Michigan vs. Georgia Odds And Pick: Wolverines Put Nation’s Best ATS Record On Line In Orange Bowl

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Michigan Wolverines running back Hassan Haskins (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire)

Georgia is a 7.5-point favorite over Michigan ahead of Friday’s Orange Bowl (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), per odds throughout the betting market. But will this New Year’s Eve nightcap be an exciting, tight national semifinal? We say yes.

Playing into that tight theme, taking the points is the play, as the Wolverines continue their exceptional schemes and tactics.

No. 2 Michigan Wolverines (12-1, 11-2 ATS)

Michigan owns the ninth-ranked rushing offense, with nearly 224 yards a game. That’s one of the keys to controlling this one and keeping it close.

By the way, that ATS record is No. 1 in the nation.

Hassan Haskins has racked up 1,288 yards on the ground this season, and he hit triple figures for the fifth time in seven games in that massive victory over Ohio State in the Big House.

He has 20 touchdowns, which includes five against the Buckeyes. He has scored nine times in his past three games.

And along comes Blake Corum, who had been nursing an ankle injury, to tally 161 yards in UM’s past two games. He has 939 on the season, with 11 TDs, including one in the decisive Big Ten-title triumph over Iowa.

That’s a one-two punch that will give Georgia headaches, and Donovan Edwards is a capable third-stringer to give each a rest. Would coach Jim Harbaugh dare go to the wishbone for a few plays?

That would be the highlight of our bowl season.

Georgia is second in the nation in rushing defense, allowing 83 yards a game. Alabama, which rang up 115 against the Bulldogs, is 76th in rushing offense with a 146 average.

Look again at Michigan — No. 9 rushing attack, 224-yard average. And after nine consecutive runs, look for quarterback Cade McNamara to hit magnificent tight end Erick All for some big gainers.

No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs (12-1, 8-4 ATS)

The Dawgs were belted by Bama, 41-24, continuing a mediocre run in which they covered only three of six lined games to end their season.

Georgia would prefer to control games on the ground. In 10 of its 13 games, it ran more than it passed. That pass-run disparity was four against South Carolina (35 passes, 31 rushes), five (37-32) against Charleston Southern.

Against Alabama, the Bulldogs attempted 48 passes and ran 30 times.

Obviously, they needed to play catch-up. The Crimson Tide does that to foes.

Georgia had a season-low 109 rushing yards against Alabama, and that’s what Michigan will need to do — shut down the run, make the Dawgs pass.

‘Bama ranks third in the country in rushing defense, allowing a scant 84 yards per game. Michigan is 19th, at 121, having shaved five yards off that average over its previous three games.

Overall, the Michigan defense has allowed only one of its previous seven opponents to accumulate more than 400 yards of offense.

It all starts with Heisman runner-up Aidan Hutchinson, the defensive end whose 14 sacks are third in the country. Linemate David Ojabo is tied for ninth, with 11. Georgia hasn’t seen anything like that dynamic duo.

UGA quarterback Stetson Bennett will have difficulty throwing into a secondary consisting of Daxton Hill, DJ Turner, and Vincent Gray, who have combined to deflect 21 passes, and register nine tackles for loss and intercept four passes.

That stout defense is what keys this cover. Maybe, too, the victory.

Michigan vs. Georgia Orange Bowl Pick

This line has moved from 7 to 7.5, in Georgia’s favor, at many shops, playing right into our outlook. Michigan will run well, and Hutchinson & Co. will stifle Georgia’s running game.

We have a model that says Georgia 27, Michigan 24. Getting the Wolverines plus more than a touchdown is the definition of value, but we also like a half-unit bet on Michigan’s moneyline, available for +250 at BetMGM and Caesars.

We are also like an alternate spread on Michigan +3.5 (+150) at DraftKings. Moreover, we like Harbaugh’s second-half adjustments that have produced an average of more than 30 points in Michigan’s past three — Wolverines ‘over 9.5 second-half points’ is -150 at DraftKings.

Our Pick: Michigan +7.5

Also read: Many ways to bet CFP National Championship

About the Author
Rob Miech

Rob Miech

Rob Miech is a sports betting writer at Gaming Today who covers soccer and specializes in features content. He has written about college hoops for the Las Vegas Sun, CBS SportsLine and the Pasadena Star-News. Miech is the author of four books, including Sports Betting for Winners.

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