Georgia will be looking to get back to the College Football Playoff this season after missing it altogether in 2023.

The Bulldogs enjoyed a perfect 12-0 season last year, but stumbled against Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. In a lot of years, a 12-1 record would have been enough for UGA to make the Playoff despite the late loss. But in 2023, the Bulldogs ended up finishing 6th in the final College Football Playoff selection committee rankings.

With the College Football Playoff set to expand to 12 teams this fall, a program like Georgia has never had more margin-for-error during the regular season. The Bulldogs are currently -500 to make the CFP this year, per the latest odds from bet365.

Let’s break down Georgia’s 2024 roster and schedule to determine if a bet on the Bulldogs to make the Playoff would be prudent at that price:

Georgia’s 2024 roster and returning production

Georgia brings back plenty of production from last year’s team, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Carson Beck will be back for another season as UGA’s starter and is currently expected to compete for the No. 1 pick in the 2025 NFL Draft.

In the passing game, UGA did lose a pair of top options in tight end Brock Bowers and wide receiver Ladd McConkey to the NFL. Offensive lineman Amarius Mims also went in the first round. However, the Bulldogs bring back wide receiver Dominic Lovett, wide receiver Rara Thomas, wide receiver Dillon Bell and tight end Oscar Delp to help stabilize things in the passing game. Georgia also returns 4 starters along its offensive line in 2024.

Georgia made 2 major transfer additions on the offensive side of the ball this offseason: running back Trevor Etienne and wide receiver Colbie Young. Both Etienne and Young are expected to have significant roles in UGA’s offense in 2024 after starring last season at Florida and Miami, respectively. Tight end Benjamin Yurosek and wide receiver London Humphreys also transferred in this offseason and could earn time in the offense. Overall, Georgia’s offense is set to bring back 75% of its weighted production from 2023, per ESPN’s Bill Connelly. That ranks 22nd nationally.

RELATED: Predicting the Playoff: No. 2 seed Georgia

Defensively, the picture isn’t quite as rosy for Georgia. The Bulldogs lost Kamari Lassiter, Javon Bullard, Tykee Smith and Zion Logue to the NFL Draft. They also lost several key transfers to other programs, including Marvin Jones Jr., Jamon Dumas-Johnson, Xavian Sorey Jr., EJ Lightsey, Nyland Green and Darris Smith.

Georgia does return 6 starters on the defensive side of the ball from last year’s team. The Bulldogs could also get some contributions from some of the top players in their No. 1-ranked 2024 recruiting class. Defensive backs KJ Bolden and Ellis Robinson IV both seem poised to earn some sort of a role on Day 1, and there are others in this class who could contribute as well.

Connelly’s numbers say Georgia is returning 61% of its weighted production on defense (which ranks 61st nationally). That’s more than good enough for Georgia to still be considered an elite national championship contender in 2024.

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Georgia’s 2024 schedule

Like every other team in the SEC, Georgia’s slate will look a little bit different in 2024.

The Bulldogs draw Texas this season, and will have to wait at least a couple years before facing Oklahoma in a regular-season game for the first time. But perhaps more importantly, Georgia will not face former SEC East foes Vanderbilt, South Carolina or Missouri this season. Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee do remain on UGA’s schedule, however.

In non-conference play, Georgia will face the ACC’s Clemson to open the year and Georgia Tech to finish off the regular season. Here’s a look at Georgia’s full 12-game slate:

  • Aug. 31: Clemson (neutral-site in Atlanta)
  • Sept. 7: Tennessee Tech
  • Sept. 14: at Kentucky
  • Sept. 28: at Alabama
  • Oct. 5: Auburn
  • Oct. 12: Mississippi State
  • Oct. 19: at Texas
  • Nov. 2: vs. Florida
  • Nov. 9: at Ole Miss
  • Nov. 16: Tennessee
  • Nov. 23: UMass
  • Nov. 30: Georgia Tech

Overall, this is arguably a more difficult schedule than Georgia would face in a typical year. The nonconference showdown with Clemson carries a lot of weight, as does trips to Tuscaloosa, Austin and Oxford.

Georgia is set to face the fifth-toughest strength of schedule in the country this season, per ESPN’s SP+.

Will Georgia make the College Football Playoff in 2024?

Georgia would almost certainly make the Playoff with a 10-2 regular-season record, and may even sneak in at 9-3 depending on how the rest of the country performs. With that mind, there’s quite a bit of margin-for-error for a Georgia program that has proven itself over and over again in recent seasons.

It’s difficult to imagine this UGA team losing 3 times in 12 games. That hasn’t happened since 2018 — Kirby Smart’s first year in charge — when the Bulldogs went 8-5.

However, the price tag to bet on Georgia to make the playoff is relatively cheap. Bet365 has the best price on the market at -500, which carries implied odds of 83.3%. Per ESPN’s Football Power Index, UGA has a 79.1% chance to make the CFP. That doesn’t leave much value for bettors — unless you think FPI is underrating Georgia’s true Playoff odds.

There’s not much value on betting Georgia to miss the Playoff, either. Several sportsbooks are offering +380 odds on UGA to be left out, but that translates to implied odds of 20.83%. The value there versus FPI’s projection (20.9% to miss the CFP) is virtually negligible.

At the end of the day, I’d be comfortable valuing Georgia’s Playoff equity at closer to 85% or 90% given the format expansion to 12 teams. Smart’s program has earned that respect — especially in a year where they return one of the nation’s best quarterbacks and plenty of other contributors on both sides of the ball.

PICK: Georgia to make the College Football Playoff (-500 at bet365)

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Looking to join a new sportsbook ahead of the 2024 season? Here’s Saturday Down South’s breakdown of all the best apps to bet on sports in 2024!