We’re set for the College Football Playoff to take place on New Year’s Eve, with No. 3 TCU facing No. 2 Michigan, and No. 4 Ohio State squaring off with the defending champion No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs. Let’s breakdown some bets available on DraftKings Sportsbook.
No. 3 TCU vs. No. 2 Michigan
Fiesta Bowl: Glendale, AZ (December 31 at 4:00 pm ET)
Full disclosure, I haven’t bet either of the playoff games yet outside of a small bet on TCU when they briefly touched +10. This is going to be a tough matchup against a Michigan team that has stomped out the competition in recent games — most notably going into Ohio State and blowing out the Buckeyes.
Michigan presents the nation’s second-best run defense behind only UGA, and will run the ball well against almost anyone. But I think TCU should be able to move the ball through the air in this game. The Horned Frogs obviously have a terrific passing attack with Max Dugan and company, and the Wolverines splits have been night and day at home versus away from home. Michigan allows just 145.5 passing yards at home, but 266 passing yards per game away from home. We just saw Purdue pick up 366 passing yards in the Big Ten Championship Game — this is a similar atmosphere being in-doors against a great QB.
TCU has found ways to stay in every game this season, including a fourth quarter comeback in its only loss of the season to Kansas State. I think Michigan probably ultimately wins, but this feels like a one-score game. As of December 21, betting splits on the spread are about 60/40 in Michigan’s favor. But there do seem to be sharper bets on TCU, particularly to win outright — 18% of the tickets for 40% of the handle.
No. 4 Ohio State vs. No. 1 Georgia
Peach Bowl: Atlanta, GA (December 31 at 8:00 pm ET)
Another one I haven’t gotten around to betting (I have a future on UGA we can get into later), but if I were to bet this game, I’d lay it with the favorite. The splits are terrifying, as 85% of the tickets for 90% of the money are on the Bulldogs, but I think the public has the right side here.
Ultimately, I think we’re underrating Georgia in this spot, while overrating Ohio State a bit. UGA has won all but one of its games this season by double-digits, sleepwalking to a loss at Missouri. It’s been a single-digit favorite only one other time, and wound up dominating Tennessee.
When UGA has played in this building this season (essentially a home game), it annihilated Oregon 49-3, and then beat LSU in the SEC Championship 50-30 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score.
Ohio State showed its true colors in a home loss to Michigan, getting dominated physically en route to a 45-23 final. Now the Buckeyes are going on the road to face an even more physical team. This one could get ugly.
Championship Winner: Georgia (-125) - 2.5-units
I already broke down why I feel Georgia has blowout potential over Ohio State, and I know I will like them in the National Championship Game. Michigan would present the toughest matchup, but at the end of the day Georgia does what the Wolverines do, but better.
The Bulldogs won it all last year, but I think this year they can actually run the table and repeat. I’ll put a decent size wager on it, and if for some reason I want to change my mind before the title game, hedging will be an option if we need to. This is by far the most consistent team, and it comes with experience and the ability to get up for big games.
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All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.
The contents contained in this article do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment.