We finally made it! The playoffs are here. It seems like just yesterday that I was writing my preseason previews and now here we are capping the playoff games. There is no time to waste so let’s just into the games. Here are the YTD #s as of 12/29:
Bowl SZN: 19-12-1 +9.08u
CFB YTD: 179-140-3 +30.84u
Fiesta Bowl- TCU vs. Michigan (-7.5) o/u 58.5
The theme of these two caps for me is basically one and the same. I think both of these lines are overreactions to the Michigan/Ohio State game. The market still thought Ohio State was better than Michigan before they faced off and now all of a sudden Michigan is by far the second-best team in the country?? Do we forget what happened to this Michigan team in the playoffs last year??
This Michigan team can run the ball extremely well but that is about the only facet of the game I have confidence in them in. I don’t trust JJ McCarthy as a QB that can make big throws if they need a clutch score late in the game. If this game is tied late in the 4th, I would take Max Duggan 100/100 times.
Joe Gillespie has really turned this TCU defense around. I thought that was one of the best hires of the year and it took time for Gillespie to get this defense going. However, I thought they played much better later in the season, especially with their dominant performance against Texas which cemented TCU as a playoff team, in my opinion.
This line being over a TD is just flat-out wrong to me. I think it is entirely likely that this game comes down to the final possession and it will fall within this number. Michigan played the worst OOC schedule in all of college football this year while TCU’s schedule set them up to be one of the most battle-tested teams in the sport. Despite that, they just kept winning.
I think this month off could slow some of Michigan’s momentum, whereas it will do TCU a world of good. Max Duggan and Quentin Johnson, among many others, were extremely banged up by the Big 12 Championship Game and now they will be back and ready to go. Let’s Go Frogs.
Pick: 2.5u TCU +8.5
Orange Bowl- Ohio State vs. Georgia (-6.5) o/u 62
Ohio State was my preseason pick to win the National Championship and I have tried to not let that affect my bias all season. I have bet against the Buckeyes in some spots but admittedly got it wrong backing them against Michigan. However, once again I think that the final score is misleading. If you watched that game, Ohio State was in it basically the whole way and even looked like the better team at points, before just letting it get away at the end.
I think the Buckeyes were very much in their own heads in that game and mental mistakes from the players and coaches cost them. I think they will come into this game with a nothing-to-lose attitude. The pressure is on Georgia as the undisputed #1 team that is also the defending champion. If CJ Stroud plays his game and Ryan Day has the balls to take deep shots, go for it on 4th down, and just play generally aggressively, then Ohio State should be able to compete here.
Jim Knowles is undoubtedly an amazing defensive coach. Ohio State has not played up to the level defensively one would hope this year. However, with a month to prep is when coordinators like Jim Knowles get the chance to shine. I think he will have a great game plan for this game and will make things hard for Stetson Bennett. Stetson has perfected this Georgia offense and the only way to beat them is to make Stetson play outside of the system. I think Knowles can force him into uncomfortable situations and hopefully generate game-changing mistakes.
When watching the Tennessee game, the Vawls had plenty of chances. I still don’t think this Georgia defense is as good as last year’s. Hendon Hooker missed an easy deep shot early in the Georgia game and there were other key moments that they just didn’t execute.
Pick: 2u Ohio State +7, 1u Ohio State o62
I understand not everyone has access to CFP player props but these are the ones I bet.
0.75u Max Duggan o24.5 rushing yards- Duggan is averaging 31 rushing yards per game and went for 110 in the biggest game of his season against Kansas State. Michigan hasn’t really faced a lot of dual-threat QBs this season. The best running QB they have seen is Sean Clifford who went for 74 yards against Michigan. I think there will be designed runs and Duggan will be ready to scramble after a month to rest his body.
0.5u Quentin Johnston Anytime Receiving TD +175- Quentin Johnson is a monster. In the red zone and in clutch moments he is who Duggan looks at. He was banged up at different points throughout the season but he should be totally healthy for this game and that will only increase his snap count and opportunities to score. If you can go only bet him anytime TD that is all good but DK had a separate prop for an anytime receiving TD with better odds. Johnston hasn’t scored on a rushing play all year so I went with that.
0.5u CJ Stroud o277.5 passing yards– There are two clear paths to this. In order for Ohio State to be winning or even within striking distance in this game, Stroud will have to hit a couple of deep shots and pick up big chunks. Or, if they flop and fall behind early, they will have to throw a ton to try to catch up. Either way, I think Ryan Day will just let Stroud ball out and go for it all in this game. He should be over 300.
This Georgia defense did just give up FIVE HUNDRED PASSING YARDS to LSU in the SEC Championship Game. They gave up 261 to Will Rogers and 271 to AR15. So the elite QBs they’ve seen have been near this number. Stroud and the OSU offense are much better than both of those guys and he’s better than the LSU offense who threw for 500 yards.
0.5u Emeka Egbuka o69.5 receiving yards– This goes hand and hand with Stroud. I think Egbuka is just as likely to go off as Marvin Harrison Jr. but has a lower prop number and will get less defensive attention. It’s that simple.
Egbuka had 125 against Michigan, 82 against Maryland in their last regular season game, and had 70+ yards in each of their first seven games this season. That is 9/13 and against good pass defenses. Back Egbuka.
0.5u Brock Bowers Anytime TD (-140)- Bowers scored a TD in 3 of the last 4 games and 4 of the last 6 games, including the SEC Championship. He also scored in the SEC Championship Game and both CFP games last season. The point is, in 4 career playoff/conference championship games, Bowers has scored a TD in each of those games. When Georgia needs to pull out their best plays and where Stetson Bennett goes in the biggest moments is to Bowers. I think he gets in the endzone here.
That’s it! Let’s crush these playoffs and then close the season out strong! Go Bucks! And as always…