Georgia vs. Ohio State Betting Odds, Picks: Our Staff’s Top CFP Bets
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images. Pictured: Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett IV.
Georgia vs. Ohio State Odds
-112o / -108u
|Ohio State Odds|
-112o / -108u
By Dan Keegan
The second College Football Playoff semifinal of the night is a marquee matchup pitting two of the sport’s premier brands against one another for the right to play in the National Championship.
Georgia hosts Ohio State in the Mercedes-Benz Dome on Saturday night — the Bulldogs’ home away from home.
For Georgia, this trip to its second home is not a vacation. It’s a business trip.
Kirby Smart’s bunch is on a mission to repeat as national champions; it replaced 15 NFL Draft picks and practically didn’t miss a beat. The undefeated Bulldogs played only one game that finished with a margin in single digits (at Missouri). The defense might be a shade worse than last year’s historic unit, but the offense is perhaps a touch better.
Ohio State got a second life by making the playoff field with one loss. The Buckeyes are seeking redemption for their second straight loss to Michigan, for their second straight lost chance at a Big Ten title and for their seven-year national title drought.
It would be unfair to say Ryan Day is on the hot seat in Columbus, but it is fair to say that he has a lot to prove in this game.
Does Georgia have the coverage necessary to slow down CJ Stroud, Marvin Harrison Jr, Emeka Egbuka and the other pieces of this excellent Buckeye passing attack? Can the Bulldogs take advantage of Ohio State’s occasionally leaky pass defense?
We polled nine of our college football experts to find some consensus in the numbers. Let’s look at their analysis.
Georgia vs. Ohio State Point Spread
By Dan Keegan
This line opened at -6.5, which is where it’s widely available, although it has touched -7 at some shops. Around 75% of the tickets and the money are on the Bulldogs to cover. The margin is slim, but our team prefers the favored Georgia Bulldogs to cover the number against Ohio State.
Ohio State backers believe Ryan Day can replicate his trick from the 2020 playoff — when he was given a month to prepare for Clemson and crafted a bespoke gameplan that hung 45 points on a flummoxed Brent Venables.
But that will be a tough challenge to pull off for a second time, especially without blue-chip talents like receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba and running back TreVeyon Henderson, both out with injury.
Day’s Ohio State teams have at times been labeled with the “s” word — soft. We have seen them get pushed around in the trenches by more physical teams on both sides of the ball.
That’s a bad weakness to have against the sport’s most violent outfit. Kirby Smart’s defenses play fast, aggressive, and hit the snot out of opponents. Georgia’s offense plays in a similar fashion with weaponized sledgehammers at running back and tight end.
This could be a factor in the red zone, where we have one of the game’s biggest mismatches. Georgia’s offense ranks 10th in the country in Finishing Drives, whereas Ohio State’s defense is 79th in that same metric.
Converting scoring opportunities into seven points instead of three will go a long way in covering the number.
Georgia’s defense is best-in-class. Interior defender Jalen Carter will spend his New Year’s Eve destroying CJ Stroud’s passing pocket from the inside out, and the Bulldogs have the coverage players to hang with Ohio State’s weapons.
In particular, slot defender Javon Bullard is an excellent tackler who allowed only 4.7 yards after catch per reception. He will be tasked with shadowing Ohio State’s Emeka Egbuka, who is primarily a run-after-the-catch threat. Bullard diminishing Egbuka’s effectiveness only further depletes Ohio State’s thin receiving corps.
There’s a path to Ohio State hanging with the Bulldogs, but the defending national champs are the safest bet in the sport right now. Ultimately, their physicality and matchup advantages will carry the day, and the Dawgs will cover.
Georgia vs. Ohio State Over/Under
The second-ranked Ohio State offense will look for redemption after an uninspiring outing against Michigan in its last contest. Meanwhile, the 10th-ranked Georgia offense will be eager to showcase its scoring know-how despite being typecast as a defense first team.
In what will be a quintessential battle of the two bona fide team leaders under center, expect the production for both teams to revolve around Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud and Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett.
Stroud and Bennett have the ability to take over the game for their teams after finishing third and fourth, respectively, in Heisman voting this season.
The veteran quarterbacks combined for 6,765 yards, 57 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions. In addition to being gunslingers, both are fleet-footed, causing havoc for opposing coverage.
Given that this game is being played in Atlanta, there are a couple of factors that we need to be cognizant of that will likely have material impacts on the total.
First, and there are no two ways about it, this is a home game for the Bulldogs. The Mercedes-Benz Stadium is an hour–and-fifteen-minute ride from campus, but Atlanta is undoubtedly Georgia’s alumni hub with a majority of graduates living in the metropolitan area. It will be a clear advantage for the Bulldogs in this game, especially on offense.
Secondly, the weather and field conditions are going to be perfect because this game is going to be played inside. The data set that is used to derive lines has been impacted by inclement weather that both teams have faced this season. That won’t be the case in this contest, and I expect this will turn into a game showcasing the speed of both teams.
Lastly, Action Network’s PRO Report has captured sharp activity coming in on the over. The wise guy action aligns with the opinions of our experts. The lean here is toward the over. Our internal model is projecting a total of 65.5 points, and I recommend playing the over to 65.
Expect two rested and well-prepared teams to rely on their veteran quarterbacks to make this an offensive affair.
We know what this Ohio State offense is capable of. It’s second in the country in scoring, second in yards per play and best in the country at Finishing Drives.
The Buckeyes are loaded with talent with quarterback C.J. Stroud, and star receivers Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka on the outside.
Not having running back TreVeyon Henderson is a bummer, but Miyan Williams has gotten the majority of carries this season and is averaging 6.5 yards per carry with 13 touchdowns. He forced 47 missed tackles on just 125 attempts; no player in the country has more missed tackles on fewer touches.
This Georgia defense is elite. It ranks sixth in the country in Success Rate and has allowed more than 22 points just once all season. But let’s face it — it faced just three even remotely competent offenses all season.
Georgia faced Oregon in the season opener with a new coach and quarterback, Tennessee in a rainstorm and LSU. The Tigers put up 549 yards in the SEC Championship with Jayden Daniels and freshman Garrett Nussmeier combining for 502 yards through the air. Georgia allowed multiple 50-yard completions and six receptions of at least 20 yards.
While known mostly for their defense, it’s actually the Bulldogs offense that ranks higher in Success Rate. Georgia ranks third in the country, and this offense earned Stetson Bennett a Heisman finalist nod.
The Dawgs have the best tight end in the country in Brock Bowers, big-play weapon Ladd McConkey and the nearly-unstoppable Darnell Washington.
Ohio State’s defense ranks 115th at defending explosiveness, and we just saw it get torched for big play after big play by a Michigan offense that’s outside of the top 100 in explosiveness. Georgia should create plenty of chunk plays against the Buckeyes defense.
This will be Georgia’s third game in Atlanta this season. It put up at least 49 and 50 points in the first two trips to the state capital. The two previous college football games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium both went over the total.
With two offenses capable of putting up points in a hurry and creating big plays, back the over and except some early fireworks on New Year’s Eve.