Orange Bowl 2021: Latest Odds, Prediction for Georgia vs. Michigan Playoff

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIDecember 11, 2021

ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 20: Jordan Davis #99 of the Georgia Bulldogs reacts after rushing in for a touchdown during the first half against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers at Sanford Stadium on November 20, 2021 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Michigan and Georgia are two storied college football programs. However, the Wolverines and Bulldogs don't have much history with each other, as they've only faced off two previous times, with the most recent meeting between the schools coming in 1965.

For the first time in 56 years, Michigan and Georgia will go head-to-head on Dec. 31. And the stakes will be much higher than the two previous games featuring the programs, both of which were regular-season matchups.

This time, the Wolverines and Bulldogs are playing for a berth in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game, as they'll be facing off in the Orange Bowl, one of the two CFP semifinal games. Alabama and Cincinnati are playing in the Cotton Bowl, the other semifinal matchup.

Entering the Orange Bowl, Michigan and Georgia are both 12-1 and have had impressive seasons. But for one of the teams, the New Year's Eve contest will mark the end.

Here's everything you need to know ahead of this year's Orange Bowl. 


Orange Bowl Odds

Spread: Georgia (-7.5)

Over/Under: 44.5 total points

Moneyline: Georgia -335 (bet $335 to win $100); Michigan +260 (bet $100 to win $260)

Via DraftKings Sportsbook


Preview, Prediction

Georgia hasn't been a frequent visitor to the College Football Playoff since the system was implemented in 2014. However, it still has more CFP experience than Michigan.

While the Bulldogs are making their second Playoff appearance, the Wolverines are making their CFP debut. So Georgia head coach Kirby Smart may have a better idea of how to utilize the four-week break between games and how to get his team prepared for the high-stakes matchup.

"We want to manage that the right way," Smart said, per Jake Rowe of 247Sports.com. "And I think having done that one time certainly helps us from understanding what we need to get done, how to prepare, and those things."

But the Bulldogs are also going to need to bounce back from a tough loss in their previous game. After winning their first 12 contests of the season, they fell to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, as the Crimson Tide became the first team to score more than 17 points against Georgia's dominant defense when they put up 41.

If the Bulldogs had won the SEC title, they'd be the No. 1 seed in the CFP, and this matchup against the Wolverines likely wouldn't be happening. Instead, Georgia has to face a Michigan team that has won five straight games and is coming off its first Big Ten championship since 2004.

Can the Wolverines' offense follow in the footsteps of Alabama and find a way to beat the Bulldogs' defense? The answer to that question may dictate the result of the Orange Bowl.

Georgia has a big presence in the middle of its defensive line in senior Jordan Davis, who just won the Bednarik Award for being the top defensive player in the country earlier this week. But Davis is far from the only talented player on that side of the ball for the Bulldogs.

Michigan may have scored 42 or more points in each of its past three games, but it also didn't go up against a defense like Georgia's over that stretch. So this will be a true test for the Wolverines' offense.

Expect the Orange Bowl to be the more competitive of the two CFP semifinal matchups, and it will likely be a game that could swing in either direction late. Georgia may be the slightly more talented team, but Michigan's momentum should keep things interesting.

However, the Bulldogs know they need to get past the Wolverines to get a potential rematch with Alabama for the national title. And that will provide even more motivation for Georgia to come out on top.

With a late defensive stand, Georgia will hold off Michigan and advance to the CFP National Championship Game, just as it did in its previous Playoff appearance during the 2017 season.

Prediction: Georgia 21, Michigan 17


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