LAS VEGAS—Now that the College Football Playoff dust is settling, let’s see everybody’s TCU futures tickets.
At the Westgate SuperBook, patrons could have nabbed 500-to-1 Horned Frogs odds one year ago. One bit, for 10 bucks, according to executive vice president Jay Kornegay. Those odds were sliced to 200-1 by late September.
When the pigskin Final Four was set, the SuperBook still had a sweet 18-to-1 return on TCU.
William Hill (Caesars) dangled 200-1 on TCU odds a year ago. The South Point offered 200-1 in February, a price that had been halved by Oct. 10. Station Casinos had 300-1 at least through June. As late as Aug. 1, Circa Sports was at 500-1.
No. 3 TCU (13-1, 10-4 ATS) is a victory over No. 1 Georgia (14-0, 7-7 ATS) on Monday night, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., from cashing those brave investments, however few might exist.
At DraftKings, sportsbook director Johnny Avello opened his shop’s futures wagering with TCU at 250-1. There were several takers, for $10 and $20. For the national semifinals, like the SuperBook, DK had 18-1 on the Frogs.
“There were two dime bets at that number,” he said of $1,000 wagers. “It was more attractive because they were ‘in’ [the playoffs] at that point.”
TCU vs. UGA Betting Odds
For Monday night’s National Championship game, the Bulldogs generally opened around Vegas as 13.5-point favorites, with a total in the high 50s or 60. The spread has been trimmed to 12.5, the total boosted to 63.
These are current odds from top sportsbook apps around the country.
NCAAF · Mon (1/9) @ 7:45pm ET
|SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA|
Early National Championship Betting Action on the Underdog
“They took the underdog early, with the points and on the moneyline,” Avello said of DraftKings customers. “It’s no surprise that they’re taking a team that just beat Michigan and had a successful year. Wouldn’t expect it to be any other way.
“This will be a heavily bet game, more than the two semifinals on New Year’s Eve, with people going out. This one is isolated on Monday night, with nothing going against it. It’ll do really well.”
With a Georgia moneyline of around -400, just to win, a potential hedge against a big TCU ticket requires some thought. Still, guaranteeing a profit is the aim of many bettors.
Georgia’s national title odds generally hovered around +300, most of the year, trickling down to +200, and lower, into October.
Frogs Attractive to Sharp Bettors
The Horned Frogs have been the early attraction at MGM’s nine Strip venues, with 10 times as many ducats written on them than the Bulldogs.
Money, too, is in TCU’s favor, at an 8-to-1 clip, according to director of trading Lamarr Mitchell. BetMGM opened at 13.5, “and sharps took it to 12.5,” said Mitchell.
At the South Point and sister property Rampart, that 13.5 opener has been whittled to 12, according to Rampart sportsbook manager Duane Colucci. He said TCU had a 3.5-to-1 ticket-count edge in early wagering.
At the SuperBook late Thursday, director of race and sports John Murray reported that 77 percent of the action has been on TCU.
“I expect this weekend the public will be all over TCU, especially on the moneyline,” Murray said. “We are going to need Georgia, between our futures position on the Bulldogs and the action we anticipate taking on TCU’s moneyline.”
Oddsmakers’ Opinions Vary on TCU vs. Georgia
After Georgia rallied to nip Ohio State, 42-41, in a semifinal Saturday, PlayUp USA head of wagering Rex Beyers installed Georgia as a 10.5-point favorite over TCU, with a 66 total, in the finale.
He compared figures with those from pals Ed Salmons (at the SuperBook) and Matt Metcalf (at Circa Sports). Salmons made the Bulldogs 13.5-point favorites, Metcalf 14.
Beyers noted he’s been more bullish on the Horned Frogs this season than many in the industry. “Clearly,” he wrote in a DM, “they didn’t agree with my TCU sentiment.”
Cash has somewhat justified Beyers’ positions on both the spread and total.
“The market has driven [the spread] down through 13, everywhere but Circa, and I do believe there will be more dog interest between now and kickoff,” Beyers said.
“Hard to justify a total as low as it opened, given what we saw in the third quarter against Michigan, despite how well the [Frogs’] 3-3-5 defense played for the most part.”
In TCU’s 51-45 thrilling triumph over Michigan, the Wolverines outscored the Horned Frogs 24-20 in a wild third quarter.
The Frogs defense did make a difference with a pair of pick-sixes against Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy.
Bud Clark began the game’s scoring by returning an interception 41 yards, and Dee Winters gave TCU a 34-16 edge with a 29-yard scoring return in that third quarter.
“I expect TCU to do its part on offense, and I think the Frogs have guys who will give Georgia the same trouble that they gave Michigan,” Beyers said.
“Asking them to win the game, though, as I expected they would against Michigan, might be a bridge too far here, given Georgia’s recent scare and getting through it.”
“Unlike most recreational places that will write a majority of bets to it on Sunday and then Monday, we have a sharper clientele. So I don’t see them fighting each other to bet it with me.
“But ‘dog’ seems to be right, at this point, from how I’m reading it. That plus the points, and Over, would be how I played it.”
Props to DraftKings
DraftKings released its National Championship game proposition odds Thursday morning, with -180 being placed on Kenny McIntosh and Emari Demercado to score touchdowns.
McIntosh, Georgia’s senior tailback, has scored at least once in each of his past four games.
We are partial to Demercado, a fifth-year Frogs tailback who has hit the end zone three times in his past six games. He turned 17 runs into 150 yards and a touchdown against the Wolverines.
Junior tailback Kendre Miller recorded 17 rushing TDs this season, but a knee injury limited him to eight runs, for 57 yards, against Michigan. His status is questionable for Monday night, but Demercado has proven himself.
We also favor -160 on Georgia tight end Brock Bowers to score. He has four receiving TDs in his past seven games. He has run the ball seven times this season, with his first three carries all finishing in the end zone.
(Odds and prices subject to change.)
At 1.5 TD passes, TCU QB Max Duggan is -140 on Under, Georgia QB Stetson Bennett -195 on Over.
In seven of his past eight games, Bennett tossed at least two touchdown passes. Duggan threw only one TD pass in three of his past five games.
No TD in the game? If it hits, it pays a nifty 300-to-1 odds.
At 38.5 points for Georgia, Over is Even, Under -130. The Bulldogs have cleared that hurdle in six of their past nine games, which includes 37 in a home win over Georgia Tech.
At 24.5 for TCU, Over is -110, Under -120. The Dogs’ past two foes have averaged 35.5 points. Moreover, the Frogs have failed to get at least 25 points only once this season.
The Bulldogs’ defense or special teams to score is +200, the Horned Frogs’ defense and special teams +425.