Oddsmakers have indicated that No. 2 Michigan has an easier path to the national championship game than No. 1 Georgia. The top-ranked Bulldogs are a 6.5-point favorite over No. 4 Ohio State, while the Wolverines are favored by 9.5 points over No. 3 TCU.
"Michigan is clearly the much better team, but we feel that TCU has fought through adversity all year long and we came up with a line just short of a touchdown and a field goal," Caesars Sportsbook vice president of trading Craig Mucklow told ESPN on Sunday. "Both have a tendency to put on a show in the second half, so we will see how TCU reacts to playing a defense of this caliber and if [Jim] Harbaugh and [J.J.] McCarthy can keep this offense churning."
Mucklow said the trading team met Saturday night to discuss the point spreads, since they anticipated these two playoff matchups. The top two teams remained undefeated by winning their conference title games, while TCU suffered its first loss of the season in overtime. Conventional wisdom figured Ohio State would get the final bid and face the Bulldogs, since USC had lost Friday night in the Pac-12 title game.
"We are confident Georgia is the much better team in this spot, and we will see which way our respected bettors will move this line," Mucklow said, sharing that the game being played in Atlanta did give Georgia a small boost. "Not only has Georgia's defense been the most impressive unit all year long, but Stetson Bennett put on a show in the SEC title game."
Georgia remains the odds-on favorite to win the national championship at -135, followed by Michigan (+290) and Ohio State (+350). The Horned Frogs are 16-1 to win two more games.
Following Ohio State's home loss to Michigan on Nov. 26, the Buckeyes reopened as a 50-1 long shot. However, sportsbooks received a steady flow of action from bettors knowing that Ohio State was far from eliminated from the national championship discussion. In a matter of days, those odds sat at +350.