Sugar Bowl 2019: Updated Odds and Preview for Baylor vs. Georgia

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 9, 2019

Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm (11) works against LSU during the first half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)
John Amis/Associated Press

The Georgia Bulldogs and Baylor Bears started December with College Football Playoff aspirations. 

After falling in their respective conference title games, the two sides will meet in the Sugar Bowl. 

A year ago, Kirby Smart's team suffered a defeat at the Superdome to the Texas Longhorns, while Baylor is making its second-ever Sugar Bowl appearance and first since 1957.

The Big 12 has come out on top in its previous two meetings against the SEC in the Sugar Bowl, but that could change January 1. 

               

Sugar Bowl Information

Date: Wednesday, January 1

Start Time: 8:45 p.m. ET 

TV: ESPN 

Odds (via Vegas Insider): Georgia (-7.5); Over/Under: 42.5 

      

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Preview

The best bet of any New Year's Six game may be the Sugar Bowl under. 

Both defenses allow fewer than 20 points per game, with Georgia second in the FBS at 12.5 and Baylor 16th with 19.3. 

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 05: Walter Grant #84, Michael Barnett #94 and Monty Rice #32 of the Georgia Bulldogs gang tackle Ty Chandler #8 of the Tennessee Volunteers during a game between University of Georgia Bulldogs and University of Tennessee Volunteers
Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images

The Bulldogs' 37-point concession to LSU in the SEC Championship Game was more of an outlier to their season-long trend. 

After falling to South Carolina October 12, the SEC East winner limited seven consecutive foes to 17 points or less, with two shutouts against Kentucky and Missouri. 

Linebackers Monty Rice and Tae Crowder are two of the team's top three tacklers, and they headline a rushing defense that concedes 75.7 rushing yards per game, the third-best total in the FBS. 

Baylor's top three ground gainers combined for 22 touchdowns, and John Lovett and JaMycal Hasty are both over 600 rushing yards. 

Charlie Brewer, who leads the Bears with 10 rushing scores, may cause some problems to the Georgia front seven as he attempts to get into a rhythm in and out of the pocket. 

The junior exited the Big 12 Championship Game with a concussion, but Rhule expects to have him back during the bowl preparations, per Rivals' SicEmSports. 

In his absence, Jacob Zeno and Gerry Bohanon combined for 215 passing yards, but the one thing missing from Baylor's offense was a consistent ground attack, as it earned 35 yards on 29 carries. 

Lovett and Hasty could face more struggles versus Georgia, which would force their defensive teammates to contain Jake Fromm and Co. to remain competitive. 

James Lynch, who has 12.5 sacks, is the key to forcing the junior quarterback into uncomfortable spots. 

The junior defensive tackle earned four sacks in the last three games, including a pair versus Oklahoma Saturday. 

MANHATTAN, KS - OCTOBER 05:  Defensive tackle James Lynch #93 of the Baylor Bears sacks quarterback Skylar Thompson #10 of the Kansas State Wildcats during the second half at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium on October 5, 2019 in Manhattan, Kansas. (Ph
Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

Fromm's production could also be hampered by his lack of top targets, as Lawrence Cager and Dominick Blaylock are injured. 

That leaves him with two wideouts, George Pickens and Demetris Robertson, with over 300 receiving yards. 

If Baylor commits attention to Pickens, the three-year starter may be forced to rely on D'Andre Swift out of the backfield, or an unsung player to step up. 

Working Swift away from the interior could benefit the Bulldogs, as they try to find an answer to Baylor's rushing defense. 

With questions about Brewer's health and Georgia entering with a banged-up crop of wide receivers, both offenses could struggle, and we may see the lowest-scoring New Year's Six game in New Orleans. 

               

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Statistics obtained from ESPN.com