There’s a curious twist in having more than 30 states having legalized sports betting in the United States: Residents in three of the four states with teams in the College Football Playoff won’t be allowed to place legal wagers on their home-state teams in the opening round of the tournament.
Among those four teams, and states, are the CFP favorites, the University of Georgia Bulldogs.
For the first playoff round, Georgia, the defending champions who rolled to a 13-0 record and the SEC championship in 2022, plays Ohio State (11-1) at 8 p.m. ET Dec. 31 at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta.
There is no legal sports betting in Georgia , though.
The timing is maddening for Ohioans because legal sports betting in the Buckeye State does not start until just after the stroke of midnight, Jan. 1. If Ohio State can get past the formidable Bulldogs, sports betting will be legal in Ohio when the championship game is played on Jan. 9.
The other CFP semi is at 4 p.m. New Year’s Eve when Michigan (13-0) and Texas Christian (12-1) face off at the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.
Michigan Sports Betting is Legal
Michigan has legalized both retail and online sports gambling, so folks there can back the Wolverines with bucks. However, the TCU Horned Frogs call Fort Worth home and there is no sports gambling in the Lone Star State.
Meanwhile, in the Peach State, efforts to bring legal, regulated sports betting to fruition will have to wait until the 2023 Georgia legislative session.
Going into the semifinal games, Georgia is the favorite to win it all with different nationally recognized sportsbooks offering slightly different odds as of Friday. UGA was -130 at FanDuel, -145 at BetMGM, -135 at Caesars Sportsbook and -125 at DraftKings.
Here is a look at how previous CFP favorites fared (hint: Think SEC all the way) with their odds going into the semifinals.
Fate of Previous CFP Favorites
One interesting historic note: In 2021 Alabama went into the semifinals as the favorite with Georgia at +135. However, after Alabama and Georgia won their respective semifinals, Georgia went into the title game against the Crimson Tide as the -145 moneyline favorite against Alabama (+120).
Big 10 Rivals After UGA, Then TCU
Going back to this month’s semifinals, Big 10 rivals Michigan and Ohio State are No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, to win the national title, according to oddsmakers. Michigan is +300 at FanDuel and BetMGM and +290 at Caesars and DraftKings. Ohio State is +360 at FanDuel, +350 at BetMGM and Caesars, and +360 at DraftKings.
TCU is the longshot with odds of +1800 at FanDuel to win the national title, and +1600 at BetMGM, Caesars and DraftKings.
The national championship game will be 7:30 p.m. ET, Jan. 9, 2023, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. To follow through with the current theme, people at the game itself – or anywhere in California for that matter – won’t be able to legally wager on the game because there’s no sports betting in California.
Georgia’s chances for legalization might have taken a hit this fall when sports betting advocate Stacey Abrams lost the governor’s race to incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp.
CFP Semifinal Game Odds
In the Georgia-Ohio State semifinal game, Georgia is a 6.5-point favorite at FanDuel, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook and DraftKings. A few other sportsbooks have the Bulldogs as 7-point favorites. The moneylines are +220 for OSU and -265 for UGA at FanDuel; +220 and -275 at BetMGM; +215 and -267 at Caesars, and +220 and -260 at DraftKings. The Over-Under has been at 62.5 and 62 points.
Michigan is a 7.5-point favorite over TCU at FanDuel, Bet MGM and Caesars, and an 8-point favorite with DraftKings. The moneylines are +235 for TCU and -295 for Michigan at FanDuel; +240 and -300 at BetMGM; +250 and -320 at Caesars, and +255 and -305 at DraftKings. The Over-under has hovered at 58.5 points.
Should Georgia advance to the CFP final, DraftKings has the Bulldogs 7.5-point favorites over Michigan and 15.5-point favorites over TCU.