VSiN’s college football expert examines some early betting angles on the two CFP semifinal games.
Orange Bowl: Georgia (-7.5, 44.5) vs. Michigan
Does Georgia have a quarterback controversy on its hands? Well, it probably should at least consider it. Stetson Bennett looked frankly out of sorts against Alabama, and I am curious if JT Daniels will get a crack at playing time in the weeks ahead. Regardless, Georgia’s offense did not respond well once the defense was punched in the mouth.
Speaking of getting punched in the mouth, Michigan will likely be able to match Georgia’s physicality. The Wolverines closed out the year with a dominating win over Iowa, easily covering the double-digit spread. No team in college football has more momentum than Jim Harbaugh’s.
Oh, and they have been a delight to gamblers. Michigan is now 11-2 against the number this year.
Matchup-wise, these two teams really want to execute a similar game plan. I am curious, however, to see how these next few weeks treat both. Georgia is licking its wounds for the first time all year, and Michigan is enjoying more momentum than it’s had in some time.
Momentum is a hard thing to quantify, but the state of these teams at this particular time is fascinating. Early on, I tend to lean toward the underdog.
Cotton Bowl: Alabama (-13.5, 58.5) vs. Cincinnati
The narrative potential is delightful. The great juggernaut of the sport vs. the mighty little guy they finally let in. The early point spread speaks to this, although it shouldn’t come as a surprise.
What was most impressive about Alabama against Georgia, outside of Bryce Young’s brilliance at quarterback was the way the offensive line held up. Against Auburn the prior week, this unit was a disaster. The fact that it rebounded as strongly as it did was unexpected and superb.
Sticking with Alabama, the loss of wideout John Metchie for the season is enormous. Metchie’s absence could be felt in the second half, and I am curious to see how ’Bama counters. Jameson Williams has been superb, although he can’t do it alone.
For Cincinnati, which finished the season unbeaten while closing out with three wins against the spread, I am curious how it matches up athletically.
To be clear, the Bearcats have at least a handful of NFL players in key positions. But is the difference in other areas simply too glaring? It boils down to this: Which version of Alabama will we get? And does it matter?
Tidbits and observations
I would be shocked if USC is not competing for Pac-12 championships and hovering around the playoff in two years under Lincoln Riley. That roster needs a ton of help, although Riley inherits Jaxson Dart, a former 5-star QB recruit who showed promise as a true freshman, along with some other pieces. Riley is already landing 5-star players, and he’s going to crush recruiting in the state of California. Just a monster hire.
Brian Kelly has been superb at his job over the last decade-plus. And although LSU feels like an odd culture fit, I am curious to see what he can do when it comes to accessing and developing talent in a place surrounded by it. He’s not likable, but his teams win, and the consistency is staggering. It’s not a no-doubter hire, but it’s a good one.