Bulldogs Are College Football Bettors’ 2nd-Favorite Team At BetMGM

Written By Phil West on June 26, 2024
Georgia mascot UGA, representing the Bulldog's as second favorite among BetMGM bettors

Are the Georgia Bulldogs going to win it all in 2024? A sizable group of bettors seems to think so.

According to BetMGM, the University of Georgia is the second-most popular pick in both tickets and handle to win the 2024 College Football National Championship. It would be the team’s third championship in four years after winning in 2021 and 2022.

Despite the buzz around UGA, Georgia sports betting remains illegal for the foreseeable future.

Bettors must travel out of state to wager on the Bulldogs

The sportsbook has 11.8% of tickets and 17.1% of handle wagered on the prediction that Georgia will win the championship. Only Ohio State has more BetMGM believers, with 23.2% of tickets and 33.9% of handle placed on the Buckeyes.

However, Bulldogs fans wanting to put money on Kirby Smart‘s squad won’t be able to do it in Georgia. Though the legislature considered several bills to legalize sports betting, they failed to clear the hurdles needed, leaving gambling-friendly lawmakers to try again in 2025.

Several states bordering Georgia, including Tennessee, Florida, and, more recently, North Carolina, have legal betting. Alabama, like Georgia, considered but didn’t pass sports betting legislation in 2024. It also remains illegal in South Carolina.

Georgia playing in a newly expanded SEC

The college football landscape has changed for the 2024 season. Georgia will be playing in a freshly expanded SEC that includes another bettor favorite for 2024, the Texas Longhorns, while the playoff field is expanding from four to 12 teams. According to the NCAA,

“The four highest-ranked conference champions will be seeded Nos. 1-4 and receive a first-round bye. Seeds 5-12 will play each other in the first round. The higher-seeded teams will play host in their first round games. [The] New Year’s Six bowl games will be introduced in the quarterfinal round. The semifinals will be played in bowls on a rotating basis while the national championship host site is determined through bids by prospective host sites.”

Had this system been in effect last season, Georgia would have been the No. 6 seed and would have hosted a first-round matchup against No. 11 Ole Miss in an all-SEC contest.

Instead, Georgia’s national championship hopes were extinguished by their SEC championship loss. That resulted in the Bulldogs going to the Orange Bowl as a consolation prize, where they thrashed ACC champs Florida State, 63-3.

Heisman Trophy favorite Carson Beck said in an Athens Banner-Herald article reviewing Georgia’s 2023 season, “That was our playoff game, two top-ranked teams in the SEC championship. Whoever wins was probably going to get in.”

Georgia favored by bettors despite strength of schedule

Heading into 2024, many top sports sites have Georgia near the top in terms of strength of schedule. ESPN currently positions them third, behind Florida and Mississippi State.

Georgia starts play against Clemson in a “neutral-site” game in Atlanta. The Bulldogs will have to face Texas, ‘Bama, Kentucky, and Ole Miss on the road. But should it weather those storms, it will have an impressive resume and will likely live up to its current No. 1 ranking by ESPN.

Returning to BetMGM’s preseason trends, Georgia, despite the road that lies ahead, still looks like an enticing option to run the table and return to the national championship.

Photo by Brett Davis / AP Images
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Phil West

Phil West is a longtime journalist based in Austin, Texas, whose bylines have appeared in The Daily Dot, Nautilus, Pro Soccer USA, Howler, Los Angeles Times, Seattle Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Antonio Express-News, Austin American-Statesman, and Austin Chronicle. He has also written two books about soccer.

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