Georgia-Alabama All-SEC National Title Game First Look

Doug Upstone

Tuesday, January 2, 2018 9:34 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018 9:34 PM UTC

For those in the Southern United States, you are likely thrilled to know the next national champion college football team is coming from your favorite conference, the SEC. It's Georgia vs. Alabama from Atlanta on Monday. 

Georgia Bulldogs vs. Alabama Crimson TideFree NCAAF Pick: Under 45Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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The rest of the world might not be as excited, still getting over the SEC flu that had gone from coast to coast the last several years, with a few breathers here and there. Nonetheless, at least Georgia is something different to look at and it will have help, as the Bulldogs will have home crowd edge in the Fancy Car Dome (new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

The college football odds have Alabama (12-1, 6-7 ATS) as a 4.5-point favorite with a total of 45. Let's take an early look at what both teams have to offer.

The Tide Will Try and Keep It Rollin'

Alabama (12-1 SU, 6-7 ATS) restored its defensive reputation in whipping Clemson 24-6 in the Sugar Bowl and holding the Tigers to 188 yards, 89 which came in the fourth quarter. The time off brought back the speed and quickness that was missing much of November for the Crimson Tide. That will be the focal point for Alabama, looking to slow Georgia's awesome ground attack, led by Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. If Nick Saban's defense wins on first and second down, it has the pass rush that can wreak havoc in Georgia backfield. Alabama did suffer a couple more injures to its defensive front seven on Monday night.

Quarterback Jalen Hurts is a steadying force in Bama's offense. Hurts has ample talent around him but brings all the elements together. Sometimes he just has to keep handing off to an incredible stable of running backs and other times locate wide receiver Calvin Ridley for big plays or touchdowns. More often than not, when everything breaks down for Alabama on offense, it is Hurts who makes all the right plays with his legs and move the chains or scores an important touchdown.

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Get ready for SEC overload. It will be an exceptional marketing job to take your eyes off an awful year. Losing record in bowls. Teams 4-14 were average to bad. And the best team didn’t even get a chance at title. And lost to UCF.

— Danny Kanell (@dannykanell) January 2, 2018

Georgia Is One Dangerous (Under)Dawg

Georgia (13-1, 10-4 ATS) relies on its outstanding offensive line and dynamic duo at running back to move the ball. However, since the loss to Auburn the Bulldogs have also come to depend more on QB Jake Fromm. The freshman is never thrown off as he showed in Rose Bowl, where he was 20 of 29 passes for 210 yards, two touchdowns and no picks. Fromm coolly made the right audible calls when he saw real advantages, which led to big plays against Oklahoma. There will be fewer such chances against Alabama's defense, but Fromm will be very aware of what he needs to do on the field.

If the Georgia defense plays a lot like Alabama, it is not hard to understand with coach Kirby Smart and his staff in charge. Smart spent 10 years as the student under Saban, and he learned extremely well. After Baker Mayfield and Sooners offense toasted the Dawgs for 31 points in 30 minutes, the Georgia defense dominated the second portion of that contest. Georgia players honestly believe this is their time.

For those making college football picks, there will be talk until game time about Saban being 11-0 SU against former assistants and beating them by more than 28 points a game. That will not happen here.

The wackiness has not been relegated to just the sides, but the totals as well. I'll be honest, I missed this one element until looking it up. Nothing out of the ordinary about the OVER at 21-18 with one game to go. However, with the championship game total at 45, all totals that closed in the 40's this bowl season are 9-1 OVER!

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