This year’s Peach Bowl will send a team to the national championship game when the Georgia Bulldogs face the Ohio State Buckeyes in a College Football Playoff matchup. Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m. ET at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Saturday, Dec. 31.
The Bulldogs haven’t missed a beat since winning the national title over Alabama last year. They went 13-0 in their encore season, securing the SEC crown in the process and winning a dozen games by double digits. The defending champs have actually won 15 consecutive games dating to last year, since losing to Alabama in the 2021 SEC championship game.
Georgia lost several key defensive players from a dominant unit but still ranks second in the country by allowing 12.8 points per game. The Bulldogs have more firepower offensively, scoring an average of 39.2 points per contest to rank 11th in the nation.
That puts Ohio State in unfamiliar territory, with Ryan Day’s squad being an underdog as the No. 4 seed in the College Football Playoff. The Buckeyes (11-1) lost to rival Michigan for the second in a year as their lone misstep on the 2022 campaign.
Ohio State’s offense is explosive and will certainly test the Georgia defense in a way most SEC offenses were unable to. The Buckeyes rank second in the nation with an average of 44.5 points per game, led by arguably the best quarterback in the CFP in C.J. Stroud.
Caesars Sportsbook lists Georgia as a 6.5-point favorite with an over/under of 62 for this semifinal showdown.
Let’s take a closer look at the odds and trends:
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Georgia Bulldogs
Time/TV: 8 p.m. ET Saturday, ESPN
Point spread (from Caesars Sportsbook): Georgia -6.5
Money line: Ohio State +215/Georgia -267
Analysis: Even with the market a bit higher on Georgia coming off the national title, Kirby Smart’s squad went 7-6 against the spread and had seven of its 13 games finish under the point total. Ohio State was 5-6-1 ATS, but profitable from a total perspective with a 9-3 clip to the over.
From a betting perspective, this game is fascinating, because the winner will be the favorite in the national championship game either way. Georgia is obviously the team to beat, but oddsmakers would also favor Ohio State over Michigan or TCU in the title game.
That doesn’t necessarily mean the winner of this game will ultimately clinch the title, but that’s why this game is so interesting. This game is more of a toss-up than the betting odds would indicate, as the Bulldogs haven’t faced many offenses as high-powered as the Buckeyes. Ohio State ranked fourth in the country in EPA (expected points added) per play, and this team has had a long time to think about what went wrong in a 45-23 loss to Michigan on Nov. 26.
Stroud is a quarterback capable of rising to the occasion in big moments, as we saw in the thrilling Rose Bowl victory over Utah last year. I’m comfortable betting on him and this offense to pull off the upset to knock out the defending champs.
Prediction: Ohio State 31, Georgia 30