It was another thrilling regular season in college football, and we now know who will square off in the National Championship Semifinals at the end of December.
Following a win over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, Alabama secured the No. 1 seed and will face Cincinnati, who ended the season at 12-0 after defeating Houston in the AAC Championship Game.
For the second semifinals contest, Georgia will face Michigan as Jim Harbaugh was able to lead the Wolverines to an impressive win over Ohio State in the second-to-last game and an easy victory over Iowa for the Big Ten Championship.
Meanwhile, Georgia comes into this game having lost in a disappointing fashion to its fellow SEC counterparts in Alabama after rolling through its first 12 games with relative ease.
Alabama will come in easy heavy favorites over Cincinnati as this will be the stiffest challenge the Bearcats have faced all season. On the other hand, Georgia is a near-touchdown favorite over Michigan in what could be a defensive battle.
Keep reading below to find out what my favorite bets and parlays are for the upcoming National Championship Semifinals games. Just keep in mind that more game props or player props could be added between now and the games, so keep an eye out for any updates to this article.
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All NCAAF gameday odds are courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook and updated as of 3 p.m. ET on December 7, 2021.
Alabama vs Cincinnati Parlay (+273) at Caesars
- Alabama -13.5 (110)
- Alabama vs Georgia Over 58 Total Points (-105)
Alabama -13.5 (-110)
Parlays aren’t up at most sportsbooks yet, but I do have my eye on multiple bets that could be turned into a parlay once sportsbooks allow it.
My first leg of the parlay for this CFB pick of the day will include taking the spread in favor of Alabama at -13.5.
In the SEC Championship Game, people learned that you should never doubt Nick Saban and Alabama as an underdog on a neutral site. Despite being the underdogs, the Crimson Tide steamrolled the Bulldogs 41-24 en route to finishing as the No. 1 ranked team once again.
- Read our full Alabama vs Cincinnati prediction.
Even with the Bulldogs having arguably the best defense in the nation, Bryce Young carved them up for 421 passing yards and three passing touchdowns. The Heisman hopeful quarterback at Alabama also ran it three times for 40 yards and another score as he cemented himself as the favorite to win the prestigious award at the season’s end.
While Cincinnati’s defense also presents a challenge for Alabama, the way it just handled Georgia should give no concern to fans. The Bearcats have allowed 10 touchdowns through the air all season, have intercepted 18 passes (third-most in the FBS), and they only gave up 168.3 passing yards per game (second-fewest in the nation).
I believe Alabama’s defense is good enough to make a game-changing play that could blow the game wide open early on. Even though it’s awesome to see Luke Fickell lead Cincinnati into the college football playoffs, it’s hard to imagine the Bearcats keeping this one close against a hot Saban-led team.
Alabama vs Cincinnati: Over 58 Total Points (-110)
For the second leg of the future parlay we can build, I am liking the over between Alabama and Cincinnati. We just saw that the Crimson Tide can score points on any defense, having posted 41 points on a Georgia defense that only surrendered 6.9 points per game before facing Alabama.
During its 13 games, Cincinnati’s defense wasn’t on the same level as Georgia in terms of scoring defense, but it did allow only 16.1 points per game. That isn’t going to matter much against a dynamic offense like Alabama, though, the absence of John Metchie could be felt.
On the other side of things, Cincinnati has a strong offense that is led by Desmond Ridder. After a slow start in the AAC Championship Game with the score being 14-13 at halftime versus Houston, Ridder and the Bearcats would score 21 points in the second half to win 35-20.
While Alabama did hold Georgia’s offense in check, this isn’t the same dominant defense we’re accustomed to seeing from a Saban-led squad. Heading into the semifinals, Alabama’s defense has given up 20.3 points per game.
Both of these offenses can score in a variety of ways, but I believe it will be Alabama that scores the majority of the points. All we need is a few scores from Cincinnati and I am confident we can reach the over of 58.5 points line that is currently set.
Georgia vs. Michigan Parlay 2021 Orange Bowl (+264)
- Georgia -7.5 (110) at Caesars
- Georgia vs Michigan Over 45 Total Points (-110) at Caesars
Georgia -7.5 (-110) at Caesars
In the second semifinals, we have a battle between two defensive-minded teams that prefer to play ball-control football. As much as I would like to see Michigan advance and get a chance to play Alabama, I believe we’re headed toward an SEC rematch in the National Championship.
The selection committee knew exactly what they were doing when they ensured that Alabama and Georgia didn’t play one another in the semifinals. The Bulldogs are going to be motivated to get a second crack at the Crimson Tide, so the Wolverines better be prepared for a physical matchup.
- Read our full Michigan vs Georgia Orange Bowl pick.
Neither of these teams averaged more than 250 passing yards per game during the season, so both teams will look to establish their running game. Provided that the Bulldogs have the third-best run defense in the country, I’d give them the slight edge in this game.
The last thing that Michigan wants to do is lean on Cade McNamara through the air against an opportunistic defense in Georgia. One turnover could be the difference between a win or loss in this one, and I could envision a scenario where McNamara has multiple turnovers.
Georgia will create enough on offense and take advantage of some Michigan miscues to win by at least 7.5 points.
Georgia vs Cincinnati: Over 43.5 Total Points
Georgia and Michigan both possess talented defenses that limited their opponents in the scoring column all season. The Bulldogs led the nation by allowing 9.5 points per game, while the Wolverines were tied for fourth-best in the country by giving up only 16.1 points per game.
Despite both teams having strong defenses, it’s hard not to side with a low over of 43.5 points. During the regular season, Georgia and Michigan combined for 77.1 points per game on offense, so there’s a chance for some fireworks.
It comes down to whether or not you believe the offenses or defenses will prevail more often in this matchup. For someone that would rather watch a high-scoring affair, I elect to go with the over of 43.5 points.
One of these teams could easily score 30-plus points by themselves while we would just need 14-plus from the opposing team. We could also get a defensive touchdown or two in this one, giving us an even better chance of hitting the over.
National Championship Semifinals Parlay (+264)
- Alabama -13.5 (110) at Caesars
- Georgia/Michigan Over 45 Total Points (-110) at Caesars
Also, player props aren’t available yet, so keep an eye on those once they are released in the coming weeks.
Whenever player props are released, keep an eye on Young’s passing yards in the game between Cincinnati and Alabama to add to this parlay.
I also would take the Over on Stetson Bennett‘s passing yards if the number is in a good spot for us to take.
Skyler Carlin CFB Betting Record: 13-5-0
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