Second-ranked Alabama was a 6.5-point favorite over No. 3 Georgia until Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban announced Wednesday that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
The line then dropped to four.
It’s a short list of coaches who could impact the betting line of a game that dramatically, but the six-time national champion coach is one of them.
With Saban home self-isolating and forced to sit out the game, he put offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian in charge.
“Some of the movement is due to an overreaction by the betting public, but we certainly don’t trust Steve Sarkisian standing on the sidelines and making decisions as much as we do Nick Saban, so there had to be an adjustment from our side,” said SportsBetting.com odds consultant Scott Cooley.
Further, SportsBetting.com moved Alabama’s title odds from +275 to +350.
The only other college coach who could impact odds like that is Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, Cooley said.
The Tigers are currently the +225 national championship favorite by SportsBetting.com. Alabama’s lengthened odds slid them behind Ohio State (+300) but still ahead of Georgia (+700).
In the NFL, just three coaches would have a similar impact – New England’s Bill Belichick, Kansas City’s Andy Reid and New Orleans’ Sean Payton – according to Cooley.
The Crimson Tide play host to the Bulldogs in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday night. Both teams enter undefeated.