Peach Bowl Best Bet: Ohio State vs. Georgia Pick

by | Dec 28, 2022 | cfb

Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1 SU, 5-6-1 ATS) vs. Georgia Bulldogs (13-0 SU, 7-6 ATS)
When: Sunday, December 31, 8 p.m.
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta
TV: ESPN

Point Spread: OHST +6.5/UGA -6.5 (Deposit $200 and get $100 FREE at the web’s best sportsbook! Find a HUGE wagering menu, the best live wagering platform on the web AND a killer player rewards program where you get a rebate on EVERY bet; win or lose at Bovada Sportsbook!)
Total: O/U 62.5

Outlook

Can the Buckeyes bounce back after getting rocked again by Michigan? Ohio State got a hefty dose of reality in the Big Game for the second year in a row, as the Wolverines came into Columbus and smacked around the Buckeyes, showing that Ohio State really didn’t play much of a schedule in 2022. The only good opponents Ohio State actually beat were Penn State and Notre Dame, and the latter wasn’t all that good this season. Otherwise, Ohio State’s next-best win was Maryland, hardly ideal preparation for playing in the College Football Playoff.
And that’s part of the problem the Big Ten keeps encountering when they face off against the SEC in the playoff. Granted, it hasn’t really mattered who the SEC plays in the playoff semifinal, as the league is 9-1 in the CFP semifinals. Alabama’s loss to Ohio State in 2015 remains the only time that an SEC team has actually gone down in the semifinals, and usually, the results haven’t been particularly close. If you’d taken SEC team -6.5 in every semifinal matchup since 2015, you’d have cashed eight out of nine, as Georgia’s overtime win over Oklahoma in 2018 marks the only time an SEC team has won its semifinal by fewer than 10 points.
The question with Georgia is simple: are the Bulldogs ready to go? For much of the season, it seemed that Georgia was kind of toying with its opponents. The Bulldogs had a couple of close calls when they clearly looked bored with facing the SEC East, and the only really good opponents they faced were Oregon and Tennessee. But when they faced the Ducks in the opener, they smashed them by a 49-3 score, showing just how powerful they are when they want to be. If the Bulldogs are on their game, it’s hard to see anyone staying with them for four quarters. But if they’re not up for it, Ohio State can easily win this game.

How the Public is Betting the Ohio State/Georgia Game

The sharps seem to be with the Buckeyes here. The line has dropped from the critical number of -7 to -6.5, even as 68% of tickets have come in on Georgia. The total has increased from 60.5 to 62.5.

Injury Concerns

Ohio State:
Offensive lineman Avery Henry (illness), running back TreVeyon Henderson (foot), wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba (hamstring), cornerback Lloyd McFarquhar (undisclosed), running back Evan Pryor (knee), and linebacker Mitchell Melton (knee) are out.

Georgia:
Tight end Arik Gilbert (undisclosed) and offensive lineman Earnest Greene III (leg) are questionable. Wide receiver Ladd McConkey (knee), linebacker Nolan Smith (pectoral), defensive back Dan Jackson (foot), linebacker C.J. Washington (neck), offensive lineman Drew Bobo (shoulder), and running back Andrew Paul (knee) are out.

When Ohio State Has the Ball

The big question for Ohio State: who carries the football? Granted, whoever does carry the football probably isn’t going to go very far against Georgia’s top-ranked run defense, but Ohio State has to figure out who its ball carrier will be after cycling through three backs against Michigan and Maryland. The Buckeyes got fine production out of Dallan Hayden against Maryland, as he carried for 146 yards and three touchdowns against the Terrapins, but he got just two carries against Michigan. In the loss to Michigan, Chip Trayanum got most of the work, even though Miyan Williams is the Buckeyes’ leading rusher. It didn’t matter because Ohio State had to take to the air, but the Buckeyes can’t just ignore the run completely in this game.

The Buckeyes will have to follow a similar plan this time because you can pass on Georgia. The Bulldogs did shut down Tennessee’s pass attack, but they have been more susceptible to a good passing attack than they are to a good ground game. Ohio State did find success going to Emeka Egbuka and Marvin Harrison Jr., and there’s reason to think that Ohio State can keep the ball moving if they get Stroud rolling. Throwing 50 times really isn’t ideal, but it’s hard to see another way that the Buckeyes can take over the game.

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When Georgia Has the Ball

There are two ways to look at Georgia’s rout of LSU. The first is that the Bulldogs slacked off in the second half rather than hitting the gas in a 35-10 game, which isn’t really a great thing to take from that contest. The other way to look at it is just how dominant Georgia was in the second quarter against LSU. It simply shows just how powerful Georgia is when it wants to be, and as long as Stetson Bennett is on, the Bulldogs will have no trouble moving the ball.
Ohio State has played defense pretty well on the season, but there’s a bit of an asterisk there, given how weak the offenses the Buckeyes faced were in 2022. Thanks to playing in the Big Ten East, Ohio State got to face Rutgers, Indiana, and Michigan State, three of the worst offenses in the country. The Buckeyes also drew Iowa, Wisconsin, and Northwestern out of the West, and offenses don’t get much worse than that. The only decent offenses the Big Ten threw at the Buckeyes were Michigan, Maryland, and Penn State, and all three put 30 points or more on the Buckeyes. As long as Bennett and running back Kenny McIntosh can get rolling early, Georgia should score and score fairly often.

More Picks: Get Dan’s Rose Bowl Prediction 1/2/23 >>>>

Betting Trends

Ohio State has been a great way to lose money over the final third of the season. The Buckeyes went just 1-4 ATS to close the season, and the one was against Indiana, against whom it’s almost impossible to fail to cover (although Michigan State found a way to not only do that but lose the game outright). Otherwise, Ohio State usually gets too much money bet on it to make any money without paying a lot of juice. But the Buckeyes have been a great over team, as they’ve gone over in nine of their past ten games. The lone exception was Northwestern, who can’t score and played in a driving rainstorm anyway.
Meanwhile, Georgia has gone 3-2 ATS in its past five, and the three covers were against good teams. Under Kirby Smart, the Bulldogs have played their best when the lights are brightest, and the times when Georgia has failed to cover came against bad teams that were not on Georgia’s level. The Bulldogs have also gone over in three of four, with the exception against defensive-minded Kentucky.

Weather Report

With storms in the Atlanta area, it’s likely that the roof will close for this game. If they open the roof, temperatures will sit at around 60 degrees at kickoff, with winds blowing at six miles per hour to the southeast.

Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread

It’s hard to see this working out for Ohio State unless Georgia gets off to a slow start on defense. As long as the Bulldogs get going early, the Buckeyes will likely get thrown off their game in the second half. This line is reasonable for Georgia to cover, and when Georgia faces a low line, the Bulldogs usually come through. I’m taking the Dawgs here. Kick 2023 off right with free bowl game and Week 17 NFL bets! Deposit $100 to $300 and use promo code PREDICT100 and you’ll receive a massive 100% real cash bonus at MyBookie Sportsbook!