How To Bet the 2022 CFP: TCU vs. Michigan, Ohio State vs. Georgia

It might be smart to stay home this New Year’s Eve instead of venturing out to celebrate because the College Football Playoff national semifinals are on December 31, with No. 3 TCU facing No. 2 Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl and No. 4 Ohio State facing No. 1 Georgia in the Peach Bowl.

Which side of the spread in each game at OddsTrader’s top-rated books has the best value? 

TCU Horned Frogs vs. Michigan Wolverines

Fiesta Bowl

Saturday, December 31, 2022 – 04:00 PM EST at State Farm Stadium

ESPN has the telecast of Saturday’s first College Football Playoff semifinal between No. 3 TCU of the Big 12 and No. 2 Michigan of the Big Ten. It’s the first time in the national semis for the Frogs and the first time a Big 12 team has made it other than Oklahoma. Michigan was in the playoff last season and was beaten 34-11, by eventual national champion Georgia in the semifinals. The Dawgs became the first No. 3 seed to win it all.

TCU Horned Frogs

The Frogs (12-1) come off their lone loss of the season, falling 31-28 in overtime to Kansas State in the Big 12 title game on December 3, but they stayed put at No. 3 in the rankings. The committee surely didn’t want to put Ohio State at No. 3 and have a rematch with Michigan – although obviously, that’s possible in the title game – so it kept the Frogs there.

The Star Player

Star TCU quarterback Max Duggan, a Heisman Trophy finalist, has already declared for the NFL Draft but will play. You don’t see guys opting out of the College Football Playoff, unlike other bowls.

Duggan didn’t even open the season as the starter, Chandler Morris did, but he was hurt in the opening win over Colorado.  

The Coach’s Efforts Paid Off

First-year coach Sonny Dykes was deservedly named the 2022 Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year.  After starting the season unranked, TCU was picked to finish seventh in the Big 12 and became just the second team to be in the CFP.

The school’s five wins over ranked opponents tied for the national lead. TCU was the first Big 12 team to complete the regular season with a 12-0 record since 2009 and the first league member to go 9-0 in conference play since 2016. 

Defensively, the Frogs are led by cornerback Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, who won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back. Hodges-Tomlinson is the nephew of former TCU star and NFL Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson. The senior made first-team All-Big 12 for the third straight season after defending 11 passes and grabbing three interceptions.

Michigan Wolverines

Michigan beat overmatched Purdue 43-22 in the Big Ten title game despite playing without All-American running back Blake Corum. He also missed the regular-season finale upset of Ohio State as well with a knee injury and will not play in the semifinals.

Corum hasn’t yet decided whether to declare for the draft. The deadline to declare for the 2023 NFL Draft is Jan. 16, and I’d imagine he will after rushing for 1,463 yards and 18 TDs. 

It’s not clear if U-M pass-rusher Mike Morris will play due to injury. The senior was named Big Ten defensive lineman of the year after having 7.5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss, but missed the Big Ten title game.

The Betting Pick

It’s the first meeting between these schools.  

On OddsTrader’s new look college football odds, Michigan is getting a 76% lean on the spread. A few books like BetRivers do have TCU as an 8-point favorite, so if you want the Frogs, you’d obviously want that extra point.

We recommend buying down to -7 from -7.5. Michigan is 5-2 ATS in its past seven non-conference games, while TCU is 4-11 ATS in its past 15 neutral-site matchups. 

NCAAF Pick: Michigan -7.5 (-108) (Buy Down to-7) at FanDuel

Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Georgia Bulldogs

Peach Bowl

Saturday, December 31, 2022 – 08:00 PM EST at Mercedes-Benz Stadium

ESPN has the telecast of this matchup between No. 4 Ohio State of the Big Ten and No. 1 Georgia of the SEC. The Dawgs are trying to become the first repeat national champion in the College Football Playoff era. The Buckeyes won it all in the first year of the CFP, but not since.

A Mismatched Game?

Frankly, we think Georgia got hosed here because the Buckeyes are WAY more talented than No. 3 TCU, but the CFP committee kept the Frogs at No. 3 despite their loss in the Big 12 title game because it didn’t want such a quick rematch between Ohio State and No. 2 Michigan.

The Buckeyes, who lost to the Wolverines in the regular-season finale, snuck in when Southern Cal was upset in the Pac-12 title game vs. Utah.

The Lineup

The top two picks in the 2023 NFL Draft could come from this game as Buckeyes quarterback CJ Stroud is a +150 second-favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick, presumably by Houston.

Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter has a good chance of going No. 2 overall to Chicago if that’s where the Bears land because they already have a quarterback in Justin Fields.

Who Will Be Missing?

Stroud will be without two top weapons in running back TreVeyon Henderson and receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba due to injury. Jaxon Smith-Njigba could barely stay on the field this year, while Henderson missed three of the final four games and finished with 571 yards and six TDs on 107 carries.

Ohio State’s History in the CFP

The Peach Bowl will be the seventh College Football Playoff game for Ohio State. Only Alabama (13) and Clemson (10) have played in more games.

In the Buckeyes’ three wins, they’ve averaged 44.3 points per game and scored 42 or more each time. In their three losses, they’ve averaged just 15.6 points per game.

Award-Winning Players

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett, a Heisman finalist, won the 2022 Burlsworth Trophy, which is awarded annually to the most outstanding college player who began his career as a walk-on.

Tight end Brock Bowers won the John Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end. Bowers is the team leader with 52 catches for 726 yards and six touchdowns.  He also has six carries for 93 yards and three scores.   

UGA had one of the nation’s top defenses again, with Carter and safety Christopher Smith named unanimous All-Americans. In the SEC Championship Game victory over LSU, Smith returned a blocked field goal 96 yards for a touchdown, had three tackles, including a tackle for loss, and an interception.

Over the last six games, Carter has accounted for 24 tackles, 6.5 TFLs, three sacks and a pair of forced fumbles. He missed a few games earlier in the year injured.

The Betting Pick

Georgia and Ohio State last played on New Year’s Day 1993 in the Florida Citrus Bowl, with the Dawgs winning 21-14.  

At OddsTrader, the Bulldogs are taking a whopping 95% lean on the spread.

Some books have UGA at -7, but we obviously prefer -6.5 at Bet365. Ohio State is 1-4 ATS in its past five games and Georgia 4-1 ATS in its past five at a neutral site. 

NCAAF Pick: Georgia -6.5 (-110) at Bet365 is your sports betting command center. Read featured betting strategy compiled from a panel of leading sports betting experts.

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