College Football Playoff Odds, Analysis on Alabama/Cincinnati and Michigan/Georgia

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College Football Playoff Odds, Analysis on Alabama/Cincinnati and Michigan/Georgia
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The College Football Playoff field is now set and sportsbooks have already posted lines for each semifinal matchup.

No. 1 seed Alabama will face Cincinnati in the first matchup on Dec. 31, while No. 2 Michigan and No. 3 Georgia meet in the second matchup on New Year’s Eve to determine who will meet in the national title game.

Here is the odds breakdown for each matchup. All odds are from Caesars Sportsbook.

No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Cincinnati in Cotton Bowl

The Crimson Tide are the top seed in the CFP for the fifth time and opened as 13.5-point favorites (-550 moneyline) over the Bearcats. Cincinnati is the first Group of 5 team to make the playoff and enter the matchup as an underdog for the first time this season (+400).

Alabama has been a double-digit favorite in four semifinal games, winning each straight up but failing to cover in the last two. Last season, Notre Dame covered the 19.5-point spread, losing by 17. Oklahoma was a 14.5-point underdog to the Tide and lost by 11.

The two programs have met five times, with Alabama winning each, but the teams had not met since 1990 when the Tide earned a 45-7 win.

“For Cincinnati-Alabama, I don’t expect too much movement with the number,” said Adam Pullen, Caesars Sportsbook Assistant Director of Trading. “I could see it maybe reaching 14, because of the nature of Alabama. Obviously, they are usually a huge favorite, and after (beating Georgia), I think people will be backing them with both fists. They looked really strong and Cincinnati to many people is still an unknown. Even with the big point spread, I think you’ll see more Alabama money. We’ve had big spreads before in the playoffs, so it is nothing new.”

The total for the matchup is at 59 points. All five Alabama CFP semifinals went under the total.

No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 3 Georgia in Orange Bowl

Despite being the higher-seeded team, the Wolverines are 7-point underdogs to the Bulldogs (-320 moneyline). Michigan (+250 moneyline) has been the best team against the spread this season, posting an 11-2 mark and winning both games as underdogs outright. The Wolverines were 7-point underdogs against Ohio State and earned a 42-27 win and also defeated Wisconsin 31-17 as 2-point underdogs.

Georgia has struggled against the spread lately, going 3-4 over its past seven games, including the 41-24 loss to Alabama as 6.5-point favorites.

This is the first CFP appearance for Michigan and will be the second for Georgia. The Bulldogs covered (-2.5) and earned a 54-48 double-overtime victory over Oklahoma in the 2018 Rose Bowl. In the national title game, Georgia lost to Alabama in overtime, 26-23, but covered as a 3.5-point underdog.

“Michigan has looked really strong lately with the win over Ohio State and then dominating Iowa as the biggest favorite of the day, so I’m not surprised to see the number where it is,” Pullen said. “You all of a sudden saw Georgia look human, giving up 41 points. I don’t know if Michigan’s offense is as dynamic as Alabama’s. Still, when you put that seed of doubt in people’s minds, there will be some now who are skeptical of Georgia. But I don’t anticipate much movement with the line. In fact, I don’t see much volatility with either of these two games outside of a point move either way.”

The total for Michigan-Georgia is the lowest in CFP history at 43.5. It’s the lowest for any Georgia game this season and matches the season low for Michigan when the total was also 43.5 for the Wisconsin matchup.

Title Odds

Alabama is currently the favorite to win the national title at +120. Georgia has the next best odds at +135 before a sizeable drop-off with Michigan (+800) and Cincinnati (+1400).

Michigan and Cincinnati opened the season with the longest odds of the semifinal teams, with the Wolverines at +10000 and the Bearcats at +15000.

Alabama was the preseason favorite at +260. Georgia opened at +750 and was down to -220 to win it all before getting trounced by the Tide in the SEC Championship game.

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Bryce Derouin

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