Orange Bowl 2021: Odds, Game Info, Injury Report for Georgia vs. Michigan

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistDecember 24, 2021

Orange Bowl 2021: Odds, Game Info, Injury Report for Georgia vs. Michigan

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Both anticipation and nerves are building for Michigan and Georgia in the final days leading up to the 2021 Orange Bowl.

    The reason for excitement is obvious: It's the second semifinal of the College Football Playoff. But the elephant in the room is player availability. Health and safety protocols have already put a couple of Georgia players in question for the game, along with a few other key players dealing with injuries.

    While the matchup is still a few days out, we're updating the latest injury news for both programs.

Game Info and Odds

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    When: Friday, Dec. 31 at 7:30 p.m. ET

    Where: Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida

    TV: ESPN

    Stream: WatchESPN

    Spread (via DraftKings): Georgia -7.5

    Total: 45

    Moneyline: Georgia -305 (bet $305 to win $100); Michigan +240 (bet $100 to win $240)

Injury Report

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    So far, Michigan has enjoyed an incredibly fortunate run in 2021. Wide receiver Ronnie Bell has been sidelined with a knee injury since the season opener, and he's the lone player unavailable.

    Georgia, however, has received some good and bad news lately.

    Head coach Kirby Smart said offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer, safety Christopher Smith and wideout Ladd McConkey are either practicing or expected to play, per Anthony Dasher of Rivals. McConkey hadn't missed any games, so his addition to the injury report was notable. But his availability may be especially important.

    Mike Griffith of DawgNation reported that backup quarterback JT Daniels and wide receiver George Pickens are among the Georgia players in Covid protocols.

    As of this writing, their availability is unclear. Perhaps if starter Stetson Bennett had a rough opening half, Georgia may have considered a QB change in this win-or-go-home scenario. But without Daniels, that would be improbable.

    Pickens, who recently returned from an ACL injury and caught two passes in the SEC Championship Game, would hold an impactful role. He led the Dawgs with six touchdown receptions last season.

Jim Harbaugh, U-M Aiming for Another Upset

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    AJ Mast/Associated Press

    Through the first six seasons of his tenure, Jim Harbaugh had a problematic trend of losing key games and rarely accomplishing much as an underdog. Heading into this matchup, per TeamRankings.com, he's just 3-11 when Michigan is not favored.

    The good news? Two of those victories happened this season.

    In order to spring this upset, Michigan will be leaning on its offensive line. The unit recently won the Joe Moore Award, which is given to the nation's top blocking unit.

    Alabama just smacked Georgia, but the Dawgs still have a highly respected defense—and Michigan doesn't have an Alabama-level passing attack. Michigan QB Cade McNamara has only topped the 200-yard mark in four of 13 games. Yes, that's partly because the Wolverines haven't needed a high-volume thrower. But it's a worthwhile trend to know in case Georgia limits U-M's rushing attack.

    No matter what happens, Harbaugh has improved his perception significantly in 2021. Landing this victory as a 7.5-point underdog, though, would provide an even greater boost.

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