There is so much in the way of drama happening around the Sugar Bowl this year that it has a tendency to overshadow what will go on when these teams take the field. In case you're wondering, it's the Baylor Bears and the Georgia Bulldogs who will do battle at the Superdome in New Orleans on Wednesday night (New Year's) at 8:45 PM ET on ESPN.
And you should be familiar with BetAnySports and the opportunity to place wagers in real-time while the game is in progress. This is done by way of the state-of-the-art software from Sports Betting Ultra.
Matt Rhule, who engineered such a dramatic turnaround for the Baylor program, is being talked about as a major candidate to fill one of the NFL head coaching vacancies. In particular, the New York Giants are being mentioned, in part because Rhule is originally from the area, and also because he served as an assistant coach with the club at one time. He insists that he has not been contacted by any NFL team, and that he would like to stay at Baylor next year. What he's most concerned about is that it can be a distraction to his players if they are asked about it.
And they most definitely have been asked about it.
In case you're not familiar with the Baylor story this season, they are 11-2 (9-4 ATS) and both of their defeats came at the hands of Oklahoma. And they could kick themselves about both of those. The first time, they had a 25-point lead at one juncture, and almost look like they were standing around the second half as the Suitors launched a huge comeback. That did not eliminate them from national championship consideration, however; they had an opportunity to make a case to get into the four-team college football playoff, but they lost in overtime to Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game.
This is a good team that creates a lot of havoc. They've got 30 takeaways, which is second-best in the country. And they turn up the pressure on quarterbacks, with 43 sacks on the season. This will be a challenge for them in getting to Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm, who's been sacked only a dozen times.
In the college bowl betting odds that have been posted on this Sugar Bowl game at BetAnySports, the Bulldogs are favored, but there is some support coming Baylor's way:
Georgia Bulldogs -3.5
Baylor Bears +3.5
Over 42.5 points -110
Under 42.5 points -110
Georgia's numbers on defense are a little scary. They've only given up ONE rushing touchdown all season long. Think about that for a second; in the SEC, one of the toughest conferences in the nation, if not the toughest, and with all kinds of running back talent, only one of them has crossed the goal line against Georgia. The Bulldogs have surrendered only 2.7 yards per carry and they've allowed 12.5 points per game. That figure is second-best nationwide.
They are going to be missing a couple of key people, however. Tyler Clark, a defensive lineman, is almost certainly out of this game. And All-American cornerback JR Reed is definitely out of action with a foot injury.
When you go to the offensive side of the ball, Georgia is suffering a lot of attrition there. They'll be missing THREE starting offensive lineman, for example. Andrew Thomas, another All-American, and one of the best left tackles in the nation, will sit this game out and save himself for the NFL Draft. His bookend over there on the right side, Isaiah Wilson, will do the same. Guard Ben Cleveland probably would have liked to be in the lineup, but he is forbidden from being there because of ineligibility due to academics.
Two of Jake Fromm's top targets are injured and won't play – Lawrence Cage and Dominic Blaylock. As for the status of DeAndre Swift, no one knows for sure. He has declared for the draft, and because he has a shoulder injury, he's got a plausible reason to sit this out. Head coach Kirby Smart is going to get together with him and make a decision right before game time.
So there could be a lot of people missing on the Georgia side. This is a team that might be able to hold up its end of the bargain on defense, and when you look at some of these games they played, a lot of them have gone under this posted total – against Notre Dame, Kentucky, Auburn, Florida and Texas A&M. So maybe the "under" is worth a look.
But you know, Baylor has covered its last eight games as an underdog, and Rhule's teams customarily overachieved, which is why he's got such interest from the NFL. And we don't mind telling you that we think all these missing players sends a signal that the Bulldogs aren't in the most enthusiastic state for this bowl appearance. So we are on board with grabbing the points.
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