Sugar Bowl Preview: Georgia Short-Handed as They Lay Points to Baylor
The Baylor Bears are in the midst of a truly glorious turnaround. Just a couple of seasons ago, the only won a single game. But Matt Rhule now has this team among the best in the country. And as a result, he is a very hot coaching property right now.
As rumors swirl about his departure to the NFL, Rhule brings his Baylor squad onto the field at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on Wednesday night as they compete against the Georgia Bulldogs in the Sugar Bowl, getting underway at 8:45 PM ET and televised on ESPN. If you are a BetAnySports customer, you can place wagers in real-time using Sports Betting Ultra.
Betting Baylor Bears
The only two losses for Baylor (11-2 SU, 9-4 ATS) on the season have come at the hands of Oklahoma, and they were a couple of heart breakers. In the first one, they lost a 25-point lead. And then in the Big 12 championship game, they were defeated in overtime. And the Sooners went on to the four-team college football playoff.
When Rhule took charge of this program after a three-year stint at Temple, he had to go through some personnel upheaval and injuries and finished 1-10 in 2017. Then last year he got them over the .500 mark with a victory over Vanderbilt in the Texas Bowl. And this year he got them to within one game of being able to play,it off for the national title.
Baylor has beaten the likes of Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas. And that’s a pretty good lineup.
Betting Georgia Bulldogs
Georgia has had a season that ultimately ended in disappointment. For one thing, they suffered an upset in double overtime at the hands of South Carolina. And then, after beating the likes of Notre Dame, Kentucky, Florida, Auburn and Texas A&M, allowing a total of 61 points in those games, they made it to the SEC title game, where they lost 37-10 to LSU.
As a result, they are, like Baylor, 11-2 straight-up. And they have a 7-6 record against the points.
Here are the numbers….
In the Sugar Bowl odds posted on this game by our friends at BetAnySports, Georgia is the favorite:
|Baylor||+3½ (-110)||42½ (-110)||+155|
|Georgia||-3½ (-110)||42½ (-110)||-175|
Baylor Offense in the Sugar Bowl Game
Charlie Brewer is the quarterback. He’s a 65% passer with 20 touchdown throws, along with 10 rushing touchdowns. Both John Lovett and JaMycal Hasty have averaged better than six yards a carry out of the backfield. And Brewer’s favorite target is Denzel Mims (945 yards). Although they are ranked 46th in Total Offense, the Bears are 17th in the nation at 35.2 points per game.
Georgia Defense in the Sugar Bowl Game
The Bulldogs ranked fourth in the nation in Total Defense. They are allowing just 2.65 yards per carry. And incredibly, they have given up just one rushing touchdown. They have allowed 12.6 points per game, which is second-best nationally. Cornerback JR Reed is an Associated Press All-American, but he’s OUT of this game with a foot injury.
Baylor Defense in the Sugar Bowl Game
The thing that propels this defensive unit is the ability to create turnovers. And the Bears have 30 takeaways, which is second-best in the nation. Expect that they will get after Jake Fromm as well, as they have 43 sacks. The ringleader here is All-American defensive tackle James Lynch. Playing in the Big 12, and twice against Oklahoma, this team isn’t intimidated by any opponents offense. .
Georgia Offense in the Sugar Bowl Game
Jake Fromm was a 60% passer, with 22 touchdowns. And Georgia protected its passer very well, allowing only 12 sacks. Kicker Rodrigo Blankenship was a bright spot, being named to some All-American teams.
But this situation is largely a mess. Both offensive tackles – Isaiah Wilson and All-American Andrew Thomas – are sitting out this game to prepare for the draft. Guard Ben Cleveland has been declared academically ineligible. Wide receivers Lawrence Cager and Dominick Blaylock are injured and won’t play. That hurts a lot.
Running back DeAndre Swift, who ran for 1261 yards, is also headed for the draft. It is going to come down to game time for a decision on whether he’ll play. Swift has a minor shoulder injury. And head coach Kirby Smart has said that unless he’s 100%, he’s not going to let him take the risk. The chief backup running back, Brian Herrien, won’t be available either. So they are very thin in this area.
Georgia would probably have gone to the playoff had it had beaten LSU. There situation is a little different than Baylor, which doesn’t go to these high- profile bowl games all that often. Whether Matt Rhule goes to the New York Giants or Carolina Panthers or any other NFL team is unknown. But we are suggesting that his team is more excited about being here. Rhule’s record as an underdog is 33-15 ATS, and he is on an eight-game covering streak when getting points. That’s the smart way to go.
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