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Big bettors on Georgia, public on Alabama in CFP title game

The betting public is all over Alabama but the biggest bets are on Georgia in Monday’s College Football Playoff national championship game.

The Crimson Tide are favored by either 3½ or 4 points at Las Vegas sports books and the total is 44½ or 45. Alabama is minus-180 on the money line and the Bulldogs are plus-160.

“We’re going to need the Bulldogs,” William Hill sports book director Nick Bogdanovich said Sunday afternoon. “It could shift, but I’m sure we’re going to need Georgia pretty good.”

MGM Resorts sports books took early sharp action — including a six-figure wager — on Georgia at plus-4½ points and a sizable five-figure bet on the Bulldogs on the money line. But The Mirage sports book director Jeff Stoneback said Sunday that the majority of the action is on Alabama against the spread and on the money line.

CG Technology sports books reported one-sided action on Alabama from the Pros and the Joes, and the Westgate and Caesars Palace sports books reported one-sided action on the Crimson Tide from the masses.

Wynn Las Vegas might be the only place that’s heavy on Georgia after taking two six-figure wagers on the Bulldogs.

“We still need Alabama right now,” Wynn Las Vegas sports book director Johnny Avello said Sunday.

Sharp money poured in early on the under at MGM Resorts and the total dropped from 48 to 45 at the Westgate.

“These teams know each other so well, there won’t be any surprises. If there are minimal turnovers, like one each, it will be a low-scoring game,” Westgate sports book manager Ed Salmons said. “There’ll be a lot of running and lot of clock movement. I can’t see either team throwing it 30 times, unless one team gets way down.”

In the CFP semifinals, the Crimson Tide dominated Clemson in a 24-6 win as 3½-point favorites. The Bulldogs — coached by Kirby Smart, Saban’s former defensive coordinator — rallied for a 54-48 double-overtime victory over Oklahoma as 2½-point favorites.

Alabama coach Nick Saban, bidding to join Bear Bryant as the only coaches with six national titles, is 11-0 against his former assistants, winning by an average margin of 38-10.

The Crimson Tide have been favored in 110 of their last 111 games, rolling to a 38-10 win at Georgia as a 1-point underdog in 2015.

Handicapper Doug Fitz, who went 14-6 ATS (70 percent) to win the Review-Journal’s Bowl Challenge this season, is backing the Crimson Tide, who lost to Clemson in last season’s national championship.

“I just don’t think they’re going to lose the championship game two years in a row,” Fitz said. “They’re too experienced, too good and obviously extremely well-coached.

“Also, when everybody seems to be on one side, I love going the other way. And everyone I’m hearing just loves Georgia.”

Fitz, who gives away all his plays for free at SystemPlays.com and @fitz_doug, also leans to the over mostly as a contrarian play.

“Everybody I hear thinks it’s going to be a defensive battle and there’s not going to be a lot of scoring,” he said. “Everybody loves the under, so I’ll go with the over. You also get a little value on the number because it keeps going down.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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