Last Updated Dec 31, 2022, 11:19 PM
College Football Playoff Semifinal Odds and Action Report
US Sports Betting Industry Expert
College Football Playoff semifinal odds have been on the board for a couple of weeks now. Oddsmakers are certainly seeing some opinions form on the two New Year's Eve contests.
Georgia is the No. 1 seed and faces No. 4 Ohio State at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta. Michigan is in the No. 2 slot and meets No. 3 TCU at the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.
Multiple oddsmakers provide insights on College Football Playoff semifinal odds. Check back regularly for updates.
Opening line: Georgia -6.5; Over/Under 60.5
Time: 8 p.m. ET Saturday, Dec. 31 (ESPN)
UPDATE 6:30 P.M. ET SATURDAY, DEC. 31: Less than two hours before kickoff, Georgia is down to a 4.5-point favorite on PointsBet USA's College Football Playoff semifinal odds board. Like most books, PointsBet spent pretty much all month at Georgia -6.5, but the line has seen significant movement in the past 30 hours or so.
Friday afternoon, the Bulldogs dipped to -6, and the line dropped another 1.5 points today, with stops at -5.5 and -5 along the way to -4.5. But that's not keeping the public off Georgia.
"To no surprise, we're seeing most of the action come in on UGA," PointsBet sports analyst Mike Korn said, while also noting heavy Georgia moneyline play. "The book will be rooting for the 'dog again."
The total opened at 62, spent plenty of time at 62.5, went to 63 (Under -115) Friday evening, and it's now back at the 62 opener.
"We're seeing more action on the Over, but nothing crazy. We'll be rooting for the Under, though," Korn said.
UPDATE 5 P.M. ET FRIDAY, DEC. 30: After weeks of being stuck at Georgia -6.5, this line finally moved today. And perhaps surprisingly, it went down, not up. Caesars Sports said sharp play showed up on Ohio State +6.5, pushing Georgia to -6 for Saturday's second semifinal on the CFP.
Georgia opened -7 back on Dec. 4 and quickly moved to -6.5 off sharp Ohio State dollars at +7. Spread ticket count is 4/1-plus and spread money 2/1 on the Bulldogs, but the two largest plays are on the Buckeyes. Ohio State drew a $110,000 at +7 early in the month, then today drew what Caesars termed respected money in the form of a $55,000 bet at +6.5.
“What the sharps were hoping for was that the books would get enough liability on Georgia to move to 7, and we didn’t,” Caesars lead college football trader Joey Feazel said. “No one moved back to 7, and they started to realize that. So they’ve started to come in on Ohio State at 6.5. We still need Ohio State big, but we moved it down to 6 today.
"We weren’t the first ones to move to 6. We could have gone to 6 earlier, but we waited because we wanted to see the actual action go through. On a normal college football day, a half point wouldn’t be as big a deal. But in a game of this magnitude, it’s a much bigger deal.”
On the moneyline, Ohio State is currently +205 and taking 70% of bets, while 52% of moneyline cash is on Georgia (-250).
The total got to 63 from a 60.5 opener, then this afternoon inched down to 62.5. The Over is drawing 70% of tickets/83% of money.
UPDATE 3 P.M. ET MONDAY, DEC. 26: As game day draws closer, Georgia is a 7-point favorite on TwinSpires Sportsbook's CFP semifinal odds board. The Bulldogs opened -7 back on Dec. 4, dipped to -6.5 Dec. 5 and returned to -7 shortly thereafter.
Georgia is landing 70% of early spread bets and 64% of early spread cash.
"We saw some sharp play on Ohio State early," TwinSpires director of retail sports Zachary Lucas said. "Georgia is our biggest liability of all the college football bowl games left."
The total rose from 60.5 to 62.5, then this afternoon nudged down to 62. The Over is getting 63% of tickets/59% of cash.
UPDATE 10 P.M. ET SATURDAY, DEC. 17: Almost two weeks since the line went up, and two weeks before game day, BetMGM has Georgia at -6.5 (-115). That matches the Bulldogs' Dec. 4 opening number in the College Football Playoff semifinal odds market.
That same day, Georgia touched -7 a couple times, but otherwise has been steady at -6.5.
"We are very lopsided on Georgia spread. Almost 90% of the money is on the Bulldogs," BetMGM sports trader Christian Cipollini said of early action.
The total opened at 60.5, got to 61.5 on Dec. 5, 62 on Dec. 8 and the current 62.5 on Monday. Cipollini said money is split 50/50 on the total.
UPDATE 5 P.M. ET THURSDAY, DEC. 8: On Sunday afternoon, Caesars Sports pegged Georgia a 7-point chalk for this New Year's Even showdown at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Ohio State drew early dollars at -7, leading Caesars to move to Georgia -6.5, where Bulldogs backers are far more interested.
Point-spread ticket count is running 7/1 on Georgia, but spread money is almost dead-even two-way, with a slight lean toward Ohio State. Among the early action was a $110,000 bet on Ohio State +7.
"We opened at 7, and we had some members on the team that were a little higher than 7,” Caesars lead college football trader Joey Feazel said. “But we weren’t at 7 very long. We saw everyone else opened at 6.5, and being the only 7 on the board, you’re going to attract that big action. I think this number will probably stay at 6.5. If we put up 7, any sharp in the world would be happy to bet us on that.
"I see us needing Ohio State at game time, with just how dominant Georgia has looked this season and with all the action we’ve been getting on Georgia at 6.5.”
Caesars opened the total at 60.5, and it's now up 1.5 points to 62. Tickets and money are both in the 2.5/1 range on the Over in the early going.
UPDATE 1 P.M. ET SUNDAY, DEC. 4: Defending national champion Georgia (13-0 SU, 7-6 ATS) rolls into the CFP semifinals, having put up a 50-burger on LSU in the SEC championship game. The Bulldogs won 50-30 to cover as healthy 17.5-point neutral-site favorites in Week 14.
Meanwhile, Ohio State didn't play in Week 14 after losing to Michigan and failing to reach the Big Ten title game. But the Buckeyes (11-1 SU, 5-6-1 ATS) nabbed the fourth and final CFP slot, thanks to USC losing to Utah in the Pac-12 final.
In Week 13, Ohio State gave up 28 of the final 31 points in a 45-23 loss laying 8.5 points at home.
Several books opened Ohio State-Georgia at Bulldogs -7 in the CFP semifinal odds market. The SuperBook opted for a touch lower.
"We like -6.5 more than -7. We just think that line at Georgia -7 is too high," said John Murray, executive director of The SuperBook. "We've seen some people betting Georgia because we've got it at 6.5. It's not our sharper players. People see the market at 7, and they lay 6.5."
While the line is stable early at the Georgia -6.5 opener, The SuperBook upped the total a point to 61.5.
Opening line: Michigan -9; Over/Under 59.5
Time: 4 p.m. ET Saturday, Dec. 31 (ESPN)
UPDATE 3 P.M. ET SATURDAY, DEC. 31: With kickoff approaching, PointsBet USA has Michigan at -7.5, which is where this line has been for much of December.
Michigan is taking about 60% of spread bets and 70% of spread money. Bettors are also pounding the Wolverines on the moneyline, at a much higher percentage than the spread.
"Heavy action on Michigan spread and moneyline," PointsBet sports analyst Mike Korn said. "The book will be rooting for a Horned Frogs upset."
The total has seen more movement as game time draws near. PointsBet opened at 58.5, dipped to 58/57.5 briefly Friday, then returned to 58. Today, though, the number is down 2 points to 56. Korn said there's been late sharp action on the Under, but overall, the total is seeing good two-way play.
UPDATE 5 P.M. ET FRIDAY, DEC. 30: Under 24 hours until kickoff, Caesars Sports' CFP semifinal odds board has Michigan -7.5, which is where the number has been almost the entire time. On Dec. 4, the Wolverines opened -9 and initially ticked up to -9.5, but on Dec. 5 wound down to -7.5 and haven't budged since.
Spread tickets and money are both just shy of 2/1 on favored Michigan. On the moneyline, tickets are 2/1 TCU (+250), but money is 4/1 on Michigan (-320). That's in very large part due to a $314,134.50 bet – yes, those 50 cents were included – on Wolverines -290, to potentially win $108,322.20.
Caesars lead college football trader Joey Feazel said the opening semifinal isn't as popular as the Ohio State-Georgia nightcap.
"Starting tonight, I think the action will really start piling up,” Feazel said. “A lot of bettors don’t really want to tie up their money for that long. But there’s a big difference in action already for the two games. The handle is 2/1 for Ohio State-Georgia compared to Michigan-TCU. In bettors’ eyes, Ohio State-Georgia seems to be the pseudo-national championship."
This total also opened at 60.5, but has gone the other way, dropping to 57.5, with the final point in that drop actually coming today. The Over is netting 61% of tickets, while 72% of money is on the Under.
UPDATE 3 P.M. ET MONDAY, DEC. 26: In the opening game on the College Football Playoff semifinal odds board, Michigan is an 8-point chalk at TwinSpires Sportsbook. The Wolverines opened -9.5 Dec. 4, fell to -8.5 Dec. 5 and -7.5 Dec. 6.
It's two-way point-spread action with a lean toward the 'dog, as TCU is taking 57% of tickets/56% of money.
"The public is grabbing the points with TCU," TwinSpires' Zachary Lucas said.
The total is down to 58.5 from a 60.5 opener, with 56% of tickets/61% of money on the Under.
UPDATE 10 P.M. ET SATURDAY, DEC. 17: BetMGM has Michigan a 7.5-point chalk, which is where this line has stuck since Dec. 5. The Wolverines opened -9.5 Dec. 4, dropped to -8.5 that same day, nudged to -9 on the morning of Dec. 5, then fell off to -7.5 by the evening of Dec. 5.
"This one has had some early line movement," BetMGM sports trader Christian Cipollini said. "About 65% of the [spread] money is on Michigan. If I were to guess, I think that will increase as we get closer to game time. The public – and BetMGM has a big presence in Michigan – has been all over Michigan all season. I’d imagine that continues.
"I’d think by game time, we're looking at 75-80% on Michigan."
The total dipped from 60.5 to 59.5 within a day, then went to 59 Dec. 8 and 58.5 Monday.
"Not a ton of action so far on the total. That will pick up closer to game time," Cipollini said.
UPDATE 5 P.M. ET THURSDAY, DEC. 8: Michigan landed on Caesars' College Football Playoff semifinal odds board as a 9-point favorite and initially crept up to -9.5. But the line has since declined 2 points to -7.5.
The Wolverines are taking 62% of early spread tickets, but 72% of early spread dollars are on the Horned Frogs.
“I would say that it’s surprising that most of the early money is on TCU,” Caesars lead college football trader Joey Feazel said. “There hasn’t been a lot of confidence in TCU all year long. Kansas State just went off as the favorite last weekend. But if there’s one team that we’ve been wrong about all season, it’s TCU. They’ve continually outperformed their power rating week after week, and that could be a key reason behind this action.
"I think Michigan is a much better team, but we’ve thought TCU wouldn’t perform several times this season, and they usually proved us wrong.”
Like the Ohio State-Georgia matchup, this contest – at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. – also had an opening total of 60.5. But it's now down to 59, with 71% of bets on the Over, but 85% of cash on the Under.
UPDATE 1 P.M. ET SUNDAY, DEC. 4: Like Georgia, Michigan was no surprise in taking the No. 2 slot in the CFP rankings. The Wolverines (13-0 SU, 8-4-1 ATS) rolled over Illinois 43-22 in the Big Ten final, getting a late TD to cover the 15.5-point closing spread.
Texas Christian perhaps had to sweat it out a bit before learning this afternoon that it made the CFP's field of four. In Week 14, the Horned Frogs (12-1 SU, 9-3-1 ATS) closed as slim 1.5-point favorites in the Big 12 title game against Kansas State. TCU lost 31-28 in overtime, but did enough to convince the CFP committee that it deserved a bid.
There's been no early spread movement, with Michigan sticking at the -9 opener in The SuperBook's College Football Playoff semifinal odds market. The total, however, is on the move.
"We saw sharp money on Over 59.5 right away," The SuperBook's John Murray said, noting the total is already up 2 points to 61.5.