The last time we saw Georgia in the College Football Playoff, it was putting the finishing touches on then-defending champion Alabama to secure its first title victory in 41 seasons. The Bulldogs haven’t lost a game since as they head into Saturday’s semifinal matchup with No. 4 seed Ohio State.
Top-seeded Georgia is dealing as a near-touchdown favorite over the Buckeyes, who needed some late-season breaks just to make the final four-team field. Can they turn that good fortune into an upset victory in their quest for their first title in eight years?
Here’s how we’re betting Saturday’s contest, which kicks off at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.
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Georgia vs. Ohio State (8 p.m. ET, ESPN) pick
Georgia -6.5 (-115 BetMGM)
Georgia vs. Ohio State (8 p.m. ET, ESPN) prediction and analysis
At the beginning of the season, Georgia and Ohio State were virtually neck-and-neck in the minds of bettors and bookmakers alike, and you could argue which team ought to be favored on a neutral field. Four months later, the Bulldogs find themselves as convincing favorites in this not-so-theoretical matchup – and there’s a good reason for that.
Georgia was virtually unassailable during its title run last year, and it’s arguably even scarier than it was last season. No, the defense isn’t quite as terrifying after losing five first-round picks to the NFL draft, but it still allowed the second-fewest points per game (12.8) in a loaded SEC and held seven of its last eight opponents to 20 or fewer points.
That makes the Bulldogs’ gains on offense even more backbreaking for opponents. Stetson Bennett (263.5 YPG, 20 TDs) followed up an efficient 2021 campaign with a more impressive season in 2022, ranking 14th in completion percentage (68.1%) and 17th in passing yards (3,425) – even more than Ohio State star passer C.J. Stroud (3,340) – to lead the nation’s 10th-best scoring offense (39.2 PPG).
The Buckeyes ranked second in points per game (44.5) behind Stroud’s brilliance, and their immense talent on that side of the ball is the key factor for anyone taking the points. That’s hindered a bit with the loss of star rusher TreVeyon Henderson (foot), while leading rusher Miyan Williams is expected to play through a stomach bug that forced him out of practice this week.
Can those two make gains against this seemingly impenetrable Bulldogs defense? Or, perhaps the better question: Can Ohio State stop Georgia? We saw the Buckeyes secondary get shredded downfield against rival Michigan in the regular-season finale, which marked the third time in five weeks that Ohio State’s defense surrendered at least 275 yards through the air.
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That’s a serious concern with the way Bennett is slinging it on the heels of a 274-yard, four-touchdown performance in the SEC final. That 50-30 win over LSU marked the only time all year that the Bulldogs allowed more than 22 points in a game – and 23 of those 30 points came after the game had been all but decided.
Consider, too, that this Peach Bowl matchup will be played in Atlanta, home to an endless supply of Georgia fans who helped their team win its six home games by an average of 29 points per contest. The last time the Bulldogs played in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, they cooked Oregon in a 49-3 rout to open the season. This one won’t be that ugly, but it shouldn’t be a close game, either.
Georgia vs. Ohio State (8 p.m. ET, ESPN) odds (via BetMGM)
- Georgia -6.5 (-115), moneyline -275
- Ohio State +6.5 (-105), moneyline +220
- O/U 62.5 (-110)