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College football betting: Georgia might be sportsbooks' biggest need of the season

This Saturday features arguably the biggest college football game of the season when the Tennessee Volunteers, fresh off a No. 1 ranking in the inaugural college football playoff rankings, travel to Athens to take on the defending champion Georgia Bulldogs, who are currently ranked No. 3. Despite Tennessee being ranked higher, they're a sizable underdog on the road. Currently, Georgia is an 8-point home favorite.

Unsurprisingly with a game of this magnitude, there's plenty of betting action. The action is also rather one-sided, setting up one of the biggest decisions of the year for the sportsbooks. The books will be rooting for the defending champions to win comfortably on Saturday afternoon.

Georgia might be biggest need of the season

Tennessee's No. 1 ranking in the CFP inaugural rankings is well deserved. They have the best win in the country with their win over Alabama in mid-October. They also have road wins against Pittsburgh and LSU and home wins against Florida and Kentucky on their resume. It's no shock that bettors love the idea of backing this team and getting over a touchdown in the process.

Georgia is also undefeated, but they haven't been quite as dominant as they were last season. They had a bit of a lull a few weeks ago where they struggled a bit with Kent State and Missouri. Their defense has looked a little more vulnerable at times than it was last year.

Currently at BetMGM, 87% of bets and 89% of the money is backing Tennessee to cover as an 8-point road underdog. According to Seamus Magee of BetMGM, “Tennessee-Georgia is the most bet game, it’s been one way action on Tennessee all week long. Georgia might be our biggest need of not just the week but the season."

There's a prevailing thought across a lot of the gambling world that "public dogs have fleas." The thought is that if a team is getting points and everyone loves them, we must be missing something. Of course, that's not always true. Tennessee was a popular underdog getting 8.5-points against Alabama, and they pulled off the outright upset victory.

The marquee matchup in this one will be Tennessee's passing attack against Georgia's pass defense. Tennessee leads college football in yards per pass attempt (well, technically, they're behind Army, who barely throws the ball). Georgia is top-5 in the country in terms of yards per pass attempt against. Hendon Hooker is the current betting favorite to win the Heisman, and if he has success against this secondary and the Vols win, his odds will become prohibitive.

This game will have a huge impact on the national landscape. In theory, the winner will all but clinch a spot in the College Football Playoff. The loser will have a much tougher road in the month ahead. Bettors think Tennessee will at the least keep it close. Oddsmakers are hoping Georgia wins comfortably.

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 29: Stetson Bennett #13 of the Georgia Bulldogs reacts during the first half of a game against the Florida Gators at TIAA Bank Field on October 29, 2022 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
Georgia might be the biggest need of the college football season for BetMGM. (James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Clemson is a popular road favorite

Clemson was ranked No. 4 in the inaugural CFP rankings, a ranking that many people felt was too high. Clemson is undefeated, but the eye test leaves a lot of questions about the team. They've had some solid wins against teams like Syracuse, Florida State, NC State and Wake Forest but just hasn't been nearly as dominant or aesthetically pleasing as the Deshaun Watson or Trevor Lawrence days.

Case in point, the last time we saw Clemson, which was two weeks ago as they had a bye week last week. Clemson was down early at home to Syracuse and decided to bench D.J. Uiagalelei to create a spark. Cade Klubnik came in and handed the ball off almost every time as Clemson came from behind to survive. Sure, it was a win, but nobody left that game feeling any better about Clemson.

This week, some have Clemson on upset alert. They are a 3.5-point road favorite in South Bend against Notre Dame. It's a tough place to play, as Clemson found out in 2020. A loss would put Clemson in major trouble when it comes to their playoff hopes. It's hard to imagine them getting in with a loss.

However, bettors aren't particularly worried about the Tigers this weekend. Clemson is the second most popular bet in terms of both quantity of bets and amount of money wagered. Overall, 65% of bets and 63% of the money is backing Clemson to cover as a 3.5-point favorite.

Notre Dame has been a tough read this season. They lost Tyler Buchner to injury early in the season, and while Drew Pyne is 5-1 as a starter, he hasn't looked particularly good in recent weeks. The Fighting Irish have somewhat impressive wins over teams like Syracuse and North Carolina. They're also three weeks removed from losing to Stanford at home.

Other popular bets

  • Ohio State is a 38.5-point favorite against Northwestern, and 74% of the money is on the Buckeyes to cover.

  • Texas Tech is getting 68% of the money to cover as an 8.5-point underdog at TCU. The line is down from 10.5-points earlier this week. Additionally, 73% of bets are on the game to go over 69.5 points.

  • One sided action is coming in on the total for Tulane-Tulsa, as 95% of the money is on the game to go under 56.5 points.

  • Similarly, 92% of the bets are backing Oregon-Colorado to go over 63 points.

  • Fresh off a loss to Ohio State, bettors are expecting Penn State to bounce back. Penn State is a 14-point road favorite against Indiana, and 77% of bets are backing the Nittany Lions.

  • LSU is a popular home underdog this weekend against Alabama. 64% of bets and 70% of the money is on LSU +13.5. Additionally, 81% of the money is on the game to go over 56.5 points.

  • 82% of the bets are backing Michigan to roll Rutgers as a 25.5-point road favorite.

  • Bettors love the LA teams. 92% of the money is backing UCLA as an 11-point road favorite at Arizona State. The USC Trojans are getting 91% of the money as a 21.5-point home favorite against California.