can go into it. You have to be careful. You have things in your (film) breakdown that might change this game. What tendencies changed, what matchups you’re looking for. Who’s in and who’s out. At the end of the day, you aren’t worried about what they are doing, you’re worried about what you are doing and how well you can do that is the most important part.”
Alabama’s defense is feisty as well, having secured 46 total sacks and 15 interceptions while holding opponents to 19 points per game.
Georgia also boasts a top 10 offense, averaging 38.8 points per game (ninth in the nation) led by Bennett, who has thrown for 2,638 yards, 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions with a completion percentage of 64 percent.