College Football Odds: Early Betting Thoughts on the CFP Semi-Finals

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Through Sam Panayotovich
FOX Sports Betting Analyst

We’re more than three weeks away from the College Football Playoff (CFP), but sports betting is already taking bets on the national semi-finals.

It is never too early to bet on these games and there is no concern about top players dropping out so you won’t see any drastic line movement between now and New Years Eve.

This isn’t the Mayo Bowl or the Peach Bowl – everyone wants to play for a national title.

No. 1 Alabama meets No. 4 Cincinnati in the Cotton Bowl, where the Crimson Tide opened as a 13-point favorite. That number has been wagered since publication, and FOX bet is currently dealing with Alabama -13.5 with a total of 58.

I don’t like double digits, but I don’t want to go up against Alabama either. Nick Saban is an absolute monster with extra preparation time. In the semifinals, Bama won 38 against Michigan State, 17 against Washington, 18 against Clemson, 11 against Oklahoma and 17 against Notre Dame.

My goodness.

If you like Cincinnati, you should stick it out +14. Trust me it’s coming.

In the Orange Bowl, No. 2 Michigan meets No. 3 Georgia. But don’t let the leaderboards fool you, as the Bulldogs are more than a touchdown favorite everywhere. FOX bet has Georgia -8th with a total of 44.5.

This betting line proves that the odds makers still respect Georgia despite Bama crushing the Bulldogs in the SEC championship.

“It was an eye-opening feat from Alabama,” a longtime Las Vegas odds maker told FOX Sports. “But Georgia’s defense is still pending. You caught Bryce Young on the wrong day and that’s a quarterback who will be drawing passes very soon on Sundays.

“Michigan wish they could pass the ball like Alabama. Georgia is designed to stop the game in progress, and that’s Michigan’s bread and butter. Be careful if you overreact to a blowout win against Iowa. The Hawkeyes stink. “

The standard blow to the Dawgs is “they haven’t hit anyone,” and there may be something to that if their best win comes against Arkansas. But that doesn’t mean Georgia can’t handle Michigan.

Circa Sports in Vegas is already accepting bets on a potential Georgia-Alabama national championship game. This unique market opened Georgia -1, which may surprise some people, but remember, Georgia closed as a 6.5 point favorite in Part I against Bama.

It’s even greater evidence that sports betting still believes in the Dawgs’ potential.

I would hate to be the team against Georgia against that SEC championship loss because I know what their defense can do against a team that is struggling to throw the football.

My first thoughts are to buy low from the Dawgs and put the points against the Wolverines.

Sam Panayotovich is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and NESN. He previously worked for WGN Radio, NBC Sports and VSiN. He’ll likely play against your favorite team. Follow him on Twitter @spshoot.

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