With conference championships and the 2021 college football regular season all wrapped up, bowl season is upon us and College Football Playoff look-ahead lines have been released. With a little shakeup in the CFP teams after Conference Championship Weekend, we have our national semifinal matchups set in stone for the Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl.
Online sportsbook Bovada has released the CFP look-ahead lines and in the Cotton Bowl between No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Cincinnati, it is the top-seeded Crimson Tide listed as 13.5-point favorites with the total set at 58 points.
Cotton Bowl: No. 1 Alabama vs No. 4 Cincinnati
Meanwhile, in the Orange Bowl, we have two unfamiliar foes in No. 2 Michigan coming in as a 7.5-point underdog against No. 3 Georgia with the total set at 44.5 points.
Orange Bowl: No. 2 Michigan vs No. 3 Georgia
College Football Playoff: Betting Analysis
Let's dive into the odds, spreads, trends, and other factors to consider for each of the biggest bowl games of the 2021-22 slate.
Alabama vs Cincinnati
This game is much more difficult to get a grasp on because Cincinnati hasn’t faced anyone nearly as well-rounded and talented as this Crimson Tide team. Yes, the Bearcats went undefeated this season, but they had a significantly weaker schedule playing in the AAC in comparison to the other playoff participants.
As for Alabama, its SEC championship victory over Georgia shocked the world as the Crimson Tide went into that one as 6.5-point underdogs. The Tide won convincingly 41-24, making Alabama spread and moneyline backers very happy.
Alabama’s stars sparkled in that victory, with Heisman Trophy favorite Bryce Young throwing for 421 yards and accounting for four touchdowns. The beneficiary of a large portion of Young’s throws was stud wide receiver Jameson Williams. Williams went off for 184 yards on seven catches to go with two scores.
The Crimson Tide defense locked in for the second half, surrendering just seven points after giving up 17 in the first half. I don’t think Cincinnati has the firepower to keep up with Alabama so I like the Crimson Tide to cover the 14-point spread and cruise to the national championship game.
Michigan vs Georgia
The lone College Football Playoff team to lose its conference championship game is the Georgia Bulldogs, who suffered a 41-24 beatdown from Alabama that knocked them out of the No. 1 seed.
The dominant defense we got accustomed to all season long looked out of sorts in the first half as the team gave up a season-high 24 points. To put that in perspective, the Bulldogs didn’t allow more than 17 points in a single game all season! But the Tide weren’t done there as they finished the game scoring 41 points.
Alabama quarterback Bryce Young finished with 421 yards passing, threw for three touchdowns and scored another on the ground in the victory. Georgia still possesses one of the best defenses in college football, though, and will look to redeem itself in the Sugar Bowl against the Wolverines.
Speaking of the Wolverines, they solidified their spot in the playoffs with a sweat-free victory over a very good Iowa Hawkeyes team. Defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, a player some are projecting to go first overall in the 2022 NFL Draft, played a tremendous game, recording four tackles, including a sack. The Michigan defense held the Hawkeyes to just three points as they were flying all over the field.
Michigan and Georgia will meet for the very first time in the history of their programs with a national championship game berth on the line. I expect Georgia to come out with a ton of energy in this one after being simply embarrassed in the SEC championship game. Michigan certainly has an advantage on the momentum side coming off two spectacular wins over a pair of the country’s top teams.
I expect Georgia’s defense to bounce back in a big way in this one – it is just a question of whether the Bulldogs can score enough points to cover the spread against a very good Wolverines defense. I think this will be a one-possession game, so my early prediction is the Wolverines to cover the 7.5 points as underdogs.
New to betting on college football? Be sure to take a look at our great college football betting guide to help you get in the action. Also, keep an eye on our college football odds page for the latest up-to-date betting lines.
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Odds Shark Staff Fri, Aug 12, 10:50amVideo