Bowl Predictions 2022: Projections and Odds For CFP Final and Top Matchups

Michelle Bruton@@michelle_nflFeatured Columnist IVDecember 4, 2022

Bowl Predictions 2022: Projections and Odds For CFP Final and Top Matchups

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    ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 03: TCU Horned Frogs quarterback Max Duggan (15) gets picked up by his teammates after scoring a touchdown during the game between the TCU Horned Frogs and the Kansas State Wildcats on December 3, 2022 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    With another Selection Sunday in the books, we finally know which four teams will be represented in the College Football Playoff this season.

    No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 TCU and No. 4 Ohio State will vie for the chance to earn a national title in January, with Georgia looking to defend its championship from this year.

    On Dec. 31, the Buckeyes will face the Bulldogs in the Peach Bowl after the Wolverines kick off against the Horned Frogs in the Fiesta Bowl.

    TCU clinched that No. 3 seed over Ohio State based on its "body of work," per College Football Playoff selection committee chairman Boo Corrigan. “We were looking at getting the right four teams. And as we went piece by piece by piece, we ended up in the order that we did with TCU at three and again based on the body of work over the course of the season.”

    TCU's only loss of the season came in its Big 12 Championship Game tilt Saturday against Kansas State, a team it had defeated in the regular season.

    After a 45-23 blowout loss to Michigan in the final week of the regular season, the Buckeyes didn't play in the Big Ten Championship Game.

    Alabama came in No. 5 in the final CFP rankings, though some argued the Crimson Tide should have gotten a nod in the playoff. USC lost its shot at the No. 4 spot with a loss in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

    Let's break down some of the top matchups in this College Football Playoff as well as take a look at early odds for each team.

    The CFP National Championship will be held on Jan. 9 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.

No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 4 Ohio State

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    COLUMBUS, OHIO - NOVEMBER 26: C.J. Stroud #7 of the Ohio State Buckeyes drops back to pass during the first quarter of a game against the Michigan Wolverines at Ohio Stadium on November 26, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Ben Jackson/Getty Images)
    Ben Jackson/Getty Images

    Opening Odds

    Spread: Georgia -6.5

    Total: 61

    Moneyline: Georgia -260 (bet $260 to win 100), Ohio State +220

    Ahead of their 60th bowl game appearance and third in the College Football Playoff , the Georgia Bulldogs will try to defend their 2022 national title, when they defeated Alabama 33-18 in the CFP national championship.

    The Bulldogs are as solid a No. 1 seed as we've seen in the CFP era. Their big wins this season were decisive: 49-3 over No. 11 Oregon, 27-13 over No. 1 Tennessee and, of course, 50-30 over No. 14 LSU in the SEC Championship Game.

    This is only the second time Georgia and Ohio State will face off; UGA won the Citrus Bowl in 1993 by a 21-14 score. Georgia's strong defense and strong run game will square up against Ohio State's high-scoring offense, led by quarterback C.J. Stroud on a Heisman campaign this season, and receiver Marvin Harrison Jr.

    Despite losing five players who were selected in the first round of the NFL draft, Georgia's defense has remained stout, led by Jalen Carter, who has 24 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, three sacks and two forced fumbles in his last six games.

    Can the Buckeyes bounce back from their loss to Michigan? If they can top Georgia, they may just find themselves facing U-M again in the CFP national championship game.

    As delicious as that sounds to Big Ten fans, it's not likely to happen. Georgia is a powerhouse; it would take an exceptional performance to keep the Bulldogs out of the title game.

    Winner: Georgia

No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 3 TCU

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 04: Members of the Michigan Wolverines celebrate with Donovan Edwards #7 of the Michigan Wolverines after a touchdown during the second half of the Big Ten Championship against the Purdue Boilermakers at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 3, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
    Michael Hickey/Getty Images

    Opening Odds

    Spread: Michigan -9.5

    Total: 60.5

    Moneyline: Michigan -360, TCU +295

    Momentum is an important factor heading into the College Football Playoff, and in this matchup, that nod goes to Michigan.

    The Wolverines are coming off a decisive 43-22 Big Ten Championship Game win over Purdue, while the Horned Frogs saw the Big 12 title snatched from them by Kansas State. However, earning the No. 3 spot in the College Football Playoff certainly has the ability to wipe the slate clean for TCU and zero its focus in on what's to come.

    TCU has been a surprise this season under first-year head coach Sonny Dykes. Quarterback Max Duggan, running back Kendre Miller and wide receiver Quentin Johnston helped the Horned Frogs go perfect in Big 12 play save for the championship game in the team's only loss.

    Per ESPN, TCU had 17 plays of 50 or more yards this season, second-most in the FBS behind Tennessee. That explosiveness is up against Michigan's hard-nosed rushing attack, led by running back Donovan Edwards, while quarterback J.J. McCarthy can supplement through the air.

    Michigan has the edge in experience here, and the Wolverines are favored over the Horned Frogs by more than the Bulldogs are over Ohio State. And yet, in some ways, more so than in Georgia-Ohio State, this is a game when it feels like anything could happen if TCU is firing on all cylinders.

    Expect Michigan to pull it out in the end...but the Horned Frogs will put up a fight all the way.

    Prediction: Michigan

    Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

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