Alabama and Georgia will meet for a rematch of the SEC Championship a week from today, January 10. But this time the stakes will be even higher, as the game is for the College Football Playoff National Championship.
No. 1 Alabama (12-1) will hope to upset No. 3 Georgia (12-1) as the Crimson Tide did on December 4 in Atlanta. The rematch will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, and Alabama is again in the unusual role of underdog.
Oddsmakers aren’t accustomed to having Alabama coach Nick Saban as the dog. But the experts believe Georgia is the better team, and with the early action favoring the Bulldogs, the spread is only extending. After opening with Alabama being spotted between 1.5 to 2.5 points, the spread has since increased.
I didn’t want to go to -3 until we took a real bet,” Ed Salmons, a college football oddsmaker at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas, told ESPN. “One of our respected players laid -2.5 for $40,000, so we went to -3.”
With a week before the big game, the betting consensus is Georgia favored by three. The over/under is 52.5 points.
As for the moneyline, Georgia is at -145 and Alabama +125. On those lines, a $100 winning bet respectively nets $68.97 and $125.
The Bulldogs made easy work of Michigan by winning the Orange Bowl 34-11. Alabama handled its playoff opponent rather easily, too, the Crimson Tide defeating Cincinnati 27-6 in the Cotton Bowl.
Bettors were expected to come out early on Georgia, as most agreed that the Bulldogs’ win over the Wolverines was a more impressive showing than the Tide’s victory over the non-Power Five Bearcats.
The early bets worthy of print space have been on Georgia.
Caesars Sportsbook said Saturday that its first major bet on the college football title came on the first of the new year when a bettor put down $115,000 on Georgia spotting Alabama 2.5 points. The sportsbook later reported taking two separate $110,000 bets on Georgia on the same spread. Caesars subsequently adjusted its line to three points for Alabama.
BetMGM reported that its early action prompted the book to also move Georgia to -3. The MGM Resorts sports betting unit said its tickets and money on the game are relatively split at this point.
DraftKings, also now at -3 Georgia, confirmed taking a $117,500 first half moneyline bet on Georgia at -235. If the Bulldogs are winning at halftime, the bet would net $50,000.
No other legal US sportsbook is presently offering Georgia spotting Alabama fewer than three points.
The College Football Playoff National Championship is one of the most bet championships in US sports. But for a second straight year, the game will involve two schools from states that do not have legal betting on collegiate or professional sports.
Thirty states have operational legal sports betting. More are expected to join the market in 2022, but the odds of Alabama and Georgia joining the growing industry remain long.
Alabama and Georgia are two states that have a deep history of strongly opposing nearly all forms of gambling.
Alabama does not have commercial casinos, and is one of only five states without a lottery. Georgia also does not have commercial casinos — nor tribal gaming venues — but does have a lottery.
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