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The defending champion No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs try to become the first team to win back-to-back College Football Playoff titles when they face the No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs Monday at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.
Georgia clobbered LSU 50-30 to win the SEC title while TCU backed into the College Football Playoff after losing to Kansas State in the Big XII championship. Both teams punched their title game tickets by winning classic CFP semifinal games.
The Bulldogs rallied from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the Buckeyes 42-41 in the Peach Bowl. Georgia QB Stetson Bennett completed 23-of-34 passes for 398 yards with 4 TDs (three passing and one rushing) and 1 INT.
TCU upset Michigan 51-45 as 9-point underdogs in the Fiesta Bowl thanks to a few huge plays. The Horned Frogs had two pick-sixes vs. the Wolverines and TCU WR Quentin Johnson scored a 76-yard receiving TD.
Georgia’s only loss over the past two seasons was against Alabama in last year’s SEC title game. The Bulldogs are 14-0 straight (SU), 7-7 against the spread (ATS), and 6-8 Over/Under (O/U) this season.
TCU had its undefeated season ended in the Big XII championship by Kansas State. The Horned Frogs are 13-1 SU, 10-3-1 ATS, and 8-6 O/U on the season.
Betting Details (DraftKings)
- Moneyline: TCU (+350), Georgia (-435)
- ATS: TCU +12.5 (-110), Georgia -12.5 (-110)
- Total — 63 — O: -110, U: -110
College Football Playoff: The Spread
TCU-Georgia feels like a recent March Madness game pitting an experienced team against a loaded national powerhouse. TCU keeps pulling out these tight games — 6-1 overall in one-score games — because of its continuity.
The Horned Frogs had the second-most returning production from last year’s team out of Power 5 schools, per ESPN. TCU’s players are locked into their roles and know what to do in crunch time because they’ve played together longer.
Georgia on the other hand were 96th in return of production and 122nd defensively. While the Bulldogs “reload not rebuild,” their losses defensively has been felt as the season concludes.
The Bulldogs allowed 30 points to LSU in the SEC title game and 41 in the CFP semifinal. Ohio State’s wideouts tore up Georgia’s defense. Buckeyes WR Marvin Harrison Jr. had 5-106-2 and WR Emeka Egbuka went for 8-112-1.
Johnston will be selected in the first-round of the upcoming NFL draft. He has 10 catches for 202 receiving yards in the last two games for the Horned Frogs.
But, the biggest factor in TCU-Georgia is “can the Horned Frogs’ offensive give QB Max Duggan time to throw?” Well, the Bulldogs are just 94th in sack rate nationally, per Football Outsiders.
Furthermore, TCU has better ball-security than Georgia. The Horned Frogs are +9 in turnover differential and the Bulldogs are -2 with the 85th-ranked interception rate in the country.
Underdogs have historically played well in the College Football Playoff title games. The ‘dogs are 5-3 ATS in the eight previous CFP national championships.
TCU is 3-0 ATS as ‘dogs this season and 4-0 ATS in non-conference games. Georgia is 0-4 ATS in its last four non-conference games.
College Football Playoff Best Bet #1: TCU Horned Frogs +12.5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook
- (Word to the wise: Supposedly sharp money is coming in on Georgia as kickoff nears. If you wait, maybe TCU gets to the key number of +14).
College Football Playoff: The Total
Officially, the 63.5-point total in TCU-Georgia is a pass for me. The previous eight CFP title games are 5-3 O/U and the winning team has scored at least 40 points in five of those games.
Also, per VSIN, the money at DraftKings Sportsbook in the TCU-Georgia total is roughly 50/50 at the time of writing. While nearly three-fourths of the bets placed are on the Over.
If anything, I lean to the Under 63.5 (-110). Both teams soared Over the total in their CFP semifinal games and it’s a good rule of thumb to fade what you last saw when betting on football.
College Football Playoff: Player Props
TCU Horned Frogs QB Max Duggan OVER 27.5 rushing yards (-130) at DraftKings Sportsbook
Duggan needs to pick up the slack in TCU’s running game since Horned Frogs leading rusher, RB Kendre Miller, is a game-time decision to play in the College Football Playoff title game.
In the Big XII title game, Duggan rushed 110 yards and 1 TD on 15 carries and, in the CFP semifinal, Duggan gained 57 rushing yards on 15 attempts with 2 rushing TDs.
He averages roughly 33 rushing yards per game and has gone for at least 41 yards in seven of his 14 games this season. Duggan’s NFL comp in my opinion is Giants QB Dan Jones. He is sneaky athletic and is better when on the move.
In a do-or-die game, mobile quarterbacks to use their legs more. With the question marks surrounding Miller’s game status, I expect TCU’s coaching staff to utilize Duggan in the run game more so.
Georgia Bulldogs QB Stetson Bennett OVER 278.5 passing yards (-115) at DraftKings Sportsbook
TCU-Georgia is going to be a quarterback battle and the Horned Frogs will make the Bulldogs earn this game. Bennett will rise to the occasion because of his big-game experience and talent around him.
Bennett threw for 398 yards in the CFP semifinal because Georgia needed him to. Plus he’s gone Over 278.5 passing yards in eight of his 14 games this season.
Furthermore, the injury to Georgia TE Darnell Washington hurts their zone running scheme and could force the Bulldogs to put more receivers on the field.
Also, TCU’s pass defense is nothing to write home about. Georgia’s offensive line is top-five in pass protection and TCU is 123rd in explosive pass play rate.
Finally, the weaker side of the Horned Frogs’ defense is stopping the run. TCU should commit more resources to stopping the Bulldogs’ ground game and forcing Bennett to beat it. Which he probably will.
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