Sugar Bowl Betting – Georgia Bulldogs vs. Baylor Bears

Written by:
Phil Simon
Published on:

If you can’t get it right the first time you might as well give it another shot. The Georgia Bulldogs are where they want to be, it just happens to be about two weeks early. Needing a win over LSU in the SEC Championship the Dogs came up well short and will be playing at the site of the national championship game, they just won’t be playing for the crystal egg. Instead Georgia returns to the Sugar Bowl for a second straight season looking to right the wrongs from last year’s loss to Texas. The Dogs collide with another team from the Lone Star State and opened as an 8.5-point favorite to subdue the Baylor Bears.

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Georgia Bulldogs vs. Baylor Bears

Date and Time: Wednesday, January 1, 2020, 8:45 p.m. ET

Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA

Opening College Football Odds: Georgia -8.5, O/U 42.5

Georgia vs. Baylor TV Coverage: ESPN

Odds Analysis

Heading to the Big Easy after a crushing loss in the SEC Championship is an all too familiar occurrence for Georgia. And the betting public remembers what happened last season. The Dogs opened as an 8-point favorite and the line dropped steadily after surfacing getting down to its current Georgia -5. With Baylor getting a slight majority of action it looks as though sharps jumped on the early line in support of the Bears. The hope for Georgia fans is that the team learned from last year’s game. The Dogs never led losing outright, 28-21, as a 12.5-point favorite. Following a half-point jump in the total to 43, that number was wagered down to the current 41.5.

Georgia Bulldogs

The Bulldogs have more problems than just an 11-win opponent on the opposite sideline. Several high-profile players are likely to miss the New Year’s Day matchup for different reasons. Book end tackles Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wilson are preparing for the NFL draft, and guard Ben Cleveland is out due to academics. Defensive back J.R. Reed won’t play due to a foot injury and several others will miss the game for undisclosed reasons.

“We’re going to focus on the players that are playing in the game,” Kirby Smart said. One thing about playing in the SEC is that you need a deep roster to compete and the Bulldogs go several deep on the depth chart. But overcoming the absence of so many starters is going to be difficult against a Baylor team that will have its full complement of players, according to Matt Rhule.

While the Dogs went 11-2 on the season, they didn’t get the kind of offensive production from Jake Fromm that most expected. Touted as a potential first-rounder before the season started, Fromm put up decent if not spectacular numbers. Quarterback stats in the SEC are subjective and LSU’s Joe Burrow raised the bar for comparison with his ridiculous season. Fromm threw for 2,610 yards and 22 touchdowns for an offense that scored 31.2 points per game. It’s all about the defense for Georgia, though. Sure they got spanked by LSU in the SEC title game, but the group finished second nationally allowing just 12.5 points per game.

Baylor Bears

The turnaround in Waco is about to come full circle. Just two seasons ago Rhule took over the program and the Bears went 1-11 as they tried to escape the shadow of controversy. In 2018 they put together a 7-6 campaign capped by a Texas Bowl win. This year the Bears were knocking on the door of the CFP and nearly won the Big 12 title. They finished the regular season at 11-2 with their only losses coming to Oklahoma in a pair of tight contests.

Baylor blew a 31-10 halftime lead and lost the regular season contest, 34-31. The teams met again in the Big 12 Championship and this time the Bears staged a fourth quarter comeback scoring 10 points in the final nine minutes of regulation to send it to overtime. But OU scored the only points in the extra session to escape with a 30-23 victory. Charlie Brewer exited the conference title game with a concussion, but he’s expected to play on Wednesday.

Having an experienced quarterback behind center gives the Bears a better chance of scoring on Georgia’s elite defense. Brewer threw for 2,950 yards and 20 touchdowns with an additional 10 rushing touchdowns for an offense that averaged 35.2 points per game. The defense is sneaky good, too, and will give Fromm fits. One player who can take advantage of a depleted UGA line is James Lynch, who posted 12.5 sacks this season to earn All-America honors.

Bet Georgia vs. Baylor at

If Brewer plays, and plays like he has all season, I’m giving the edge to the Bears in a mild upset. It doesn’t matter if you come from the big, bad SEC, losing as much starting talent as Georgia has is a lot to overcome. And Fromm hasn’t looked good lately leading to more concerns about the Dogs offense.

Sugar Bowl Score Prediction: Baylor 26, Georgia 23

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- Phil Simon,

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