CFP National Championship Game: TCU vs. Georgia

Jan 9, 2023

CFP National Championship, CFP National Championship game, CFP National Championship odds

Game: TCU Horned Frogs vs. Georgia Bulldogs

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Odds: Horned Frogs +13, Bulldogs -13

Total:  63.5

The Georgia Bulldogs (14-0 SU, 7-7 ATS) hope to become college football’s first repeat champion in more than a decade when they face the TCU Horned Frogs (13-1, 10-3-1) in the national championship game at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. Georgia has scored at least 40 points in six of its last nine games, going 6-3 to the Over during that span.

After pulling off the biggest upset in CFP history as 8-point underdogs in the Fiesta Bowl, the Horned Frogs face an even taller task in the national final. TCU opened as a 13.5-point underdog to Georgia, just the second time the Frogs have been spotted two touchdowns since 2019.

Heisman Trophy runner-up quarterback Max Duggan accounted for four of the Horned Frogs’ touchdowns in their 51-45 upset of Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl, but the bigger story may have been how TCU fared on the ground against the physical Wolverines. More than half of TCU’s yards came via the run and they ran for nearly 80 more yards than Michigan despite allowing a 54-yard run on the Wolverines’ first play from scrimmage.

An even bigger surprise was where the majority of TCU’s rushing yards came from. Emari Demercado scampered for 150 yards — more than double what he ran for in any game during the regular season. He played in relief of star running back Kendre Miller, who left the game in the first half with a knee injury. Miller, who had more than 1,300 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns during the regular season, had just eight carries in the Fiesta Bowl and his status for tonight’s game is uncertain.

Although TCU has gone Under the total in four of its last six games, the high-scoring affair in the Fiesta Bowl marked the fifth time in the Horned Frogs’ last seven games as an underdog that they went Over the total. TCU has also covered six of its last eight games, with the two non-covers coming by a half-point and the other in overtime.

The Bulldogs are making their third national title game appearance in eight years under head coach Kirby Smart and are seeking to become the first back-to-back national champion in more than a decade. Defense has keyed much of Georgia’s past success, but the Dawgs are now capable of overwhelming opponents with their offense. The Bulldogs average 39.2 points per game.

In the Peach Bowl, Stetson Bennett threw for 398 yards to lead the Bulldogs back from a 14-point deficit to edge Ohio State 42-41. Five players scored touchdowns for Georgia, which has gone Over the total in four of its last five games.

The Bulldogs could be without one of their top offensive weapons in the national final, however, after tight end Darnell Washington left the Peach Bowl in the second half with an ankle injury. Washington had 417 receiving yards and two touchdowns during the regular season but is also a key blocker in Georgia’s two-tight-end scheme.

The Horned Frogs’ balance on offense (25th in passing, 25th in rushing) could be a good test for a Georgia defense that gave up 41 points and 467 total yards against Ohio State. TCU’s defense also needs to turn in some big plays like it did in the Fiesta Bowl when it scored two touchdowns on interception returns — the Frogs’ third and fourth pick-sixes of the season. Expect a strong bounce-back effort from the Bulldogs’ defense, which has given up 71 points in its last two games after allowing just 82 in its previous seven.

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