2009 Capital One Bowl Preview and Pick – Georgia Bulldogs vs. Michigan State Spartans

No. 16 Georgia Bulldogs (9-3) -7.5, 55 O/U vs. No. 19 Michigan State Spartans (9-3) Capital One Bowl, Orlando, F.L., Jan. 1st, 1:00PM Eastern
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com

The Capital One Bowl is a annual showdown featuring the SEC and the Big 10 held in Orlando, Florida. Even though the SEC has had their way in bowl games in recent years, the Big 10 has won the last 4 Capitol One Bowl games. This years match-up highlights a pair of teams that stand at 9-3 and ranked in the top 20 teams in America. The Bulldogs will be representing the SEC and going for their first New Years Day victory since 2005. Michigan State has a powerful running game and they will be in quest for their bowl victory since 2001. This game promises to showcase the power of the Big 10 and the speed of the SEC in an exciting battle of conference powers.

Michigan State won 6 of their first 7 games and looked very strong early in the year. The Spartans played well all year, but struggled to pick up victories in big games down the stretch. Senior running back Javon Ringer had a solid season on the ground. Ringer first 5 games received national attention as Ringer was averaging over 200 yards per game. Ringer mellowed out a bit towards the end of the season, but he is still a force to be reckoned with. On the season, Ringer racked up 1,590 yards and 21 touchdowns. Michigan State will hand the ball off to Ringer often and hope he can make some things happen for the Spartans.

Georgia started off the year considered the most talented team in America a top the preseason rankings. The Bulldogs had National Title hopes entering the season, but those dreams fell apart after a big loss to Alabama. Quarterback Matthew Stafford played exceptionally well this season averaging 280 yards per game through the air ranking as the 16th best passing offense in college football. Stafford is projected to possibly be a top 5 pick in the NFL draft concluding this season and he will try to lead the Bulldogs to one more final big victory. Supporting Stafford is one of the most elusive running backs in the nation in sophomore Knowshon Moreno. Moreno has rushed for 1,338 yards this season along with 17 total touchdowns. Moreno has the big play capability to put defenses on their hills with incredible quickness. The Bulldogs will test the Spartans through the air and on the ground.

Most sportsbooks opened the betting line favoring the SEC and the Bulldogs by 7.5 points. The over/under total for the game has been posted at 55 points. Early betting action shows that the betting public is favoring the under in this game. ML numbers have Georgia listed at -320 favorites and Michigan State at +260 underdogs.

The Bulldogs defense is a strong talented unit that could give the Spartans trouble. The Bulldogs rank in the top 30 in overall defense allowing 318 yards per game of total offense. Georgia is quick on the defensive front and they will try to stuff the Spartans running game. Georgia has held opposing offenses to 25 points per game this season ranking in the middle of college football teams in America. The Bulldogs defense will face a strong running attack from the Spartans. Georgia has not faired well in games this season against strong rushing offenses. The Bulldogs 3 losses this season come from 3 of the strongest rushing teams on their schedule in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia Tech. Georgia will have the chance to prove that their defense can get the job done on New Years Day against the Spartans.

Michigan State failed to beat a ranked team this season going 0-2 and they will get another shot when they take on Georgia. The Spartans have been fairly mediocre on both sides of the ball in total offense and defense. The Spartans have faired best when their defense is playing well. In all of Michigan States defeats this season, the Spartans allowed the opposing team to score a disturbing 38 points or more. Michigan State will need to keep the Georgia offense at bay, and keep the scoring as low as possible. A high scoring game would favor Georgia considerably with the amount of weapons they have on the offensive side of the ball. However, a low scoring game would increase the Spartans chances at an upset.

Betting Trends
Michigan State has reached the over total in 4 of their past 6 games. The Spartans have been indecisive this year against the books with an even record of 6-6 ATS. Georgia has not been a money make for bettors this season going 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games and 3-8 ATS on the season. The Bulldogs have reached the over total in 4 of their past 5 games.

Jays Pick Despite both teams trends for the over total, I will go out on a limb and predict this one to stay low. Under 55.