Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1) vs. Georgia Bulldogs (13-0)
Game Info: Saturday, December 31, 2022 at 8:00 p.m. EST (Mercedes-Benz Stadium)
Betting Odds: Georgia (-6) / Over/Under (62.5)
Pick: Georgia (-6)
Buckle up everyone, we have finally reached the pinnacle of the college football season, the playoffs. In our second semi-final matchup of the day, we will see the Ohio State Buckeyes take on the Georgia Bulldogs in a familiar stadium for the Dawgs in Mercedes-Benz Stadium at 8:00 p.m. EST.
Ohio State will feel like they are playing with house money in this one, as they got ran off their own field in their last regular season game to the Michigan Wolverines at home as a 9 point favorite. Following this game, they needed a few dominos to fall their way in order to get a chance to compete in a playoff game, which they did. This brings us to wondering if they can take advantage of getting a chance after their previous no-show against Michigan, and show the country why they were flawless all the way up until the last game. Heisman Trophy finalist, CJ Stroud, is the key to the offense in this one for the Buckeyes, as he had a stellar season, throwing for 37 touchdowns and only throwing 6 interceptions. But, the defensive side of the ball is going to be where this game is won and lost. If Ohio State showcases what they did against the run against Michigan to Georgia, this will be a long night for Buckeyes supporters. Head Coach Ryan Day and his staff must come up with a better gameplan in this one to stop the three-headed-backfield that the Dawgs come in with. If they don't, Georgia will control the whole game and keep the lethal Buckeyes offense on the sideline all night. Can Ohio State take their chance and shock the world and knock the Dawgs off for only the second time in two years? We shall see, but it is important to note that the Buckeyes haven't covered in their last four games against a team with a winning record.
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Georgia completed their historical season with a 20 point thumping in the SEC Championship game against LSU, to revenge their loss a few years ago in the same spot. They will love the fact that they are playing in an extremely familiar stadium right in their backyard, having played 3 games this year in the Benz (winning by a combined 66 points and going 2-0 ATS in those games). They will look to stifle the Buckeyes on the run where they have ranked #1 in all season (81.8 rushing yards allowed per game), and force Stroud into long distance downs where they can rely on their strong front and elite safeties to keep Ohio State off the board. The one blemish in the team, if you want to call it that, happens in the secondary where their talented cornerbacks find themselves lost at times. This is where Ohio State will look to move the ball in chunks down the field in order to stay in this one. After last season, this was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Dawgs as the majority of their star players left for the draft, but Kirby Smart has showed that he is not a fluke, and he is here to stay for the future in the SEC. He will have supreme confidence in his veteran quarterback, Stetson Bennett, who has flown under the radar over the past two years, but finds himself in elite company with a chance at a second National Title win to walk-off his illustrious career.
Betting trends to consider in this matchup:
— Georgia is 8-2 ATS in their last 10 bowl games
— Ohio State is 1-5 ATS in it's last 6 neutral site games
— 3 out of 4 of Georgia's last regular season games hit the over
All in all, I see the Buckeyes putting up a decent amount of points in this one as they have several talented players on offense to test this Georgia defense, but with Georgia playing in front of their home crowd and Kirby Smart having a month to prepare, I don't see a path where Ohio State covers or wins this game. Smart will put Stroud into uncomfortable situations where he will turn the ball over a few times and set up multiple short fields for Bennett and his star studded offense to punch in quick scores. Give me the dawgs big in this one.
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