The Georgia Bulldogs and the Baylor Bears square off Wednesday in what is the marquee game among the non-College Football Playoff bowl games. Both teams come into the game with 11-2 records, and both teams feature a grind-it-out, hard-nosed style of play that is becoming less and less common in recent seasons.
Georgia finds itself in its second consecutive Sugar Bowl, having lost last season’s Allstate-sponsored bowl by the score of 28-21 to the Texas Longhorns. Head coach Kirby Smart is 2-2 in bowl games in his time in Athens, including a 26-23 loss in the college football national championship game to Alabama in 2017.
The Bulldogs feature a stout defense that is ranked second in the nation in opponents’ points per game and surrenders under 200 yards per game through the air and under 80 yards per game on the ground.
On offense, the Bulldogs are led by junior quarterback Jake Fromm, who had a season of regression and was still able to pass for over 2,600 yards and 22 touchdowns against just five interceptions. Fromm threw for a career low in completion percentage, touchdowns, yards per attempt and rating in 2019.
D’Andre Swift will continue to be without backfield mate Brian Herrien in this game. Herrien is suffering from an undisclosed injury and did not travel with the team to New Orleans.
Baylor comes into the Sugar Bowl as one of the surprise teams in the 2019 college football season. Third-year head coach Matt Rhule led a team that was unranked in the preseason to an 11-win campaign and was an incredible 5-1 in games that were decided by a touchdown or less.
Quarterback Charlie Brewer has been suffering from concussion-like symptoms but is expected to play in this game. Brewer led the Bears with 2,950 passing yards and 30 total touchdowns (20 pass, 10 rush) on the season.
JaMycal Hasty and John Lovett lead a productive Bears backfield, combining for over 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns on the season.
Georgia enters this game as a five-point favorite, with the over/under set at 41.5.
Is The Smart Money On Georgia?
The Bulldogs are 7-6 against the spread this season, but an impressive 6-1 against the spread in road and neutral site games. Their grind-it-out style has resulted in a 3-10 record in the over/under. The Bulldogs score has also gone over in six of their last nine contests against a Big 12 opponent.
Another Close Win Before Hibernation?
Having played in six games decided by a touchdown or less can be tough, but when you win five of them, that says something. The Bears are 9-4 against the spread this season and are also 6-1 ATS in road and neutral games.
The Bears are 13-2 straight up in their last 15 games and 9-0 ATS in their last nine games playing as the underdog.
Pick and Prediction
This line has already moved down from Georgia -8.5 to -5.5, which emphatically suggests a ton of money coming for Baylor. That is a little scary, but if you believe in a fade the public approach, 89 percent of the money is currently on the Baylor Bears.
The under is likely the play, as Baylor has not seen a defense like the one that is about to match up with them. They call it gambling for a reason. Baylor continues to surprise as they put the clamps on Fromm, who has been bad in neutral-site games this season. Bears win straight up, take the under.