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Free Pick: Orange Bowl at Miami, FL 12/31/21
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Free Pick: Orange Bowl at Miami, FL 12/31/21

No.2 MICHIGAN 12-1 vs. GEORGIA 12-1

This 2nd semifinal playoff game features a Michigan team that is on a championship roll. In their last 5 games, they have outscored their opponents 193-72. They thrashed highly regarded Ohio State 42-27, and slaughtered a 10-2 Iowa team, 42-3, in their last two games. They are physical and will relish the role of being the underdog. Meanwhile, for the entire regular season, Georgia was hearing how they were one of the best teams ever and were unbeatable. And then, Alabama came into the SEC Championship game and humiliated the Bulldogs 41-24. Their vaunted defense was shredded by the passing of Bryce Young. It remains to be seen what the psyche of Georgia is going to be. Can they put that game behind them and get their mojo back? And do they have COVID problems that will greatly limit some of their players? Let’s see what the angles are.


Michigan: 17.5 Total Team Points The Wolverines are averaging 38 points per game and feature a balanced offense that is playing very well. The Georgia defense gave up only 84 points in the regular season before allowing 41 against Alabama. Michigan has two good running backs in Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum, who have combined for 2,242 yards and 31 touchdowns. Georgia has been almost impossible to run against allowing only 82 yards per game on the ground. A big key will be if Michigan can establish some sort of running game. Michigan quarterback, Cade McNamara doesn’t get much recognition, but he has completed 65% of his passes for 2,470 yards and 15 interceptions. The Bulldog pass defense was torched by Alabama but will Michigan be able to stretch the field like the Crimson Tide did. Michigan is better on offense than people think and obviously Georgia has a great defense. I’ll take Michigan OVER 17.5 total points.

Georgia: 24.5 Total Team Points Lost in the brilliance of the Georgia defense, is the efficiency of the Bulldog offense. They are scoring 39 points and are rolling up 443 total yards of offense per game. The Michigan defense has been outstanding all year long and are giving up 16 points and 317 total yards per game. The Georgia running game has been average and Michigan is very good upfront against the rush. That is a matchup that Michigan might be able to win. Stetson Bennett has been good since taking over at quarterback and he is completing 64% of his passes for 2,325 yards and 24 touchdowns. The Michigan secondary has been very consistent and have allowed less than 200 passing yards per game. The Georgia offense is better than most and the same can be said of the Michigan defense. I’ll take Georgia UNDER 24.5 total points.

OVER/UNDER: 45.5 Combined Team Points: Once again, we have a line that is just about right and I don’t see it being much under or over. I would lean towards taking the UNDER.

POINT SPREAD: Georgia is a 7.5-point favorite. Georgia had been regarded as the best team all year by just about anyone on the planet and then Alabama came in and dismantled them. Were they overrated or did the Crimson Tide play the perfect game? The big question is whether they can put that game behind them and regroup. When you get knocked off a pedestal, it is hard to get back up. Michigan is on a roll and they aren’t exactly chopped liver. They had to beat a good Penn State team on the road, get over the Ohio State hump, and then win the Big 10 Championship game. They are battle tested and love being the underdogs.

AARON’S PICK: Michigan OVER 17.5 team points

PAPA DUDES PICK: Michigan +7.5

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