Georgia blows out TCU
The No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs crushed the No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs in the College Football Playoff National Championship game – along with American bettors.
57% of the moneyline handle came in on the underdog Horned Frogs
According to data from DraftKings sportsbook, 57% of the moneyline handle came in on the underdog Horned Frogs, who lost by a near-record count of 65-7. They did not score in the final three-and-a-half quarters of the game despite Georgia putting in its backups near the start of the fourth quarter.
A majority of spread bet money was also on TCU until a massive shift came in a few hours before kickoff. UGA ultimately ended up with 56% of the spread handle, which it paid back in spades.
American bettors fooled by sportsbooks
TCU opened as the largest underdog in a national title-deciding matchup since the BCS was instituted in 1998. The oddsmakers set them at 13.5-point underdogs, which they did not come even close to covering.
Georgia qualified for the game by defeating No. 4 Ohio State 42-41 in the national semifinal. That was the closest it came to a loss en route to its second consecutive national championship.
TCU did not vindicate itself with its performance Monday night, but it earned a shot at the title and was a rightful participant. The Horned Frogs defied the odds all season long and knocked off No. 2 Michigan 51-45 in the other semifinal just a week ago.
second-largest margin of victory over a top-five opponent
The 65-7 final score was the second-largest margin of victory over a top-five opponent in college football history. The largest came in 1944 when No. 1 Army defeated No. 5 Notre Dame 59-0.
Even though the total handle shows an even give-and-take between the moneyline and spread, the majority of Americans were tailing TCU in some capacity. 66% of spread and 69% of moneyline wagers were on the underdogs’ ill-fated attempt to complete the upset bid.
Prolific high-roller Mattress Mack was one of the many gamblers backing TCU. He bet $3m on his home-state representatives, bringing his total national championship losses to $9.2m in two seasons.
Georgia is now the first back-to-back national champion since Alabama in 2011 and 2012. It will have a fair amount of roster turnover due to the NFL draft, just like it did last year, but is already the betting favorite to win the 2024 national title at +275, just ahead of Alabama (+500) and Michigan and Ohio State (both +800).
Future of the national playoff
Monday’s shocking result presents a problem for college football moving forward.
The national playoff will expand from four to 12 teams in the 2024-25 season, and several schools will host first-round matchups on their campuses. The goal of increasing the playoff was to provide more worthy schools opportunities to capture the national title and increase the parity across the country.
However, what the country was forced to watch Monday showed that even an expanded field will not stop the dominant powers from capturing the title. Feel-good stories like TCU can still make a run through the bracket, but their lack of resources and raw talent will separate them from perennial powerhouses like Georgia, Ohio State, Alabama, and others.
Unfortunately, that notion undermines the importance of the regular-season schedule, which is a battle that has been fought for the past few seasons. Last year, the Cincinnati Bearcats were one of the four teams selected to participate in the national playoff, but despite their perfect record, many fans called their first-round matchup against Alabama a foregone conclusion.
The Bearcats went on to lose that game 27-6 as Bama cruised to another national championship appearance.
Similarly, there were complaints that Alabama (10-2) deserved to be in the bracket more than TCU (13-1) this season. Those cries deafened when the Horned Frogs beat Michigan, but roared wide and loud Monday night.
The longest offseason in sports has now commenced. Games will be back in September after an assuredly-busy offseason.