- Alabama has opened as the -13.5 point favorite against no. 4 Cincinnati in the CFP semifinals.
- No. 2 Georgia is also a -6.5 point betting favorite against no. 2 Michigan in the other semifinals matchup.
- Both Cincinnati and Michigan are playing in the College Football Playoffs for the first time.
The four-team College Football playoff cast has been announced and SEC title game participants Alabama and Georgia lead the cast. But while ‘Bama and Georgia are repeat participants in the event, their respective opponents in the CFP semifinals are first-timers.
Michigan, which enters the playoffs as the no. 2 team in the nation, and Cincinnati, ranked 4th in the postseason, will be making their playoff debuts.
🏆 It’s official 🏆
Here are your College Football Playoff teams. pic.twitter.com/Zfl0BbsZft
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) December 5, 2021
The top-ranked Crimson Tide will take on the Bearcats in the Cotton Bowl while the no. 3 ranked Bulldogs will take on the Wolverines in the Orange Bowl.
With the matchups already known, betting has officially opened for the two semifinal games which will be played on New Year’s Eve.
Tide Rolls in at No.1
TIDE ROLLS IN AT 1! Matchup vs Cincinnati… pic.twitter.com/YBaafiBXk5
— Barstool Bama National Champions 🏆 (@BarstoolAlabama) December 5, 2021
The Crimson Tide roll into the playoffs as the no. 1 seed after beating Georgia 41-24 in the SEC championship game over the weekend. Alabama was a +6.5 point favorite entering the game but Heisman betting favorite Bryce Young tore apart the vaunted Georgia defense in a record-breaking performance.
American Atlantic Conference champion Cincinnati meanwhile, is making history as the first school from a non-Power 5 conference to play in the CFP since its inception in 2014. The Bearcats earned the 4th and final playoff spot despite having only two victories against Top 25 teams. But one of those wins was a 24-13 victory at Notre Dame. The Irish were the first team left out of the CFP at no. 5.
With this David vs Goliath scenario, Alabama has opened as -13.5 point spread and -550 betting favorites against Cincinnati at Caesars Sportsbook. The Bearcats meanwhile are heavy +400 betting underdogs. In comparison, however, they are in a better spot this year than Note Dame was against ‘Bama in the same spot. The Irish were +17.5 point underdogs to the Tide in last year’s CFP semifinals.
Georgia and Michigan Have Played Just Twice Before
Georgia and Michigan have played just twice – 1957 & 1965 both in Ann Arbor.
This is a matchup I’ve wanted to see for a long time.
— UGA Football Live (@UGAfootballLive) December 5, 2021
Georgia and Michigan have played only twice before, both at Ann Arbor. The Wolverines blanked the Bulldogs 26-0 when these teams first played in 1957. Georgia won their most recent meeting 15-7 but that was way back in 1965 so this is a matchup that every college football fan has wanted to see for a long time.
Even before losing to Alabama in the SEC title game, it was expected that Georgia would make the playoffs. The Bulldogs had been the top team in the nation for the most part of the season and were undefeated heading to their showdown with Alabama. Michigan meanwhile, dominated Iowa 42-3 as a -12 point spread and -475 betting favorites. To win the Big 10 championship, the first for head coach Jim Harbaugh.
While the ‘Bama vs the Bearcats semifinal game has a wide two TD spread, the Bulldogs and Wolverines are separated by just -7.5 points at the BetOnline App with the Bulldogs as favorites. Georgia is also a -290 Moneyline favorite with Michigan coming back at +235. Despite being just no. 3, the Bulldogs are also just narrow second favorites to win the CFP title at +135 via BetMGM with the Crimson Tide on top at +120.