The spread for the College Football Playoff national championship game is massive given the stakes and stage. No. 1 Georgia, one game away from winning its second consecutive title, is a 13-point favorite over TCU at SI Sportsbook.
The Bulldogs got by No. 4 Ohio State as the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve thanks to a missed 50-yard field goal attempt. UGA’s narrow 42-41 victory required a 14-point comeback in the fourth quarter of the Peach Bowl. Earlier that day, the Horned Frogs continued their miraculous run with a 51-45 upset win over No. 2 Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl to punch their ticket to the title.
TCU went 12–0 in the regular season before losing in the Big 12 championship game, and was a 7.5-point underdog against the Big Ten champion Wolverines. The Horned Frogs turned a 14-0 first-quarter lead into a 21-6 halftime edge and kept pace with Michigan in a back-and-forth second half to hold on to win.
It was just the fourth time all season that coach Sonny Dykes’s team was an underdog and Saturday marked its third win straight-up (SU) in that position—the loss to Kansas State in the conference championship game was the lone exception.
Georgia failed to cover as a 6.5-point favorite against the Buckeyes, its smallest spread of the year. Kirby Smart’s squad went through the regular season unscathed and romped against LSU, 50-30, to capture the SEC title.
Both offenses, quarterbacked by Heisman finalists, are in the top 10 in the nation in scoring. Max Duggan leads the TCU attack, which averages 41.1 points per game, against Stetson Bennett, the pilot of the UGA unit that averages 39.4 points per game. Both offenses are aided by rushing attacks that account for north of 200 yards on the ground per game.
Georgia ranks fifth in the nation with just 14.8 points per game allowed and has the clear edge on defense as TCU allows 26.4 points per game, though both units just let up more than 40 points in their victories in the semifinals.
The 62.5-point over/under is a half point higher than the Peach Bowl and more than a field goal higher than the Fiesta Bowl—the over hit in both.
These programs have met four times before—most recently in the 2016 Liberty Bowl—and the Bulldogs won each game.
The national championship spread is nearly two times TCU’s largest underdog spot of the season (-7.5 vs. Michigan and Texas) and only three teams in the FBS have a better record against the spread than the Horned Frogs this season. Their games hit the over more often than not (8–6), though only two of the last six did.
Georgia won outright as an underdog in the national championship against Alabama last season and has been favored in every game since. The Bulldogs covered just once over their final four games, though. The under has cashed in eight UGA games this year, but the over is 6–3 over its previous nine games and hit in each of its final three.
Spread: TCU +13 (-118) | Georgia -13 (-110)
Moneyline: TCU (+370) | UGA (-568)
Total: 62.5 – Over (-110) | Under (-118)
Game Info: Monday, Jan. 9, 2023 | 7:30 p.m. ET | ESPN
Location: SoFi Stadium | Inglewood, Calif.
TCU Straight-Up Record: 13–1
TCU Against the Spread Record: 10–3–1
Georgia Straight-Up Record: 14–0
Georgia Against the Spread Record: 7–7
Here are the current bets available at SI Sportsbook for the national title game.
First-Quarter Moneyline: TCU (+170) | Georgia (-250)
First-Half Moneyline: TCU (+250) | Georgia (-376)
First-Half Total: 31.5 — Over (-110) | Under (-118)
Highest-Scoring Quarter: First (+475) | Second (+125) | Third (+475) | Fourth (+220)
Odd or Even Total: Odd (-125) | Even (+100)
Half Time/ Full Time Result: TCU/TCU (+580) | TCU/Tie (+3300) | TCU/Georgia (+600) | Tie/TCU (+3000) | Tie/Tie (+3300) | Tie/Georgia (+1400) | Georgia/TCU (+1300) | Georgia/Tie (+3000) | Georgia/Georgia (-200)