There was never any real chance the unbeaten Cincinnati Bearcats were going to make the College Football Playoffs, as long as chaotic results didn’t occur elsewhere.
If Clemson or Texas A&M had lost twice, and if Ohio State had lost to Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship Game, maybe Cincinnati could have snuck into the four-team playoff field, but without those kinds of shocks and surprises, Cincinnati was left out.
It’s simply a fact of life that a Group of Five champion won’t get into the playoff unless really crazy things happen. Will the Bearcats be at their best, or will they feel the heat and succumb to their SEC opponent? Keep reading to find out more in our Peach Bowl betting preview.
Cincinnati will try to send a message to the College Football Playoff Committee in the Peach Bowl. The Bearcats are touchdown underdogs, and they’re playing Georgia in Atlanta, which is a semi-road game for the Bulldogs. There won’t be a full house on hand in Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Jan. 1, but it’s still a game where Georgia has been able to stay close to home and prepare in comfort. C
College Football Odds: Georgia -7
Sportsbook Total: 50.5
Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia
Peach Bowl Betting Preview
Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell and defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman are both seen as rising stars. Fickell has steadily improved the Cincinnati program in his tenure, and this perfect regular season is his masterpiece. Cincinnati has used a balanced offense and a relentless, well-schooled defense to win the AAC championship and the Group of Five title in 2020.
Quarterback Desmond Ridder has steadily improved. Cincinnati’s defense prevents big plays. The Bearcats don’t get involved in shootouts because the defense – while not always perfectly airtight – finds at least one quarter or 20 minutes of play to make life hard for an opposing offense. That is how Cincinnati has gained separation from its competition this year.
Georgia lost to the two best teams in the SEC, Alabama and Florida. The Bulldogs’ defense was shredded by those two teams, but that’s not cause for embarrassment. Alabama and Florida have great offenses, they played a 52-46 game in the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 19. Georgia defeated everyone else on its 2020 schedule, giving evidence that it is still a formidable and competent team.
The big improvement Georgia produced late in the season came on offense. Quarterback J.T. Daniels didn’t play in September or October due to injury. As soon as he was healthy enough, however, he took command of the offense and was easily Georgia’s best passer of the season. He gives the Bulldogs a level of potency they didn’t have earlier in the season. Stopping him will be Cincinnati’s priority.
– Cincinnati is 4-0 ATS in its last four games as an underdog.
– Cincinnati is 1-4 ATS in its last five bowl games.
– Georgia is 6-1 ATS in its last seven bowl games.
Peach Bowl Betting Preview: Bottom Line
J.T. Daniels will probably struggle against Cincinnati’s defense, but Georgia’s defense will hold down Cincinnati’s offense, which is nowhere near as talented or explosive as the Alabama and Florida offenses Georgia faced. Daniels is a good quarterback, so while he won’t have a tremendous day, he will make just enough plays against UC’s tough defense. Georgia won’t run away with this game, but its defense will do enough to win outright. Cincinnati has a great chance to cover the spread.
If you’re looking for what might be an easier bet, consider betting the under. There will be too good defenses on the field in this bowl game and two offenses that could sputter. The Bulldogs should have a slight edge on the game but under seems more clear-cut than the side.
Prediction: Georgia 24, Cincinnati 20
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