Why this trend will continue in National Championship play, plus other TCU-Georgia best bets

The NFL regular season ended yesterday, which means today is the day the coaches get fired. Or Sunday night if you’re Lovie Smith. Lovie – who further cemented himself as the greatest Chicago Bears coach of my life by beating the Colts. He was joined by Arizona’s Kliff Kingsbury on Monday.

Kingsbury isn’t the only change in the desert, with general manager Steve Keim stepping down from his role to “focus on his health”. Both received contract extensions before the season, now the Cardinals are starting over. Elsewhere, it doesn’t look like the Patriots will do the same. Bill Belichick confirmed he has no plans to leave New England and plans to return for its 24th season in 2023.

In non-NFL coaching news:

OK, let’s make some money.

All Eastern times and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook


🔥 The hot ticket

No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 3 TCU, 7:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN

Latest Odds:

Over 62

  • key trend: Georgia’s last five games have been 4-1.
  • The Choice: Over 63 (-110)

It’s going to be a little bittersweet tonight. I look forward to watching a national title game and finding out if Georgia will establish itself as the country’s premier program or if TCU can end the greatest Cinderella story in modern college football history. However, I can’t escape the fact that this is the last game of the college football season.

While I enjoy many different sports, there is no season I enjoy as much as college football. That includes the games themselves and all the stupid arguments that surround them. It will be a long time after tonight before we start doing this again.

First, let’s try to figure out what will happen in the game. As of this writing, Georgia is a 13-point favorite and that line feels a little too right. So, I think the whole thing seems to be a much sharper game. While elite defense often separates the good teams from the truly great, it’s offense that wins national titles. For the past two years, Georgia’s defense has overshadowed an offense that is too easily written off. Stetson Bennett won’t be a first-round draft pick, but he was brilliant for Georgia when they needed him.

We also had eight CFP title games averaging 64.5 points. Only two finished under 60 points, and while Georgia played in those two games, last year’s game trended in the overdirection until Alabama’s Jameson Williams went down with a torn cruciate ligament. Georgia’s defense isn’t the unit we saw last season. Good attacks could move the ball on it, and TCU has an explosive attack. On the other hand, TCU’s defense is better than most realize, but it’s not one of the best in the country and hasn’t been all season.

Georgia should move the ball effectively tonight and TCU will move it too.

This is what SportsLine says about the game: SportsLine’s Josh Nagel is 12-3 in his last 15 ATS picks involving the Georgia Bulldogs and has a game available for tonight’s national title game.


💰 More CFP National Championship picks

SATISFACTION

The Pick: Taye Barber Gained Over 35.5 Yards (-104) — This is a prop that represents excellent value for money tonight. Georgia has one of the most talented corners in the country in Kelee Ringo and I am confident he will be tasked with stopping TCU’s Quentin Johnston. Johnston is the focal point of TCU’s pass attack. He’s been targeted 94 times this season, 36 more than any other player on the team (Derius Davis at 58).

Georgia will want to get him out of the picture as much as possible and force the team’s other receivers to beat them.

Well, Taye Barber and Derius Davis might not be Quentin Johnston, but they’re both good players, and Taye Barber could benefit the most. Barber is second behind Johnston at 16.81 yards per reception and is averaging over 10.2 air yards per goal. He either catches the ball behind the line of scrimmage on a screen or goes vertical. Barber can roll over this on a game.

The Choice: Stetson Bennett over 0.5 interceptions (+104) — While I wasn’t one of the voters who put Stetson Bennett on my Heisman ballot this season, I’ve been a longtime defender for the Georgia QB. Listen, Bennett isn’t the prototype, but he’s effective and he’s beaten Bryce Young and CJ Stroud in playoff games. He could beat another Heisman finalist in Max Duggan tonight.

But here I am, taking the interceptor support! You see, Bennett’s numbers have declined in a few key areas this season, but he’s improved his interception rate. Last year it was 2.4%, this year it’s only 1.6%. However, Bennett threw two interceptions against Mississippi State earlier this season. Why does that matter? Mississippi State operates a similar 3-3-5 defense to that employed by TCU. It was the only time Bennett had seen one all season and it gave him trouble. Don’t be shocked if it makes him make another mistake tonight.

🔒 SportsLine Picks of the Day: SportsLine’s Projection Model and Analyst Eric Cohen shared all of their favorite plays and parlays for tonight’s title game.

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