The last time the Georgia Bulldogs took the field the then No. 1 team in the country was blasted by rival Alabama in the SEC championship. The Dawgs need to refocus for their CFP semifinal matchup with the Michigan Wolverines, who exorcised their demons by taking out Ohio State to win the Big Ten East then throttled Iowa in the conference title game to reach the playoff for the first time.
Georgia was easily the best team in college football winning their first 12 games behind a relentless defense that didn’t allow more than 17 points in any game. The 41-24 loss to Bama showed the Dawgs aren’t invincible, but they are damn good. Georgia is positioned as a 7.5-point favorite on the college football betting line.
Orange Bowl Date & Time
The Orange Bowl college football game between the Georgia Bulldogs and Michigan Wolverines will take place at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday, December 31, 2021 and will be televised on ESPN.
Orange Bowl Odds
Georgia Bulldogs -7.5 | Michigan Wolverines +7.5 [BET NOW]
Orange Bowl Over/Under
Over/Under 44.5 [BET NOW]
Georgia opened as a converted touchdown favorite with the number being wagered up to Dawgs -8. There has since been some buyback on Michigan with the spread settling at UGA -7.5. The loss to Alabama in the SEC championship won’t diminish what Georgia accomplished during the regular season. Facing some enormous spreads during the season the Bulldogs did go 8-5 ATS. They even were a rare favorite over Bama in the SEC championship.
The Wolverines returned to prominence in the college football world going 12-1 SU with their first win over Ohio State under Jim Harbaugh that secured their first division title. Not only did UM win that game, they did it soundly as a 6.5-point underdog. The Wolverines capped the season with a 42-3 blowout of Iowa in the Big Ten championship laying 11.5-points. Not only were they good on the gridiron, the Wolverines paid off their backers covering the line in their last five games while going 11-2 ATS overall. They finished 2-0 SU and ATS this season when getting points on the closing line.
The Bulldogs allowed 41 points in their last game and still finished the season with the No. 1 ranked scoring defense giving up an average of 9.5 points. That shows just how dominant the group was during the first 12 games. No team scored more than 17 points before the SEC title contest and the Dawgs held eight opponents to seven points or less with three shutouts. Both teams are solid defensively which is why the total hit the board at 43. It has since been bet up to 44.5.
While the discussion around Georgia is about the defense, the Dawgs will have to regroup after getting gouged by Alabama. They allowed 536 total yards in that game, which was 150 yards more than the previous high. Like I said, one game isn’t going to erase what Georgia did during the entire season, but doubt has to creep in and Michigan certainly knows that the Dawgs can be had. The offense was overshadowed during the season, but the group was good. It looks like Stetson Bennett will handle the QB chores for a unit that ranked seventh nationally averaging 39.4 points.
It’s as if UM is on a mission. We started to hear the rumblings after an upset loss to Michigan State in Week 9, but the Wolverines responded by winning their last five games going 5-0 ATS. With the Big Ten East title on the line, UM was masterful in a 42-27 win over Ohio State. There was no letdown the following week in the Big Ten championship with UM blasting Iowa 42-3. They aren’t as stingy as Georgia, but the Wolverines are stout defensively. They surrendered just 16.1 points per game while holding opponents to an average of 315.8 yards.
Like Georgia the Michigan offense is underrated and overshadowed. They averaged 47.6 points over the last three games behind a strong ground game. Hassan Haskins rushed for 169 yards and five touchdowns against Ohio State and as a team they averaged nearly 229 yards, 10th best in the country. Beating UGA at the line and running the football effectively is a good way for UM to cover and possibly win the game.
Georgia vs Michigan Prediction
This has the potential to be a great matchup with two similar teams going at it. They have the same record, are strong on defense and can move the ball on offense. Michigan has been underrated and undervalued all season and Harbaugh said earlier in the year this is his best team. UM manhandled Ohio State and Iowa, two good teams, and they won’t be afraid of the Dawgs.
Prediction: Michigan Wolverines +7.5 and UNDER 44.5
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