Orange Bowl 2022: Updated Odds and Comments Georgia vs. MichiganDecember 23, 2021
The Michigan Wolverines are aware of the challenge they face in the form of the Georgia Bulldogs defense.
Michigan will go up against one of the toughest units in the FBS in the Orange Bowl on New Year's Eve for a spot in the College Football Playoff National Championship.
Jim Harbaugh's team conquered one difficult matchup in the regular season by getting the best of the Ohio State Buckeyes, but Georgia presents another step up in competition because of its fantastic defense.
Georgia's defense may even play with a little more bite in eight days because it conceded a season-high 41 points to the Alabama Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship Game.
The Bulldogs are favored to win the Orange Bowl by more than a touchdown despite the loss. The oddsmakers also believe their defense will return to its season-long form since the over/under is one of the lowest of bowl season.
Updated Orange Bowl Odds
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
Spread: Georgia (-7.5)
Money Line: Georgia (-305; bet $305 to win $100); Michigan (+240; bet $100 to win $240)
Georgia went 6-2 against the spread in its last eight matchups with Division I foes.
Michigan turned in an even better mark, as it was the best FBS team against the spread all season at 11-2.
The Wolverines won outright in their last outing as an underdog against Ohio State. Michigan was a 6.5-point underdog in that contest.
Georgia went through a five-game spell in which every under hit, but the over went 2-1 in its last three games partly because the totals were so low.
Michigan eclipsed the over in each of its last three trips to the gridiron. The Big Ten champion scored over 40 points in all of those contests.
The Wolverines may not come close to that mark against the Georgia defense that likely did not enjoy conceding 41 points in a loss to Alabama.
Michigan offensive tackle Andrew Stueber is more than aware of the challenge Georgia's defense presents.
He came away impressed with the film he watched of the SEC East winner, per Wolverines Wire's Isaiah Hole.
"They're a really impressive defensive front, defensive line," Stueber said. "Their structure is really good. They're well-coached. They play hard and everything, but I think the biggest thing for us is we play Michigan football, we don't change too much. We do what we do best. This team has had so much success. The coaches know this, not to go away from what has worked and what will continue to work."
Steuber noted that the Wolverines watched the SEC Championship Game and tried to take away some of the things Alabama had success with against Georgia.
"We definitely look at that game—that was definitely an interesting game to watch," Stueber said. "There's a lot to learn there. I think Alabama did a lot of good stuff, but also a lot of stuff that doesn't really cater to us our offense. Being able to pick apart what worked and what we can transmit into our offense is a big thing."
Alabama did most of its damage through the air against Georgia. Michigan has a run-first offense, and it might have trouble going up against the nation's top rushing and scoring defense.
Michigan wide receiver Cornelius Johnson told MLive.com's Aaron McMann that the Wolverines have to trust their offensive style in the matchup.
"Not trying to change or do anything different," Johnson said. "But just play our brand of football. Just because we won a few games, that's good—but we've got another opponent on the line."
Johnson said the Wolverines must treat the national semifinal the same way it would any other game to avoid being caught up in the hype.
"It's important not to get too caught up in the hype, because at the end of the day you're just on a football field. It could be any field—in Glick (Fieldhouse), on the high school football. It's still just 100 yards long," Johnson said.
Michigan is making its debut in the College Football Playoff. Ohio State has typically been the Big Ten's representative.
Georgia is in the playoff for the second time. It was involved in two of the most thrilling games of the playoff era in its last appearance.
The Bulldogs beat the Oklahoma Sooners 52-48 in the Rose Bowl to advance to the National Championship, in which they lost 26-23 in overtime on a game-winning touchdown pass from Tua Tagovailoa to DeVonta Smith.
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart is scheduled to meet with the media later in the week to preview his team's second foray into the playoff.
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