How to Handicap the 2023 CFP National Championship Game: TCU vs. Georgia

For the first time in the history of the College Football Playoff national title game, it features a Big 12 school vs. an SEC foe as No. 3 TCU takes on No. 1 Georgia from Los Angeles on Monday.

Which sides of the 12.5-point spread and 62.5-point total at the NCAAF odds boards have the best value? 

TCU Horned Frogs vs. Georgia Bulldogs

Monday, January 9, 2023 – 07:30 PM EST at SoFi Stadium

Not only is this the first-ever matchup between the Big 12 and the SEC in the College Football Playoff national title game, it’s the first time a Big 12 school is in it. Oklahoma had been the only previous school to reach the semifinals but lost all four times.

Ironically, the Sooners (and Texas) are headed to the SEC in a couple of years. That league had a finalist in every CFP title game but the first and five total champions as Georgia looks to become the first repeat winner. 

For what it’s worth from the bowl games, Big 12 schools were just 3-5 against the spread – although TCU easily covered as a big underdog in its semifinal upset of Michigan – and SEC teams were not much better at 5-6 ATS. Georgia didn’t cover as a 5-point favorite in its thrilling win over Ohio State. Overall in the bowls, underdogs are 16-26 straight up but 23-8-1 ATS. On the total, unders lead 22-29-1. 

The Frogs and Dawgs haven’t played since 2016.

Mattress Mack At It Again 

The best odds available today at OddsTrader’s top-rated books for TCU is +12½ -108 at Wynnbet, and Georgia -11½ -113 at SugarHouse. Early spread action is quite heavy on TCU, which is a minor surprise considering UGA is one of the most public teams in the nation. In the history of the College Football Playoff, double-digit favorites are 6-0 straight up and 4-2 ATS.

Big 12 runner-up TCU wasn’t a double-digit dog this season and is 1-9 SU and 6-4 ATS in its past 10 as one – but none of those results came with National Coach of the Year Sonny Dykes running the show. SEC champion Georgia has been a double-digit favorite all but twice this season and is 12-0 SU in those and 6-6 ATS.

Double-digit bowl favorites overall are 6-1 SU this season –that loss was in the Celebration Bowl between FCS schools Jackson State and NC Central– but 2-5 ATS and 28-7 SU but 14-21 ATS over the last five seasons.

The most famous American bettor has made his feelings known as Houston-area furniture magnate Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, who won about $75 million when his Astros captured the 2022 World Series, has dropped $1.5 million with DraftKings for TCU to win at +370 on the moneyline, which would result in a $5.55 million payout.

TCU was picked to finish seventh in the Big 12 and is now in position to win the program’s first national title since 1938. It can become the first team since Georgia in 1990 to win the national title after being unranked in the preseason AP poll, which began in 1950.

Max Duggan May Run Plenty 

The clear storyline here will be the high-powered TCU’s offense led by quarterback and Heisman Trophy runner-up Max Duggan, against Georgia’s spectacular defense led by tackle Jalen Carter, who might be the top overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. 

That Georgia defense has sprung a leak of late, though, in allowing 71 points and more than 1,000 yards of offense in its wins over Ohio State in the CFP semifinal and LSU in the SEC title game. The Buckeyes one understands, but the Tigers, not so much.

Throwing out the Ohio State game, Georgia surrendered only 12.8 ppg during the year. TCU is 8-1-1 ATS in its past 10 against allowing 17.5 points or fewer per game. Michigan’s defense was nearly as good as Georgia’s during the season and the Frogs hung 51 points on the Wolverines.  

This writer is very interested to see how Kirby Smart’s Dawgs fare coming off a rare close game. UGA is 1-9 ATS in its past 10 following a win of 3 points or fewer. That trend wasn’t in effect this year until the Ohio State game.

Trio Of Starters Questionable

There are a few key players listed as questionable for Monday. For the Frogs, it’s running back Kendre Miller, who had eight carries for 57 yards against Michigan before injuring his knee. He has rushed for 1,399 yards and 17 TDs this year.

Emari Demercado fared well in his place in the semifinal win but it also likely means more rushing for QB Max Duggan if considering a prop wager on his total rushing yards. He rushed 15 times for 57 yards and two scores vs. U-M and also carried 15 times for 110 yards and a TD in the Big 12 title game.

Georgia last faced a mobile QB in the SEC title game and held LSU’s Jayden Daniels to minus-6 yards on six carries, but Daniels wasn’t fully healthy and mostly stayed in the pocket. 

The Bulldogs lost tight end Darnell Washington to a sprained ankle and outside linebacker Chaz Chambliss to a hyperextended knee against Ohio State. Washington has started every game for Georgia this year with 27 catches for 426 yards and two TDs.

He isn’t needed huge in the passing game as the Dawgs have the nation’s top tight end in Brock Bowers, but Washington’s blocking has made him one of the team’s most important players. Chambliss has stepped in as the team’s second outside linebacker after the season-ending injury to Nolan Smith earlier this year. is your sports betting command center. Read featured betting strategy compiled from a panel of leading sports betting experts.

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