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Georgia Bulldogs vs. Oklahoma Sooners Point Spread - Pick

Georgia Bulldogs (12-1 SU, 9-4 ATS) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (12-1 SU, 8-5 ATS)
Rose Bowl Game – CFP Semifinal
Date/Time: Monday, January 1, 2018 at 5PM EST
Where: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
TV: ESPN

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: UGA -2/OKLA +2
Over/Under Total: 60

The Georgia Bulldogs take on the Oklahoma Sooners in the Rose Bowl Game on New Years Day, which is also the College Football Playoff Semifinal Game. Naturally, this game will take place at Pasadena's Rose Bowl, making it a road trip for both teams. It's a battle of 12-1 teams who are both looking to cap off the season with something special. The second-ranked Sooners look to get to the CFP final with a win here, following eight straight wins to get to this spot. The third-ranked Bulldogs avenged their only loss of the season in their last game, a 28-7 win over Auburn in the SEC title game. Oklahoma comes into this game after beating TCU, 41-17, in the Big 12 title game. Both teams enter this game on a long break, having last played on December 2.

Oklahoma has really had a great season, separated from an unbeaten record by one upset loss, while peaking at right time. They have scored eight straight wins since losing to Iowa State, with wins over Oklahoma State, two wins over TCU, and an earlier win over Ohio State highlighting their resume. They emerged from a competitive Big 12 Conference with a quarterback that might be the best player in the nation, a surging running back, and cast of playmakers, and a defense that usually gives the offense more than enough spare space to operate. They average 45 points per game and have looked great as of late under first-year head coach Lincoln Riley.

The Sooners offense is a high-powered one, run by prolific quarterback Baker Mayfield. On the season, Mayfield has thrown for 4340 yards and an immense 41 touchdowns. The three top ball-catchers in this offense are Marquise Brown, Mark Andrews, and CeeDee Lamb. Also helping out aerially are Jeff Badet, Dimirti Flowers, and Mykel Jones. Running back Rodney Anderson has also been a good target, catching five TD passes this season to go along with his 960 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground. This is an offense that has a lot of different weapons that can put up points in many different ways. With Mayfield and several others on this offense, the Sooners are able to wield NFL-level talent on their opponents.

The Oklahoma defense had to operate in the offense-heavy Big 12 Conference, which has made their defensive stats less-glossy on paper than some of their counterparts in the College Football Playoff. But the opponents that put up points against Oklahoma put up points against everyone this season. They certainly looked good in their last game, holding TCU to 17 points on the 2nd. They get a nice edge-rush with Kenneth Mann, DJ Ward, and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo. At the corners, Parnell Motley and William Johnson have made plays, as has safety Steven Parker. In the middle, Caleb Kelly, Emmanuel Beal, and Kenneth Murray are very active. Granted, there may have been some moments this season where the defense was more exploitable than they should have been. And maybe a prolific offense has helped shield some of the inadequacies on this side of the ball that could manifest in a bad way at this level.

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Georgia really had a big season, their best in years. After getting smashed by Auburn on November 11, they tumbled from the rankings with their first loss of the season. But they continued winning and got another shot at Auburn, turning things around with a huge 28-7 win. Under freshman quarterback Jake Fromm, a good second-year head coach in Mark Richt, a stout and diverse run-game, and a defense that has allowed an average of 13 points per game, the Bulldogs are a real contender. They might be off a lot of people's radar, but everyone had to take notice in how lopsidedly they beat a red-hot CFP-bound Auburn team in their last game.

The Georgia offense features a strong and multi-pronged rushing game, along with a smooth-operating freshman quarterback in Jake Fromm. The overall production of the Georgia aerial game has been light this season, but Fromm has been a big part of the 12-1 season. The offense is good for 35 points a game, with Fromm adding 21 touchdowns through the air and just five picks. Javon Wims and Chris Godwin have provided a nice one-two punch at receiver, with Mecole Hardman chipping in along the way. But the real strength lies with their backs, with Nick Chubb leading the way with 1175 yards, followed closely by Sony Michel with 948 yards. Both have 13 touchdowns. D'Andre Swift is a useful option with nearly 600 yards rushing. Brian Herrien, Elijah Holyfield, and Fromm add to a ground-game that has been one of the best in the nation this season and offer Oklahoma a unique defensive challenge in this matchup.

Georgia has a heavyweight SEC defense, allowing an average of 13.2 points a game this season. They may were exploited to a certain extent against Auburn the first time around, but holding them to one score in the SEC title game shows they are for real. They are tested this season and for the most part, offenses have struggled to gain a foothold against this bunch. They have a gaggle of playmaking and pass-rushing linebackers, including Roquan Smith, D'Andre Walker, Davin Bellamy, and Lorenzo Carter. The secondary is bolstered with talent like Deandre Baker, Aaron Davis, Dominick Sanders, and others.

This is an easy spot for people to overlook Georgia. A lot of people are operating with the pretense that Oklahoma might be the best team in the country, while Georgia is more of an afterthought in this format. A lot of that is based on Oklahoma's recent form, along with how Georgia lost to Auburn not that long ago. But is that avenged loss worse than losing to Iowa State? While Oklahoma might have an edge in overall competition, don't one-score wins over Texas, Kansas State, and Baylor suggest a lack of invulnerability on the Sooners' part? At the same time, Georgia is not cut out to win a shootout. Oklahoma can win in more ways, while Georgia's defense has to be a huge part of the equation if the Bulldogs want to have a chance. I see Oklahoma overcoming the Georgia defense to enough of an extent to cover the spread.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Oklahoma Sooners plus 2 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today by signing up and betting the Bulldogs vs. Sooners game from the comfort of home at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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