Preview and picks for the College Football Playoff National Championship
The final game of the 2022 college football season concludes with the national championship game between No. 3 TCU and No. 1 Georgia. I chip-in some insight and information you can bet on included a selection on the title game.
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Date: Monday, Jan. 9
TV channel: ESPN
Location: SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California
Line: Georgia -13.5 and Total 64
Leading online sportsbooks BookMaker, Bovada and BetUS are dealing Georgia -13.5 while top online sportsbook BetOnline has Georgia -13 (-115 odds).
BetOnline is reporting that 58.6% of the money wagered on the spread is on TCU (+13). Interestingly, the Horned Frogs also own the majority of the moneyline handle as, currently, 51.5% of the action is on them. The total is a lofty 63.5, and after seeing all the scoring in the CFP semifinal games, bettors are hammering the over. BetOline has taken 84.2% of the money on the 'Over'.
Our selections of Picks went 2-0 overall on the Top 25 College Bowl match-ups. Our Picks, Opinions and Leans combined to go 5-5 this season and 6-2 last season on the New Year's Six bowl selections. A majority of those were ATS selections with a few totals including the Pick of USC/Tulane 'over' 62.5 in Tulane's stunning 46-45 win after trailing 45-30 with less than 5 minutes remaining.
Fairway's forecast on the national semifinals went 2-0 with a Pick on Ohio State (+6.5) and Opinion on TCU (+7.5).
Georgia vs TCU Prediction
Georgia (13-0), from the rugged SEC, is shooting to win back-to-back national titles and was the prohibitive year-long favorite. TCU (12-1) entered the season as a 200-1 longshot to win the national title and reached as high as 1,000-to-1 at the SuperBook in Las Vegas. The Horned Frogs have been a surprising, but sensational, story with many dramatic wins during the Big 12 season.
TCU's Heisman finalist QB Max Duggan leads a strong, balanced efficient offense that scores 40 points per game and averages 206 rushing and 255 passing vs FBS opponents (461 YPG offense) including 263 rushing and 225 passing in the 51-45 national semifinal win over Michigan. Georgia counters with their own strong, balanced and efficient offense led by fellow Heisman finalist QB Stetson Bennett. The Bulldogs also score 40 points per game and average 208 rushing and 288 passing (496 YPG offense) and elite 7.0 yards per play. Georgia's offensive allowed just 9 sacks this season, including two over the final seven games.
The difference is on defense where Georgia is a defensive dominator allowing 15.8 points, 85 rushing and 233 passing yards per game (318 YPG defense). But the Bulldogs did allow 41 points and 467 yards (348 passing) to Ohio State and had to rally from a 38-24 fourth quarter deficit to win 42-41 in the national semifinals. Still, the Bulldogs defense is tops in talent and athletic ability. TCU's 3-3-5 scheme can be difficult to deal with, and the Frogs strength is pass defense (No. 12) and allowed just 54% completions with 16 INT's led by Thorpe winning CB Hodges-Tomlinson. But the Horned Frogs did allow 27.1 points per game and 402 yards per game including 45 points and 528 yards against Michigan in the Frogs 51-45 national semifinal win. TCU's team speed is exceptional, but they won't hold an edge over Georgia's elite athletes and team speed. Georgia has more injury concerns in this title match-up, but TCU RB Kendre Miller's game-time decision (sprained MCL, right knee) is the most significant with reports indicated he's "50-50" to play.
ATS history favors TCU, as Playbook Sports newsletter notes than .750 or greater double-digit bowl 'Dogs coming off a straight-up (SU) underdog win are 5-0 ATS the last 15 years. Bowl underdogs of more than 13 points are 7-0 ATS versus .900 or greater opponents the last 10 years.
Still, as one of my sports betting and content colleague's and handicappers reminded me, four straight College Football Playoff national championship games have been decided by more than two touchdowns, and Georgia can be a Bulldog again and make it five.
If you're considering live betting or added prop bets or player to score first TD, I'll go with Georgia TE Brock Bowers (+625). Georgia is -480 on the moneyline to win the game, but you can lay -185 for Georgia to be leading halftime and win the game.
The biggest upset in college football national championship history is Ohio State's 31-24 double overtime victory over Miami as a +12 point underdog in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl. The Buckeye's (14-0) snapped talented Miami's (12-1) 34-game winning streak.
Thanks for support and following Fairway's Forecast and NCAA football Top 25 reports and picks this season.
FairwayJay is a proven sports handicapper and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. He chips in additional sports betting coverage and reporting on industry news and events. Follow FairwayJay here at OSGA.com and on Twitter @FairwayJay for more sports and betting insights.