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Georgia Bulldogs vs. Michigan Wolverines College Football Playoff Semifinal Betting Odds, Picks and Preview

Oddsmakers holding firm with SEC’s Georgia as touchdown favorite despite 69% of public ATS bets siding with Big Ten’s Michigan plus the points.
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Georgia Bulldogs vs. Michigan Wolverines College Football Playoff Semifinal Betting Odds, Picks and Preview

The biggest day of the college football season is upon us! The second College Football Playoff semifinal is set to take place at the Orange Bowl. Many are expecting a hard-hitting affair when the Georgia Bulldogs clash with the Michigan Wolverines on New Year’s Eve night. Both schools have prided themselves on playing tough, physical defense all season long. In addition, each side brings a supremely talented offensive line and potent ground game to the table. The style of play for both teams has led to this CFP semifinal having one of the lowest point totals of any bowl game. College football betting oddsmakers have also installed the 3-seed Bulldogs as a touchdown favorite ahead of this Orange Bowl showdown.

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Georgia vs. Michigan College Football Playoff Semifinal Betting Odds, Picks, and Preview

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Orange Bowl Georgia Bulldogs (12-1 SU, 8-5 ATS) vs. Michigan Wolverines (12-1 SU, 11-2 ATS) Date: Friday, December 31, 2021 Start Time: 7:30 PM EST Location: Hard Rock Stadium — Miami Gardens, FL TV Coverage: ESPN

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Georgia Bulldogs Preview

After completing a perfect 12-0 regular season, Georgia once again succumbed to arch-nemesis Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. It was a stunning result, particularly with respect to the vaunted Bulldogs’ defense. Even after allowing 41 points to the Crimson Tide, opponents have still only averaged 9.8 points per game against UGA’s defense this season. One has to believe that Kirby Smart’s crew will be hungry to reassert themselves as a defense to be feared in Friday’s College Football Playoff betting matchup. 

The endless NFL-caliber talent on Georgia’s defense speaks for itself. The front-seven is easily the strength, with Nakobe Dean, Robert Beal Jr. and Travon Walker serving as three pillars. Considering that Michigan’s offense has relied heavily on the run game this season, the Bulldogs figure to match up much better in the Orange Bowl than they did against the four-wide spread offense of Alabama. Georgia allowed only 83.3 rushing yards per game on the season, the second-fewest in all of FBS. The goal will be to shut down the Wolverines’ ground game in an effort to force them to air it out early and often.

Georgia’s offense is also anchored by a talented offensive line that had little trouble opening massive holes in the run game all season. The backfield duo of Zamir White and James Cook is extremely dangerous. While there is some concern at quarterback, Stetson Bennett IV simply needs to avoid turning the ball over. The passing attack did get a boost late in the season with the return of junior wideout George Pickens from a knee injury. A positive virus test had put his status in doubt, but Pickens has escaped the infamous protocols and will play in the CFP semifinal.

Michigan Wolverines Preview

How fitting it is that in a season that began with little to no expectations for Michigan that the Wolverines finally breakthrough with their first College Football Playoff appearance. All of the whispers regarding Jim Harbaugh’s job security have been silenced. As if a convincing win over rival Ohio State wasn’t enough, Michigan followed it up with a beatdown of Iowa in the Big Ten Conference title game. The Wolverines’ only loss on the season came in a road game at Michigan State that they ultimately choked away. Michigan also exceeded college football betting odds expectations with regularity, evidenced by an 11-2 ATS mark.

The run game has been the backbone of Michigan’s offense all season long. Senior Hassan Haskins has been the primary ball-carrier. Underclassmen Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards have also provided positive contributions when spelling him. The Wolverines’ offensive line was recognized with the Joe Moore Award as the best front in football. However, they have yet to face a defense anywhere near the caliber of Georgia’s. 

With the Bulldogs posing a difficult matchup for Michigan’s ground game, junior quarterback Cade McNamara will undoubtedly have to make some clutch throws in this Orange Bowl playoff game. Sophomore wideout Roman Wilson and tight end Erik All have both come up with big plays in recent games for the Wolverines. While no team came close to matching Georgia’s scoring defense numbers, Michigan did rank third in FBS allowing just 16.8 points per game. 

Georgia vs. Michigan Orange Bowl Betting Odds and Line Movement

The following table displays the best Georgia vs. Michigan College Football Playoff betting odds and lines available in the market.

TeamMoneylineML Implied ProbabilitySpreadTotal
Georgia-30075%-7.5 (-105)O 45.5 (-110)
Michigan+25028.6%+7.5 (-108)U 45.5 (-109)

Much like the other College Football Playoff semifinal between Cincinnati and Alabama, the betting odds for the Orange Bowl have not seen much movement. Georgia continues to lay the consensus opening number of -7.5 across the market. The total has also held steady around the opening line of 45.5. It seems safe to say that the oddsmakers are confident in their lines for this CFP semifinal.

It is worth noting that 69% of spread bets are on Michigan catching 7.5 points in this matchup. Public underdogs tend to be trouble more often than not. The fact that the spread has not moved at all from Georgia -7.5 reinforces the confidence that bookmakers have in “needing” the Bulldogs on New Year’s Eve.

Georgia vs. Michigan College Football Playoff Betting Picks and Prediction

It wasn’t even a month ago that Georgia winning the national championship felt like an inevitable conclusion. While the nature of their lopsided loss to Alabama in the SEC title game was surprising, it should not be considered a seismic shocker. The Crimson Tide simply had the assets on offense to exploit the UGA secondary better than any other team in the country. While Michigan was one of the best offenses in the country at connecting on deep passing plays, a stable run game was required to set up those downfield shots. It’s hard to envision the Dawgs allowing much on the ground in this Orange Bowl betting matchup.

Many analysts will have differing viewpoints on Michigan’s season and run through the Big Ten. While beating a regular playoff contender like Ohio State certainly helped their overall resume, the Wolverines have yet to face a defense that comes anywhere close to Georgia’s in terms of talent. The fact that Michigan’s offensive line won the Joe Moore Award figures to only add motivation to UGA’s cause.

Along with viewing Georgia as the superior team, the rare opportunity to align oneself with the house on a college football betting favorite cannot be understated. We’ll ride with the Bulldogs to get the job done on New Year’s Eve.

Georgia vs. Michigan Prediction: Georgia -7.5 (-105)

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Henry has had a passion for sports that few can match for as long as he can remember. What started out as a five-year-old taking interest in the New York Jets and their green jerseys has since become a full-fledged career as a writer and sports betting analyst. His coverage primarily includes the NFL, MLB, NBA, NASCAR, college football, and college basketball. In 2020, he ranked among the top-10 most accurate experts ATS in the BettingPros NFL season contest. You can follow Henry’s sports work on Twitter and other social media platforms @HankTimeSports.

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