College Football Playoff Semifinals Odds and Predictions


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After nearly a month-long hiatus, the top-four teams in the country will take the field on New Year’s Eve for the College Football Playoff semifinals. The action starts with No. 3 TCU vs. No. 2 Michigan at 4 p.m. EST in the Fiesta Bowl (Glendale, AZ), and wraps up with No. 4 Ohio State vs. No. 1 Georgia at 8 p.m. EST in the Peach Bowl (Atlanta, GA).

Below, find the full slate of odds along with my best bet for both games, and head over to SBD for the latest national championship odds.

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STATES: AZ, CO, IA, IL, IN, KS, LA, MI, MD, NJ, NY, PA, TN, VA

TCU vs. Michigan odds and prediction

Team Spread Moneyline Total
TCU +7.5 (-110) +255 57.5 (-115)
Michigan -7.5 (-110) -320 57.5 (-105)

The aspect of this game I’m most confident handicapping is the matchup between the Michigan defense and TCU offense, which is one I see the Wolverines dominating.

Michigan’s D rated fourth in the nation in overall efficiency per Football Outsiders while finishing third in total yards allowed (277.1 YPG) and fifth in scoring (13.4 PPG). I’m not saying TCU has a bad offense, anything but. They averaged over 40 points per game and hit the 50-point plateau on three different occasions (including against Oklahoma and Iowa State). QB Max Duggan was a deserving runner-up in the Heisman voting and wideout Quentin Johnson could be a top-ten pick in the 2023 NFL draft.

But the Frogs have yet to face a defense on par with Michigan. The closest they came was their matchup with Texas in Austin, when they were held to just 17 points in a still-impressive 17-10 road win. If Duggan and company thought that was tough sledding, they are going to be in for a rude awakening when they lineup across from Mazi Smith and D.J. Turner.

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Though it finished the season averaging 25.0 points against per game (74th in the country), TCU’s defense showed the potential to stiffen up when needed. When the offense was sputtering against the Longhorns or in the Big 12 title game against Kansas State, the defense upped its game and held the fort.

With the offense running into Michigan’s brick wall of a front seven tonight in Glendale, look for the TCU defense to keep the game close in the first half, leading to a low-scoring first 30 minutes (much like the Big 12 championship, which went to the break 14-10).

Pick: first half under 28.5 points (-106)

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STATES: AZ, CO, IA, IL, IN, KS, LA, MI, MD, NJ, NY, PA, TN, VA

Ohio State vs. Georgia odds and prediction

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Ohio State +6.5 (-120) +198 62.5 (-106)
Georgia -6.5 (-102) -245 62.5 (-114)

This line never looked right to me and I’m surprised it hasn’t moved since it opened.

The Bulldogs have played a few less-than-impressive games this season – their narrow 26-22 win at Missouri stands out, as does their 16-6 snoozefest at Kentucky – but they have also been handed some difficult tests and handled them with ease. In their showdown with then-No. 1 Tennessee in early November, Georgia raced out to a 21-3 lead and never looked back, dispatching the Vols 27-13 (a final score that flattered UT). In the SEC Championship against a game LSU team, the Bulldogs throttled the Tigers 35-10 in the first half before taking their foot off the gas in the second stanza.

Georgia is going to have de facto home-field advantage with the Peach Bowl being played in Atlanta. This will be the second game of the season for the Dawgs at the Superdome. The first came in Week 1 against then-No. 11 Oregon and ended in a 49-3 rout in favor of UGA.

The long gap between games also means ample time for Georgia defensive coordinator Will Muschamp to prepare his defense for C.J. Stroud. The Ohio State pivot has put up gaudy numbers the past two seasons (81 TD passes and just 12 INTs) but he actually took a bit of a step back this year. That was due in part to his receiving corps being depleted. The Buckeyes lost Jaxon Smith-Njigba just three games into this season and were left with a receiver room that isn’t on par with what they have been used to over the past half-decade.

Georgia suffered its lone setback of last season against Alabama in the SEC Championship (41-24). The Tide racked up 536 yards on UGA’s top-rated defense, including 421 through the air for Bryce Young. But when the teams met again in the national championship game, Muschamp’s group had made the necessary adjustments. Bama was held under 400 yards and Young only completed 61 percent of his passes during a 33-18 UGA win.

On the opposite side, after seeing the way Michigan tore apart the Buckeyes in 2022 edition of The Game, I have serious doubts about Ohio State’s ability to stop Georgia’s balanced attack. J.J. McCarthy and the Wolverines’ (up-to-that-point-underwhelming) attack shredded Ohio State for 530, including over 250 through the air and on the ground. OSU surrendered TD plays of 85, 75, 75, and 69 yards.

Look for UGA to put in another quality performance against quality competition.

Pick: Georgia -6.5 (-102)

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STATES: AZ, CO, IA, IL, IN, KS, LA, MI, MD, NJ, NY, PA, TN, VA

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