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College Football Predictions, Odds: Expert Picks for Georgia v Ohio State and Michigan v TCU bowl games

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The College Football Playoff is coming up. After months of speculation about who would finish in college football’s final four – and another month of trying to figure out what would happen when the actual teams were announced – we’ve reached the point where the only thing left to do is have the teams take the field and themselves close the debate.

But that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop trying to find out before kickoff for the Fiesta Bowl kicks off Saturday afternoon in Glendale, Arizona, with the action continuing as New Year’s Eve kicks off with the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

Will Georgia become the first repeat champion of the College Football Playoff era (and the first program to do so since Alabama in 2011-12)? Will Michigan put last year’s loss to Georgia behind it and finish the job this season? What about TCU? It is the only one of the four teams to debut in the CFP. Will your Cinderella story continue? And then there’s Ohio State. Will the Buckeyes seize the second chance they’ve been given and bounce back from a second consecutive loss to Michigan defeating the defending champions?

We’ll find out soon, but for now, let’s try to find out what will happen in the CFP semifinals on Saturday night.

2022 Fiesta Bowl: (2) Michigan vs. (3) TCU

featured game | Michigan Wolverines vs TCU Horned Frogs

To spread: While there is no doubt that TCU has earned its playoff spot, I make no secret of my belief that the Horned Frogs are the “weakest” of the four teams on the field, at least from a power ranking perspective. TCU has played the most one-score games this season among the four. In fact, the Frogs’ six one-score games were more than the other three teams combined (three). Ohio State did not play in any. This is a team that has seen itself in many games played and has done the smart things that good teams do to beat them.

That’s not a criticism of TCU, but a concern about what might happen when the Frogs enter elite competition, and that’s what you’re faced with when you get this far. While TCU has a stronger overall schedule than Michigan, what you do in the competition you face isn’t considered often enough. Michigan may have played a weak non-conference roster, but it also beat Penn State and Ohio State by a combined 46 points. You could argue that TCU hasn’t played anyone as good as these teams this season. Michigan is built similarly to Kansas State in terms of playing style and philosophy, and we’ve seen how much trouble the Wildcats have caused the Frogs this season. The difference? Michigan is much more talented. I cannot trust TCU to follow this. Pick: Michigan -7.5

Total: The choice here is cut and dry. If you expect Michigan to win, it probably will because it will impede TCU’s offensive offense, leading to an under most of the time. If you think TCU is going to win, the Frogs will probably have to score at least 30 points and make it something of a shootout. This means that the over is more likely to hit. The Wolverines are the best team and the one that wins the most often. Also, being a playoff game, expect Michigan to be conservative if it builds a lead and runs the clock, as with many of its opponents, once it has taken control of a game this season. Choose: Under 58.5

2022 Peach Bowl: (1) Georgia vs. (4) State of Ohio

featured game | Georgia Bulldogs vs Ohio State Buckeyes

To spread: The 2022 Georgia Bulldogs aren’t as good as last year’s national title-winning team, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still the best team in the country. They represent a specific matchup problem for Ohio State. The Buckeyes don’t lose games or fight often, but when they do, there’s a theme. Last season, Oregon had a physical defensive front that created problems for Ohio State’s offense, put pressure on CJ Stroud, and forced him off the script. Stroud struggles when forced to improvise. Michigan did the same thing late in the season and again this year.

Well, there aren’t many defensive fronts in the country as good or better than Georgia, and the Bulldogs’ defense is going to put pressure on Stroud. Georgia’s defense only ranks 41st nationally in rate of pressure, but that’s more of a by-product of not having to heat up opponents as often this year. In big games, Georgia has stepped things up and knows what it takes to slow down this Ohio State offense. We will likely see the Georgia blitz more often than before, putting Stroud in uncomfortable situations. On the other side of the ball, we’ve seen teams like Penn State, Michigan, and Maryland cause trouble for Ohio State’s secondary. While Georgia is not the most potent passing offense in the country, it is better than most believe and could cause problems. Pick: Georgia -6.5

Total: Is he really going to pick the favorites and the least for both games? He sure is! This is the same situation as the Fiesta Bowl. If you think Georgia’s victory will be a lower scoring affair that will see the Bulldogs quell a potent Buckeyes offense. If you think Ohio State is causing the upset, it will probably be because it does to Georgia’s defense what Alabama did to it during the 2021 season. After all, Ohio State is one of the few teams with quarterback talent and wide receiver to take advantage of potential weaknesses in Georgia’s secondary. The thing is, we’ve seen what happens to Ohio State when it’s faced with teams that can punch it in the mouth. Pick: Under 62

Which college football picks can you confidently make during bowl season, and which underdogs will win outright? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread – all from a proven computer model that has returned nearly $2,500 in profit over the last six seasons – and find out.