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Georgia vs Michigan Orange Bowl Picks & CFP Semifinal Predictions

Dan Kilbridge for Bookies.com

Dan Kilbridge  | 5 mins

Georgia vs Michigan Orange Bowl Picks & CFP Semifinal Predictions

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Just a few weeks ago, Georgia was the clear-cut favorite to finish an undefeated season and win the national championship. Alabama had something to say about that, and now the Bulldogs need to get up off the canvas for the first time this season entering their College Football Playoff Semifinal matchup with No. 2 Michigan in the Orange Bowl.

The Wolverines are a +7.5 underdog but have all the momentum coming off an upset over Ohio State and a blowout win over Iowa in the Big Ten title game. It’s the first conference championship for Jim Harbaugh and Michigan is legitimately back in the national title picture for the first time since 2016.

This is a great matchup for college football purists and should be the hardest-hitting game of the bowl season, with two strong defenses and offenses that want to impose their will in the trenches.

Let’s take a deeper look into this matchup and what it means from a college football betting perspective.

All college football odds are current as of publication. Betting sites may indicate odds changes closer to kickoff.

RELATED: Your Complete Betting Guide To All College Football Bowl Games

Georgia vs. Michigan Key Matchups

Georgia Offensive Line vs. Aidan Hutchinson: Slowing the star Michigan defensive end and and Heisman finalist will take a cohesive effort from the Bulldogs’ front five. Keeping him away from quarterback Stetson Bennett and not allowing him to disrupt running plays in the backfield should be priority No. 1 for this Georgia offense. They should have some success on the ground but will likely need a few downfield strikes from Bennett. That won’t happen unless the Bulldogs can keep Hutchinson in check.

Hassan Haskins & Blake Corum vs. Georgia Front Seven: The Wolverines want to feed Haskins and Corum all night, just like they did while running for 297 yards against the Buckeyes and 211 against the Hawkeyes. That’s been the story all season as Michigan opened by attempting less than 25 passes in seven consecutive games. The Bulldogs have the No. 3-ranked defense in the country and this is big time strength-on-strength.

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4 Key Stats For Georgia vs. Michigan

9.5: Points allowed per game by Georgia’s defense, among the lowest ever in the modern era.

39: Rushing touchdowns for Michigan this season, third-most in the nation behind Army and Air Force.

3: Rushing touchdowns allowed by the Bulldogs this season, fewest in the nation.

56: Years since these schools met on the gridiron, with Georgia edging Michigan 15-7 in 1965.

Georgia vs. Michigan Moneyline

Michigan is the higher-ranked team, but Georgia is the heavy moneyline favorite with -300 odds. The Wolverines are a +235 underdog and have only lost one game this season, a 37-33 upset at Michigan State.

We like Georgia to win because these teams are so similar. The Bulldogs are just a stronger version with far more paths to victory. Neither quarterback will knock your socks off and it’s going to be all about the ground and pound. The Bulldogs simply have the more prolific rushing attack and the better rushing defense. Not by a wide margin, but enough that they’ll be able to make the big plays when it matters and put Michigan’s offense in a lot of tough third-and-long situations.

Georgia vs. Michigan Point Spread

Michigan is a +7.5 underdog on betting apps and it seems almost all public bettors are leaning toward the Wolverines and the points. We’re going the opposite direction and taking Georgia -7.5.

That Alabama game is fresh in everyone’s minds as the Bulldogs defense was overmatched for the first time this season. The Tide did it with a prolific passing attack and outstanding individual performances from quarterback Bryce Young and receivers Jameson Williams and John Metchie. Michigan simply doesn’t have those types of playmakers to challenge this Bulldogs secondary in the passing game.

This is a far better defensive matchup for the Bulldogs and they should be productive on the other side of the ball against a good-but-not-elite Michigan defense. Georgia has also been here before and it’s all completely new territory for Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines. We expect the Bulldogs to execute with consistency and chip away at the Wolverines all night to cover -7.5.

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Georgia vs. Michigan Total

Odddsmakers at sportsbooks set the total at 46 for this one, the lowest semifinal total in the history of the CFP. For comparison, the 2020 totals were 66 for Alabama-Georgia and 69 for Clemson-Ohio State.

Michigan and Georgia do not overwhelm on offense. They score a lot of points against lesser competition thanks in large part to field position, turnovers and big plays sparked on the defensive side. That won’t be the case in this game. They’re too evenly-matched compared to most of their conference opponents.

While we do expect Georgia to pull away eventually, it’s gonna be a slow burn. Both teams want to control the clock and sustain drives, because they don’t have reliable options in third-down passing situations. And Michigan’s offense might really struggle to find the end zone all night. We like Under 46 in the Orange Bowl.

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About the Author

Dan Kilbridge for Bookies.com
Dan Kilbridge
Handicapper Dan Kilbridge writes about college football, MLB and other sports for Bookies.com after spending three years covering Tiger Woods’ comeback and the PGA for Golfweek.