College Football Playoff Championship Odds and Action Report

College Football Playoff championship odds are now on the board, after two exhilarating semifinals. Defending national champion Georgia rallied to barely beat Ohio State, after TCU pulled a big surprise by knocking off Michigan.

The Bulldogs are right where many expected them to be. But preseason, the Horned Frogs could be had for as much as 200/1 in odds to win the College Football Playoff. Yet here TCU is, facing Georgia in the Jan. 9 title tilt.

John Murray, executive director of The SuperBook, provides early insights on CFP championship game odds and action.

College Football Playoff Championship Odds

No. 3 TCU vs No. 1 Georgia

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett is aiming for a second straight national title. (Getty)

Opening line: Georgia -13.5; Over/Under 64
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET Monday, Jan. 9 (ESPN)

UPDATE 4 P.M. ET MONDAY, JAN. 9: With 3.5 hours to go until kickoff, BetMGM has the Bulldogs laying 13.5 points on the CFP championship odds board. That's up a point from earlier today, in no small part due to a $550,000 bet on Georgia -12.5.

The Bulldogs opened -13.5 late on New Year's Eve, fell to -13 last Monday and -12.5 Tuesday. The line toggled between -12.5 and -13 Sunday and earlier today, then jumped from -12.5 to -13.5 after the major wager.

Prior to that bet, TCU was taking 71% of spread tickets and 58% of spread money in BetMGM's digital platform (mobile/online betting). Now, TCU is still seeing 68% of spread tickets, but spread money has flipped to 64% on Georgia. However, when retail betting is added in – action at brick-and-mortar books – TCU still has a money advantage, according to BetMGM vice president of trading Jason Scott.

Furthermore, moneyline ticket count is 7/1 and moneyline cash 2/1-plus on the Horned Frogs, who are currently +350.

"We need a Georgia victory. The Bulldogs are better for us in the futures book and the game book," Scott said. "We are seeing two-way spread action, but TCU is currently a loser there, as well."

BetMGM opened the total at 61.5, went to 62.5 Jan. 1 and on Wednesday hit 63.5. In just the past hour, the total backed up to 62.5 again. Still, ticket count is 2/1-plus and money almost 3/1 on the Over.

Updated on 06/18/2024
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UPDATE 2:30 P.M. ET WEDNESDAY, JAN. 4: Caesars Sports took a couple of major wagers on TCU, and you'll never guess who from. Or perhaps you will. Houston furniture store owner Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale weighed in this week on both the moneyline and the spread.

McIngvale, who regularly makes large bets as a hedge against promotions for his customers, put $500,000 on TCU moneyline +400, for a potential $2 million win. He then got another $1 million down at Caesars on Horned Frogs +13, to win approximately $900,000.

With Mattress Mack's wagers in the mix, spread ticket count is 3/1 and spread money 9/1 on TCU, and moneyline tickets and cash are beyond 9/1 on the Horned Frogs. But, as Caesars' Max Meyer noted, even if you subtract McIngvale's big plays, TCU is taking three times more cash than Georgia on the spread and seven times more cash on the moneyline.

Caesars opened Georgia -13 Saturday night and went to -13.5 a couple of times Sunday. The line spent much of Tuesday at its low so far of Bulldogs -12.5, and that's where it sits now.

"There were 14s and 14.5s out there elsewhere,” Caesars lead college football trader Joey Feazel said. “I opened this at 13, and the market moved toward us and now a little past us with it at 12.5. Right now, it’s been all TCU money. I do think the Georgia-TCU handle will surpass both semifinals, and that’s with the Georgia-Ohio State handle blowing every other college football game this season out of the water.

"But would this game surpass the handle of an Ohio State-Michigan or Georgia-Michigan? I don’t think so.”

Beyond McIngvale's wagers, TCU has taken a couple more notable bets: $110,000 at +13.5, and $80,000 at +380 on the moneyline.

"It’s 13 points in a championship game, so I can see why TCU is getting this action,” Feazel said. “But I think the talent difference is huge. Sonny Dykes also had a whole month to prepare for Michigan. Now, he only has eight days to prepare for Georgia. We saw a rare sighting of Georgia’s defense getting shown up, so this could be some recency bias. It can be tough to lay it with a big favorite like Georgia when they looked vulnerable in their previous game.”

Caesars opened the total at 63 and quickly dipped to 62 late Saturday night. The total then toggled between 62 and 62.5 a few times, and it's been steady at 62.5 since Tuesday morning. Ticket count is approaching 5/1 on the Over, perhaps owing to both semifinals flying beyond the total. But money is almost dead even, with just a slight edge to the Over.

"There were some differences with some of the other opening totals elsewhere – one opened 64.5 and another opened 59.5,” Feazel said. “We’re now at 62.5, and I think that’s the right number there. We’re going to need the Under in the end, even though I see sharp action continuing to come in on the Under. I think the total could drift up because the public just saw two shootouts in the semifinals, so we’ll see Over money for sure.”

UPDATE 2 P.M. ET MONDAY, JAN. 2: After about 40 hours of marinating, Georgia remains a 13.5-point chalk on the College Football Playoff national championship odds board at The SuperBook. The line hasn't moved since going up late Saturday night, but Murray has an idea of how things will go over the next week.

"I think what you're gonna end up seeing is the public backing the 'dog. People don't want to lay 13.5 points or -500 on the moneyline," Murray said. "TCU moneyline will be very popular, no doubt about that."

The total was on the move Saturday night at The SuperBook, quickly dropping from the 64 opener to 61.5. By Sunday afternoon, the number stabilized at 62.5, where it remains this afternoon.

"We might've been prisoners of the moment with that opening total," Murray said. "Two high-scoring games in the semifinals, and we got crushed on the Over, especially in the Ohio State-Georgia game."

UPDATE SATURDAY, DEC. 31: Georgia and Ohio State played arguably one of the best games in the nine-year history of the CFP. The Bulldogs (14-0 SU, 7-7 ATS) trailed by 14 in the second quarter and rallied, then trailed by 14 entering the fourth quarter and got to the finish line in tonight's Peach Bowl.

Stetson Bennett and Co. outscored the Buckeyes 18-3 in the final stanza, turning a 38-24 deficit into an airtight 42-41 victory. Bennett hit Adonai Mitchell on a 10-yard TD pass with 54 seconds left, and the Bulldogs then held on for dear life as Bryce Young and Ohio State easily drove into field-goal range.

But Noah Ruggles – who earlier in the fourth quarter made a 48-yard field goal to give the Buckeyes a 41-35 lead – missed from 50 yards. A Bennett kneel-down then sent Georgia to its second straight national title game, though the Dawgs failed to cash as 5-point favorites.

All that craziness overshadowed a tremendous opening CFP semifinal in the Fiesta Bowl. Texas Christian (13-1 SU, 10-3-1 ATS) jumped all over Michigan early, let the Wolverines back in, pounded Michigan some more, and let the Wolverines back in again. But by the end of the Fiesta Bowl, the underdog Horned Frogs kept their season alive.

TCU, which closed as an 8-point pup, led 21-3 with five minutes left in the second quarter. Michigan closed within 21-16 midway through the third quarter before the Horned Frogs hit the gas again, taking a 41-22 lead late in the third quarter. Again, Michigan rallied, closing within six at 51-45 and getting the ball in the final minute.

But TCU ultimately held on to win by that 51-45 count and advance to the championship game. The Horned Frogs are a significantly larger 'dog for the finale at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.

"The only discussion was between Georgia -13.5 and -14," Murray said late Saturday night of the The SuperBook's College Football Playoff championship odds market. "Credit to TCU, but it's hard to believe they'll have an opponent throw two pick-sixes and fumble inside the 1-yard line again."

Indeed, TCU benefited greatly from Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy throw first-quarter and third-quarter INTs, both returned for touchdowns. And after an apparent early second-quarter TD was overturned – which would've pulled the Wolverines within 14-10 – and the ball instead placed at the 1, running back Kalel Mullings fumbled it away.

Late tonight, The SuperBook's CFP championship odds board still has Georgia -13.5. However, the total is on the move early, already dropping 2.5 points to 61.5, despite the two hugely high-scoring semifinal games.

"It should be easy work for Georgia, but that's why the play the games," Murray said.