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We have reached the final game of the college football season and what a storyline we have here. This year's College Football Playoff has by far been the most entertaining one since the format began in 2014. We have had some good matchups along the way but never two thrillers in the same playoff. TCU continues to impress as they continue to be doubted by oddsmakers including myself all year. I don’t think anyone is questioning them now. Georgia was on the brink of a loss, just like Michigan, but they showed why they are the defending champions by pulling out a one point thriller over an Ohio State team that played their hearts out. Now we have the big under dog in TCU going up against, the juggernaut and national champion, Georgia Bulldogs. I can not wait for this game to kickoff. Before we dig into my National Championship game pick, let’s review the trend we’ve been following all bowl season.
As I explained in a previous article, there's a +EV trend of betting underdogs to win outright during bowl season. Let’s see how this trend has faired this season. You’ll see below that at the time of writing this article, underdogs that covered the spread, won their game outright 9 out of 14 times for a 64% hit rate. In the games in which the underdog covered but did not win, the margin of victory was no more than four points. This trend once again is on track for another very nice return on investment.
Underdogs Who Covered and Won Straight Up
Troy +3. Won outright 18-12
BYU +4.5. Won outright 24-23
Eastern Michigan+3.5. Won outright 41-27
Western Kentucky +3.5. Won outright 44-23
Air Force +3.5. Won outright 30-15
Middle Tennessee +7.5. Won outright 25-23
New Mexico State +3. Won outright 24-19
Buffalo +6. Won outright 23-21
Texas Tech +4.5. Won outright 42-25
Washington +3. Won outright 27-20
Maryland +2. Won outright 16-12
Pittsburgh +7.5. Won outright 37-35
Tennessee +5. Won outright 31-14
TCU +8. Won outright 51-45
Tulane +2. Won outright 46-45
Underdogs Who Only Covered
Miami (OH) +10.5. Lost by 4
North Texas +11.5. Lost by 3
Liberty Spread +3.5. Lost by 2
Kansas +3. Lost by 2
North Carolina +13. Lost by 1
Syracuse +10.5. Lost by 8
Oklahoma +10. Lost by 3
Ohio State +5.5. Lost by 1
Now let's get to my favorite play for Monday's National Championship game...
GEORGIA FIRST QUARTER -3
TCU has been an incredible story this year. Most outside of their fanbase, including myself, thought that story would end last week. I have a few plays on this game but the play I am most confident in is this first quarter play. TCU will be attempting to slay the giant and I am not quite confident in laying the 13 points because Georgia, even if dominating the game, tends to let down a bit in the secondary so the backdoor cover for TCU would be live. My play here is based around focus and talent. I believe Ohio State popped Georgia in the mouth last week and they were a bit thrown off by it and never really recovered from it. I believe that helps Georgia in this matchup against a highly motivated but less talented TCU team. The one thing Georgia does not want to give TCU, as a big underdog, is any early success or confidence like they did with Ohio State last week. I believe Kirby Smart is instilling this message into his team this week and they come out sharp early. Confidence is a dangerous thing with underdogs. TCU came up with huge plays on defense in the first quarter of the semifinal game against Michigan. Michigan drove right down the field on them but TCU stood strong at the goal line to turn the momentum. Shortly after TCU gets a pick six of McCarthy and their confidence just skyrocketed. It was just what the doctor ordered for TCU and exactly what Georgia wants to avoid early in this one. Give me Georgia -3 first quarter.
By Brandon Kenyon
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