It’s not the game either thought they’d be getting so it will be interesting to see how both Georgia (12-1) and Florida State (13-0) come out emotionally for the Orange Bowl betting matchup. The Orange Bowl is still a big draw, but both the Bulldogs and FSU have a valid claim that they should be playing in the College Football Playoff as the first two teams out.
Georgia is a whopping -21.5 favorite on Saturday night in Miami, not just because the Bulldogs are a very good squad but because this is not the Florida State team we saw prior to week 12 when Jordan Travis broke his leg. The Seminoles aren’t even the same team we saw at the beginning of the month in the ACC Championship due to NFL draft opt-outs and transfers.
Why Georgia Has Value at -21.5
It’s possible the Bulldogs come out flat for the Orange Bowl betting matchup, but at least they’ll be present. QB Carson Beck had thought about entering the NFL draft but he has announced his return for the 2024 season and TE Brock Bowers traveled with the team and may play despite being a top 10 pick in the NFL this Spring.
While UGA got good news on the player availability front, it’s the opposite for Florida State. Not only has Travis – who finished 5th in Heisman Trophy voting – out for the season, backup Tate Rodemaker has entered the transfer portal. That leaves freshman Brock Glenn and his 10 career completions as the next man up to face the Bulldogs’ Top 10 defense in total yards (295.2) and points allowed (16.6).
Rodemaker is by far the only – or the biggest – FSU absence on Saturday afternoon. All-American defensive end Jared Verse has opted out as he’s projected as a top 10-15 NFL draft pick and RB Trey Benson (905 yards, 15 total TDs) has also declared. The Seminoles will also be missing their top three receivers Keon Coleman, Johnny Wilson, and Raheim Bell who are all going pro.
Why Florida State Has Value at +21.5
FSU is missing a lot of players for the Orange Bowl – a lot of players – but being +21.5 underdogs seems downright disrespectful. The Seminoles have the nation’s second longest winning streak at 19 games and have won their last two contests this season with two different QBs.
Florida State should be used to disrespect though, as they’re become the 7th undefeated team to ever miss the College Football Playoff – but the first Power Five conference team to do so. The selection committee said you are a one man team, and not as good without Travis at QB. If that doesn’t put a chip on a team’s shoulder – nothing will.
Glenn has his work cut out for him at QB, but he’s also had four weeks to practice with the starters and prepare for this tough Georgia defense. This is also a great opportunity for WRs like Ja’Khi Douglas (19.2 ypc) to get more targets and prove they can be a bigger part of the offense in 2024.
Free 2023 Orange Bowl Betting Pick
It’s hard to bank on a blowout in a bowl game – it definitely happens but there are also a lot of eternal factors such as the 3-4 week down time, neutral location, and in the case of both Georgia and Florida State the question of how motivated each team is when they could be playing in the CFP. FSU is trotting out a skeleton crew here, but three TDs is way too many to be getting.
Free Pick: Florida State +21.5