Let’s look at three final data driven thoughts before the games on Friday.
Alabama without John Metchie III
With about a minute left in the first half against Georgia, Alabama WR John Metchie III went down with a season ending knee injury.
While Alabama still has WR Jameson Williams, this might be a huge blow to the Crimson Tide offense. Metchie led the team in targets this season.
To get insight into this injury, let’s look at Alabama’s passing success rate before and after the injury to Metchie against Georgia. In my analytics, a play is considered a success if it gets the following fraction of yards towards the next first down:
- 50% on 1st down
- 70% on 2nd down
- 100% on 3rd, 4th down
After the Metchie injury, Alabama’s pass offense had success on 7 of 18 plays. This implies a 38.9% success rate compared to a college football average of 39.8%.
However, this rate requires context:
- Alabama completed a 55 yard touchdown pass to Jameson Williams in the second half. This explosive play and an interception returned for a touchdown allowed Alabama to pull away in the second half.
- Alabama drew two pass interference penalties that resulted in 1st downs. If these plays count as successes, Alabama had a 45.0% passing success rate without Metchie.
- Alabama had a 61.5% passing success rate with Metchie before his injury. This is against the number one Georgia pass defense by my adjusted success rate.
The small sample size of data suggests some decline without Metchie.
Cincinnati has CB Ahmad Gardner, a player considered a first round pick in the next NFL draft. If he can contain Jameson Williams, a big ask for any corner, Cincinnati could keep this close.
My numbers like Alabama by 10.2 points over Cincinnati in the playoff semi-final game.
Stetson Bennett vs Cade McNarama
I talked to Josh Hancher of Dawg Sports Live on my podcast, and he discussed his QB comparison ahead of Georgia vs Michigan.
While Georgia QB Stetson Bennett has better numbers overall, Michigan QB Cade McNarama has been better under pressure. For example, McNamara has a 53.3% completion percentage under pressure as tracked by PFF. This is better than the 30.2% for Bennett.
This seems like an advantage for Michigan. However, in the NFL, quarterback statistics under pressure tend to be volatile. I presume the same is true for college QBs.
If so, these pressure statistics are actually a good sign for Georgia. McNamara’s numbers should regress while Bennett’s numbers should get better.
Bennett, a former walk-on, had a poor showing against Alabama. JT Daniels, the QB that started the season for Georgia, has cleared COVID protocols and has taken first team reps in practices this week.
Georgia vs Michigan prediction
My numbers like Georgia by 4.3 points over Michigan.
I was initially hesitant to bet Michigan out of respect for Georgia’s talent and the season they have had. However, it piqued my interest when the market got to Georgia -8.5, a lot of points against a good Michigan team.
In addition, the markets have moved strongly towards Michigan in many games this year. For example, according to The Action Network:
- Ohio State opened as a 10.5 point favorite over Michigan before closing as -6.5 on FanDuel.
- Michigan opened as a 10.5 point favorite against Iowa before closing at -12 on DraftKings.
There was value in betting Michigan +8.5.
As of Thursday night, the market has Georgia -7.5. It’s interesting that the number has stayed the same despite news that Michigan safety Dax Hill, a critical part of the secondary, might not play in this game.
Data driven betting information
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