Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett
Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) runs for yardage during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Tennessee, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)


Patrick Werkmeister

After the dust settles between Alabama and Cincinnati, this primetime playoff matchup will assuredly be a bloodbath between two of the country’s best defenses. In this edition of the Orange Bowl from Miami, head coach Kirby Smart and his Georgia Bulldogs face off against coach Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines. In their last game, the Bulldogs were defeated by Alabama in the SEC Championship, 41-24, whereas Michigan blew out the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big 10 Championship, 42-3. While both programs finished the season at 12-1, the Wolverines have been playing at a higher level as of late whereas Georgia is coming off a shocking upset. With this in mind, here is what I love and why I love it for this CFP matchup. 

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Georgia (-7.5)
The Dogs opened this game as seven point favorites, and they are currently favored by seven and a half-points. While Georgia was a solid 8-5 ATS on the season, Michigan was an NCAA best 11-2 ATS this year. However, the Bulldogs were able to showcase their dominance all year long where they were the number one team in the nation until their loss vs Alabama. While Michigan squandered any hope the Ohio State Buckeyes had of getting into the playoff when they demolished them, 42-27, this was far and away the most impressive victory for the Wolves. However, they are an abysmal 2-18 SU in their last 20 as an underdog. Prior to the loss to Alabama, Georgia was untouchable, and that stretch includes blowout wins over then-ranked Arkansas, Auburn and Kentucky. If the Bulldogs can shut down Michigan’s rushing attack, they could cover the spread and earn a potential rematch against the Crimson Tide. This is a defense that hasn’t given up more than 17 points in a game all season and has allowed more than seven points only four times in 12 games. Although their air of invincibility was taken away by the Crimson Tide, one loss does not erase all of the outstanding performances Georgia has had. Take the Dogs to cover the spread in this NYE edition of the Orange Bowl.    

Under (45)
In what should be a low-scoring affair, Vegas oddsmakers have listed the total points for this game at 57. Georgia’s defense has been stifling offenses all season, where they only allowed six touchdowns in the regular season. Additionally, the total has gone under in six out of Georgia’s last eight games where they’ve had to lean on their defense quite often. With both offenses in a run-first system, neither team has the electricity on offense to make this game a shootout. Led by defensive end Heisman candidate Aidan Hutchinson and his teammate David Ojabo, Michigan has also been relentless in halting opposing offenses. However, the spotlight will definitely be on the slightly better Bulldog defense. Nevertheless, both offenses should struggle mightily to find the end zone. Both teams are too skilled on defense to really put up more than a few touchdowns combined on offense, so expect this to be relatively low scoring. Don’t let this number fool you and bet the under. 

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