The experiment was a success, even if it took a long time to cash in.
Back in late August, I was given an imaginary $1,000 bankroll for the college football season. After four-plus months of pretend wagering, not only is the original kitty still intact, it has grown some.
A 3-0 Best Bets record on New Year’s Day netted $130 and lifted the kitty into the black at $1,077.
The overall record is 47-44-3 against the point spread, normally not a winning number, but sound money management elevated Bucking The Line into profitable territory.
So now we reach the finale, Monday night’s “SEC … SEC” national championship game between Georgia and Alabama.
The reflexive thing to do, of course, is take Alabama. Nick Saban is peerless, and the Crimson Tide win everything, right?
Georgia’s ground-bound offense plays right into the hands of Bama’s No. 1 rushing defense. Jake Fromm, although he’s had a marvelous freshman campaign, isn’t the kind of elusive, dual-threat quarterback that can give the Tide trouble.
All true. Yet the feeling here persists that the Dawgs, who know their way around Atlanta, have a reasonable chance, especially against the point spread. The line is starting to rise. Georgia was getting 3½ points. Now it’s 4. By kick, expect 4½.
Georgia was far superior to Bama vs. the line this season. The Bulldogs led the SEC at 10-4, the Tide a merely mortal 6-7. So taking UGA with 4 or 4½ points is bargain shopping.
The Dawgs measure up, or close, to the Tide in most major statistical categories. Measuring common SEC opponents, Georgia had a +98-point differential, Alabama +92. The Dawgs have nearly as many four- and five-star recruits. They belong, folks.
Georgia should be battle hardened by avenging its only loss to Auburn with a decisive win over the Tigers in the SEC title game, then surviving the epic Rose Bowl with Oklahoma. Alabama sat out title weekend then breezed over Clemson.
With Butkus Award winner Roquan Smith anchoring a salty defense and a pair of 1,000-yard rushers Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, the Dawgs might just have enough to win outright.
Alabama-Georgia figures to be a brute-strength, line-of-scrimmage slugfest where points are at a premium. Run. Play-action pass. Run some more. And play wicked defense.
In this kind of matchup, Bucking will put its dollars ($66, to be exact) on the lively underDAWG.