After an exciting Conference Championship week, the college football bowl season is finally here.
Georgia is the consensus favorite to win the College Football Playoff, but Ohio State and Michigan are legitimate contenders. Meanwhile, TCU is a long shot.
Below, I go over my CFB playoff and bowl best bets.
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College Football Playoff Betting Picks
Finals: Michigan defeats Ohio State
Semifinalists: TCU & Georgia
Outside of the beginning of the season, Georgia has been the betting favorite at BetMGM since January to win the CFB National Championship. They started the offseason as +200 favorites in January, and now they are -125 favorites heading into the College Football Playoff.
The Bulldogs have the best chance of winning the championship, but betting-wise, their odds are too short. Not only do they have to beat a tough Ohio State team in the semi-finals, but they are also likely to face Michigan in the National Championship game.
For essentially a two-leg parlay, you are better off betting on Georgia to win the first semi-final game, and then carrying over your winnings for the National Championship game.
That is why in terms of betting strategy, I am staking Ohio State and Michigan as the best value bets.
Michigan has the easiest path to the National Championship.
TCU doesn’t belong in the CFP. The Wolverines may be -8.5 favorites, but I believe that they should be at least 11-point favorites against the Horned Frogs.
Ohio State might be the fourth-ranked team in the country, but before their loss to Michigan, they were a co-favorite in the CFB National Championship odds.
In a semifinal game against Michigan, Ohio State should be a small underdog, and I think they will win if they meet in the championship. In CFB rematches, the losing team of the first game tends to do better in the second meeting.
Check out our best CFB odds, then keep reading for 2023 CFB bowl picks
Bowl Game Winner Picks
- Bahamas: Miami Ohio
- Duluth Trading Cure: UTSA
- Fenway: Cincinnati
- Las Vegas: Florida
- L.A.: Fresno State
- Lending Tree: Southern Miss
- New Mexico: SMU
- Frisco: Boise State
- Myrtle Beach: UConn
- Famous Idaho Potato: Eastern Michigan
- Boca Raton: Liberty
- New Orleans: South Alabama
- Armed Forces: Air Force
- Independence: Louisiana
- Gasparilla: Wake Forest
- Hawaii: Middle Tennessee
- Quick Lane: New Mexico State
- Camellia: Georgia Southern
- First Responder: Utah State
- Birmingham: Coastal Carolina
- Guaranteed Rate: Wisconsin
- Military: Duke
- Liberty: Arkansas
- Holiday: Oregon
- Texas: Ole Miss
- Pinstripe: Syracuse
- Cheez-It: Florida State
- Alamo: Texas
- Mayo: NC State
- Sun: UCLA
- Gator: Notre Dame
- Arizona: Ohio
- Orange: Tennessee
- Sugar: Alabama
- Music City: Kentucky
- Fiesta: Michigan
- Peach: Ohio State
- Reliaquest: Mississippi State
- Cotton: USC
- Citrus: LSU
- Rose: Penn State
- National Championship: Ohio State or Michigan
With 48 bowl games over the holidays, bettors have a lot to choose among. Betting-wise, the most important distinction between bowl games are between the meaningless and meaningful games.
For the meaningful games you use logic, for the meaningless games you abandon logic. That is because there are frequently cases where weaker teams win bowl games.
For this year’s bowl slate of inconsequential games, I like Miami Ohio (+330), Florida (+300), UConn (+330), Louisiana (+225), Middle Tennessee (+225), Utah State (+250), Coastal Carolina (+265), and Syracuse (+250) to win outright.
For the important bowl games, the blue-chip programs like Michigan or USC are the best bets. It is the exception rather than the rule that the heavy favorites in New Year’s bowl games will win more than they lose.
I’ll have more on these betting tips in my upcoming CFB Bowl best bets report.