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Nick Saban's Underdog Record Should Concern Georgia Backers

Dan Kilbridge for Bookies.com

Dan Kilbridge  | 3 mins

Nick Saban's Underdog Record Should Concern Georgia Backers

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Nick Saban and Alabama are in a familiar place playing an entirely new role entering Monday’s National Championship game against Georgia at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium.

This is the sixth national championship appearance for the Crimson Tide over the past seven seasons. It’s also the first time Alabama has entered the title game as an underdog under Saban, with Georgia a -2.5 college football betting favorite for the rematch from last month’s SEC title game.

The Tide were even bigger underdogs at sportsbooks and betting sites for that showdown in Atlanta – with the Bulldogs closing around -6.5 at most shops - and delivered with a 41-24 upset victory. That fits a pattern for Saban in Tuscaloosa. On the rare occasions when the Tide are underdogs, they seem to play their best ball.

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Money Leaning Towards Georgia

Bettors have shown significant interest in the Bulldogs in the days leading up to the title game rematch. The line opened at Georgia -2.5 and moved to -3 for the majority of pregame betting, settling back down to -2.5 Monday morning.

While roughly 60% of point spread tickets are on Alabama, 60% of the money is on Georgia. Those Bulldog bettors are choosing to ignore Saban’s record in these situations.

And following the successful launch of online sports betting in New York on Saturday, the CFP National Championship is expected to attract serious betting interest in the Empire State and beyond as kickoff nears.

The 2021-22 National Championship marks just the third time Alabama has been an underdog in more than a decade, all against Georgia. Alabama won 38-10 as a one-point underdog at Georgia in 2015 and was equally convincing in last month’s SEC title game upset victory.

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The Tide were underdogs on betting apps in four games during Saban’s first season at Alabama and went 1-3 straight up. Since then, Alabama is 5-1 when getting points, with a lone loss in 2008 at Florida.

The most recent college football point spreads against Georgia aren’t that surprising when you remember how different the landscape looked a month ago. Alabama had already lost a road game at Texas A&M and needed four overtimes to get past an unranked Auburn squad in the regular season finale. Georgia had steamrolled just about every opponent to that point and the Bulldogs defense looked like it could handle anything – even another explosive Tide offense.

Things have changed. Alabama proved the Bulldogs’ defense wasn’t untouchable by a long shot and now looks to be back in alpha form after a thorough dismantling of Cincinnati in its College Football Playoff semifinal.

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Georgia seemed to regain a large chunk of public trust with the way it handled Michigan in the other CFP semifinal. The Bulldogs defense played like it did for the majority of the regular season in a 34-11 blowout victory, easily covering the -7.5 spread.

Now the Bulldogs are one win away from their first national championship in 42 years. It won’t be so easy against a Tide program that’s been nearly unbeatable under Saban, particularly on those rare nights when the script is flipped and Alabama enters as the underdog.

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About the Author

Dan Kilbridge for Bookies.com
Dan Kilbridge
Handicapper Dan Kilbridge writes about college football, MLB and other sports for Bookies.com after spending three years covering Tiger Woods’ comeback and the PGA for Golfweek.
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