Against The Spread: Alabama Rolling Tide vs. Georgia Bulldogs
|Alabama spread (+6.5)
|Georgia spread (-6.5)
In the Nick Saban era, it's been rare to see Alabama as near seven-point against-the-spread underdogs, yet that's the situation we're in the SEC championship game. If anything, that's a more indictment of how respected Georgia is among football betting oddsmakers.
The undefeated Bulldogs played one competitive game all season. The rest? Complete blowouts. Georgia's average margin of victory this season was a whopping 32.4 points per game. That one-sided stat line is typically reserved for the Tide, however, Saban's team looked very beatable on multiple occasions this year.
Bama's struggles were apparent in this past weekend's Iron Bowl versus Auburn. It was held to three points up until the final minute of the game. The culprit for the struggles? An offensive line that was being mauled to the tune of seven sacks allowed and no hole openings when running the ball. In the week between that game and the SEC title game, we can't imagine the Tide suddenly fixing those offensive lines woes.
That weakness also plays right into the Bulldogs' strength. Head coach Kirby Smart has built a versatile defense, especially upfront with his lineman. On one hand, they can be a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks with heavy pressure. On the other hand, they can drop back into coverage to cause confusion for the same quarterback.
We really don't think this SEC title game will be all that close. Georgia is just a step above its rivals and anyone else in the country for that matter. Take the Dawgs spread here and while you're at it, probably its national championship futures odds offered by the best online sportsbooks too.
Against The Spread: Michigan Wolverines vs. Iowa Hawkeyes
|Iowa spread (+11)
|Michigan spread (-11)
After slaying the proverbial "beast" (Ohio State) on Saturday, Michigan now finds itself as big-time against-the-spread favorites over Iowa. The double-digit betting line is likely deserving because the Wolverines didn't just beat the Buckeyes, they blew them out of the water quite frankly.
Defensively, Michigan bottled up Ohio State's dynamic offense, which was tops in the nation in several offensive categories going into the game. The Buckeyes were held to just 28 points. On the other side of the ball, the Wolverines ran the ball at complete will. They reached 297 yards on the ground with a per-gain average of 7.2 a carry.
It's tough to see Iowa hang close with Michigan, especially if the latter play anything like they did versus Ohio State. The Hawkeyes are also a run-first team akin to the Wolverines, only they aren't nearly as prolific at it. And if the game does get out of reach early, run-first teams struggle to catch up on the scoreboard as they have to throw it more. It's a recipe for a blowout, in fact.
We're calling it now: the vindication of John Harbaugh will continue with a big-time win on Saturday for Michigan. Put your money on it because the Wolverines have a ticket to the College Football Playoff.
Over/Under 59.5 Points: Oregon Ducks vs. Utah Utes
|Over 59.5 Points
|Under 59.5 Points
It was only two weeks ago when Oregon visited Utah in what turned out to be a complete mismatch. In that game, the Utes won 38-7, effectively killing the Ducks' hopes for a College Football Playoff spot. Now here's the Utah-Oregon rematch and we're enticed by the over/under line of 59.5 points.
Our immediate rationale is Oregon can't play anywhere near as bad the second time around as they did in the first meeting. The key will be getting the run game going, something the Ducks failed to do the first time. Consequently, they became one-sided offensively, which allowed the Utes defense to play more freely knowing a pass was coming.
Utah, though, remains the better team all-around. Cause of that, we foresee them replicating or surpassing its 38-point outburst from two weeks ago. We trust Oregon enough to get three touchdowns of its own too, which should send this game past the over.
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