Michigan vs. Georgia Orange Bowl Odds, Picks: Your College Football Playoff Betting Guide
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images, Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images and Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured (L-R): Georgia Bulldogs offensive lineman Broderick Jones (59) and Michigan Wolverines defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97).
Michigan vs. Georgia Odds
-115o / -105u
-115o / -105u
Jim Harbaugh has exorcised the demons of Big Ten play to place Michigan in its first-ever College Football Playoff against Georgia.
The Wolverines overcame a midseason loss to Michigan State with a sweep of the remaining schedule and a blowout of Iowa in the conference championship.
Led by outstanding trench play on both sides of the ball, Michigan must beat the best defense in college football to advance and compete for the program's first national title since 1997.
Kirby Smart has returned to the playoff after taking an overtime loss to Alabama in the National Championship game four years ago. The Bulldogs continue to take inventory on blue-chip defensive players and has yet to find another gear on offense.
The lack of offense showed in the opening victory with no offensive touchdowns against Clemson and again in the SEC Championship loss to the Crimson Tide.
For Georgia to advance through the semifinal, containing two of the best defensive linemen in college football is paramount.
The "champions of the West" posted a conference championship season with a bruising rushing attack, excellent ball security, best-in-nation defensive line play and a highly-graded secondary.
Opposing offenses were limited in explosive drives, as only 12 of their 159 drives averaged 10 yards per play.
The Michigan defense ranked top-10 in tackling, pass rush and Finishing Drives. Opponents that cross the 40-yard line average just three points per trip.
The issues for the Wolverines defense come against the rush in standard downs. In the only loss on the schedule, Michigan State averaged 8.1 yards in standard downs and 6.7 yards per rushing attempt. Those numbers led to numerous scoring opportunities in which the Spartans averaged 4.8 points per attempt.
For the defense to sizzle in applying pressure in passing downs, Michigan must have a better effort against the Georgia ground attack than it did in East Lansing earlier this season.
Alabama defeated Georgia by slicing up the secondary, an element that may not be available to the Michigan offense. The Wolverines are a heavy-run offense led by Blake Corum, Hassan Haskins and the emerging Donovan Edwards.
🤩 @UMichFootball can't stop scoring! 😅
Donovan Edwards for 77 yards ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/B1T0ekWekF
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) November 20, 2021
Michigan is not expected to change a run-heavy attack that uses plenty of motion, pulling offensive linemen and sweeps from outside targets.
This same offense averaged just 2.6 yards per carry against Wisconsin earlier this season. Although Michigan won the game comfortably, three turnovers by the Badgers masked issues the Wolverines had on the ground.
Expect offensive coordinator Josh Gattis to mix pistol, shotgun, motion and no huddle with Cade McNamara and JJ McCarthy under center in an attempt to get Georgia off-balance.
Labeled as the best defense in college football, the Bulldogs gave up 41 points to Alabama. The Crimson Tide ran for a modest 4.4 yards per rush and logged 421 yards through the air.
The good news for the Georgia defense is that the Heisman Trophy winner does not play quarterback for Michigan.
When taking on the Wolverines, the handicap comes around the rush defense. Georgia has eight individual defensive players listed in the top 200 of all FBS in rush grading, per PFF.
As a former center, have to admit…
This Jordan Davis rep is just not fair. pic.twitter.com/yzhEZOPGDR
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) October 19, 2021
The offense will remain a mystery leading up to kickoff. Stetson Bennett has been the starter most of the season as JT Daniels has dealt with injury and COVID-19.
The biggest difference between the two quarterbacks may be mobility, as offensive coordinator Todd Monken has called designed run for Bennett in numerous games this season.
Because of the opponent, this could be a heavy-run game for the Georgia offense.
The Bulldogs have five running backs with at least 45 rushing attempts this season, as each individual player has posted better than three yards after contact.
That spells bad news for a Michigan defense that has poor ranks in Stuff Rate and Opportunity Rate. If Georgia is able to stay out of long down and distances, the damage from a fierce Wolverines pass rush will be avoided.
Michigan vs. Georgia Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Georgia and Michigan match up statistically:
Georgia Offense vs. Michigan Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)
Michigan Offense vs. Georgia Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams
|Plays per Minute
Michigan vs. Georgia Betting Pick
Georgia falls into the biggest buy-low, sell-high scenario of any bowl team.
The Bulldogs were dominated by Alabama after blitzing through the regular season undefeated. Michigan beat Ohio State for the first time in the Harbaugh era, followed by a conference championship that sent the Wolverines up to the second overall seed.
Sportsbooks have seen heavy action on Michigan, moving an opener of 9 closer to a touchdown spread.
With defensive coordinator Dan Lanning taking the head coaching job at Oregon, there is question about the focus of the defense. Whether or not the defensive staff is focused on the game, the Bulldogs defense has been one of the best in the nation against inside zone run, which is the cornerstone play of the Michigan offense.
Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt have overpowered offensive rush attacks all season, as all indications are there that Michigan must execute in passing downs to advance.
While the Georgia defense looks to rebound from the SEC Championship, the Bulldogs offense will work to stay in standard downs and take advantage of the Wolverines' rush defense. Michigan has struggled defensively against the play-action pass all season, another area Georgia is set to attack in passing downs.
The Action Network projection has the Bulldogs -8 with a total at 53.
If Monken goes uptempo in the rushing attack to avoid defensive substitutions, the Bulldogs will score enough to cover the closing spread.
As Michigan looks to find holes through the ground, Alabama exposed the Georgia secondary. Expect Cade McNamara and JJ McCarthy to execute enough explosive plays to go over the total.