Georgia vs. TCU Odds, Picks: Stuckey’s Favorite National Title Player Prop
Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Georgia Bulldogs tight end Brock Bowers.
Georgia vs. TCU Odds
-105o / -115u
-105o / -115u
I really liked the matchup for TCU against Michigan in the College Football Playoff semifinal, but I can’t say the same for Monday’s National Championship against Georgia.
Everything Georgia wants to do starts with its dynamic tight end duo of Brock Bowers and Darnell Washington, who make up one of the best tight end rooms in the history of college football. They just create so many mismatches for opposing defenses in both the run and pass game.
I actually thought Ohio State had as good of personnel as any team in the country to at least contain those two (which it did for the most part), but I don’t think that’s the case for the Horned Frogs.
The primary weakness of the Ohio State defense resided on the outside at cornerback, which doesn’t really hurt as much against Georgia’s offense. That’s one of the reasons I fancied the Buckeyes with the points last weekend.
However, that’s the strength of this TCU 3-3-5 defense that features an excellent set of cornerbacks:
- Josh Newton (primarily wide cornerback)
- Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson (primarily wide cornerback)
- Bud Clark (primarily slot cornerback)
- Abraham Camara (plays in the slot and at free safety)
Those are four of their six highest-rated defenders on the season among players with a minimum of 100 snaps. They all excel in coverage and provide criminally underrated defensive coordinator Joe Gillespie with an abundance of flexibility.
However, in contrast to Ohio State, that strength now becomes reduced in importance in this particular matchup.
Those cornerbacks also don’t necessarily have the size and athletic combination necessary to match up with Georgia’s specimens at tight end. That job will require heavy lifting from a linebacker and safety group that has struggled in coverage all season. TCU’s defense really falls short compared to Ohio State in that department.
The Horned Frogs have gotten away with that deficiency for most of the season since many offenses in the Big 12 don’t utilize their tight ends at a high frequency. In fact, some even basically ignore the position completely from a pass-catching perspective. Hence, why TCU has wisely designed its defense to slow down spread offenses, which it sees on a weekly basis during league play.
So, let’s take a look at what opposing tight ends have done against TCU this season.
I will exclude FCS Tarleton State in addition to West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech since that trio of league foes basically don’t throw to tight ends.
I’m also going to leave out the regular-season meeting against Kansas State since starting tight end Ben Sinnott left with an injury in the first half. Although, for what it’s worth, the backup tight end for the Wildcats had a touchdown in that game.
That leaves us with a sample size of nine games to look at what tight ends did against the Horned Frogs compared to their single-game average in all other contests.
*included backup tight end(s) data for game and season-long averages
For the entire season, TCU held only one team below its season-long tight end yardage average against all other opponents. That came by 2.6 yards in its sole loss in the conference championship against Kansas State. The other eight opponents all exceeded their season-long per-game average.
Now, just to illustrate how few elite tight ends TCU faced this season, let’s go a step further. In 2022, 52 tight ends finished with at least 300 receiving yards. The Horned Frogs faced four:
- Ja’Tavion Sanders (613 yards)
- Ben Sinnott (447 yards)
- Mason Fairchild (443 yards)
- Luke Schoonmaker (418 yards)
For reference, Bowers and Washington finished with 56 receptions for 790 yards and 27 for 426, respectively. And that’s with plenty of blowouts on the schedule.
TCU did hold Schoonmaker to only one catch for 31 yards last Saturday. However, he played only 11 snaps after leaving early with an injury. That became a huge loss for the Wolverines that not enough people have mentioned. Even so, backup Colston Loveland snagged four catches for 36 yards in that seminal thriller.
The other three tight ends above (Sanders, Sinnott and Fairchild) averaged 3.0 catches for 37.0 yards and 0.43 touchdowns against all other opponents. Against TCU, they averaged 4.0 catches for 57.7 yards and 0.67 touchdowns.
Now, TCU will have to go up against two of the best tight ends in the country simultaneously.
I believe Bowers, in particular, will have a massive day, especially with Washington’s injury. He should play but might be featured less in the passing game. That will naturally lead to increased targets for Bowers. He may even get a rushing attempt or two, especially near the goal line, which we’ve seen before.
Brock Bowers Is Inevitable. pic.twitter.com/jue3vH2VTt
— Sideline CFB (@SidelineCFB) September 24, 2022
I’m still undecided on if I’ll get involved in the game from a side perspective before kickoff. I also don’t show any value in the over/under.
However, I will certainly bet a number of player and game props, which I primarily only ever do for the national title game and Super Bowl. Bowers will undoubtedly be featured in those.
My favorite of all is over 60.5 receiving yards. I believe that number is too low based on everything I outlined above — no matter what TCU tries to come up with from a scheme perspective. I’d bet it up to 65.