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Respected bettors backing Alabama, Georgia

Georgia and Alabama head into the weekend as the betting favorites in Monday's College Football Playoff semifinals.

The Bulldogs are 2-point favorites over the Oklahoma Sooners at the majority of Las Vegas sportsbooks. The Crimson Tide are 3-point favorites over the Clemson Tigers.

Both SEC schools have attracted the majority of the money that's been wagered on the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl as of Friday. The betting public, however, is gravitating to the underdog Sooners and Tigers.

At William Hill sportsbooks, 61 percent of the point-spread bets on the Rose Bowl have been on Oklahoma, but 60 percent of the money that's been wagered is on Georgia.

The Sooners have attracted twice as many bets as the Bulldogs at MGM sportsbooks, but more money has been bet on Georgia, twice as much, as of Thursday afternoon.

"All the small fan bets are Oklahoma, but the bigger stuff is on Georgia," Jason Simbal, vice president of risk for sportsbook operator CG Technology, said.

Simbal said Friday that there had been 24 bets on Georgia of $1,000 or more, while Oklahoma has attracted only seven bets of that size.

The early betting action on the Sugar Bowl has been similar: The betting public is backing Clemson, while players monitored by the sportsbooks have sided with Alabama.

The Crimson Tide opened as 1.5-point favorites, but the line quickly grew to -3.

"Sharps got involved in Alabama early," said MGM assistant manager Jeff Stoneback on Thursday. "But since the line got to 3, it's pretty much been two-way action. We have 21 more tickets on Clemson than Alabama."

The Cotton Bowl between Ohio State and USC (8:30 p.m. ET, Friday, ESPN) also has attracted some interest from sophisticated bettors who have sided heavily with the Buckeyes.

Ohio State has grown from a 6.5-point favorite to as high as -9 at multiple sportsbooks.

"The money is 4-1 in favor of Ohio State," the MGM's Stoneback said.