#Betting101: Alabama Overvalued in National Championship Game?

Jason Lake

Wednesday, January 3, 2018 2:00 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018 2:00 PM UTC

The Alabama Crimson Tide are no strangers to chalk. They’re laying up to five points on the college football odds board for Monday’s national title game against the Georgia Bulldogs.

Last week, we made one of the easiest college football picks we’ll ever make here at the home office: Fading the Alabama Crimson Tide at the Sugar Bowl. The rationale was simple enough. Alabama has tons of fans willing to throw a few clams down on their beloved team, rain or shine. All that loose ‘Bama money distorts the marketplace, and as we hoped the Clemson Tigers were available at +3.5 by the time they kicked off.

The pick may have been easy, but that didn’t make Clemson a deadbolt lock. The Tigers lost 24-6, putting No. 4 Alabama in Monday’s National Championship Game against the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs, who advanced with a 54-48 double-overtime win over the Oklahoma Sooners (+2.5) in the Rose Bowl. We’re probably going to fade the Crimson Tide again as 4.5-point faves on the NCAAF odds board, but this is #Betting101, and we need to take a closer look at Alabama’s public profile before we open up our wallets and/or purses.

A Wheel in the Ditch

Is it possible that the Crimson Tide (12-1 SU, 6-7 ATS) aren’t as popular as they used to be? According to reports from Vegas, most of the early Sugar Bowl money was on ‘Bama, even though each team was pulling in roughly the same number of bets. The consensus reports at SBR tell much the same story; the Tide rose from a near pick’em to –2.5 in the first week of betting. And that pattern stuck all the way to kickoff, with Alabama climbing all the way to –3.5 despite the public lean towards Clemson.

Reading these betting patterns is a very important part of betting on college football. It’s a marketplace out there, and a lot of what we do is market analysis, trying to figure out where and when the best prices will become available. It could just as easily be pork bellies, but we prefer betting on sports – it’s a lot more fun.

A Wheel on the Track

So what can we expect for the National Championship Game? Once again, our consensus reports show bettors split roughly down the middle, but this time it’s Alabama with the slight lean and Georgia (13-1 SU, 10-4 ATS) falling from –4.5 to –4 at several books. This is a much less significant move than getting on or off the magic number 3, but it’s worth noting.

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Alabama and Georgia playing for a national title in Atlanta could only be made more southern if they poured sweet tea into the Gatorade buckets on the sidelines.

— Chad Withrow (@withrowzone) January 2, 2018

As it turns out, the Bulldogs were the sharp choice at the Rose Bowl over the public Sooners. Who will the public choose this time? It’s hard not to say “Alabama” out of sheer habit. Let’s be patient with this one, see how things play out, and I’ll be back later this week to look at the data and make a final pick.

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