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Ohio State heads to Atlanta as 6.5-point underdogs

The defending national champs are nearly a touchdown favorite over the Buckeyes.

Michigan v Ohio State Photo by Ben Jackson/Getty Images

DraftKings Sportsbook odds: Georgia -6.5 | o/u 62.5

When looking at how these two teams finished out their respective regular seasons, it is no surprise that Georgia is the favorite in the New Year’s Eve College Football Playoff matchup between the Bulldogs and the Buckeyes.

Kirby Smart’s group has won 15-straight games, including obviously last year’s national title game followed by an undefeated run through the SEC this season en route to an SEC Championship and No. 1 overall seed. Ohio State, on the flip side, lost the last game it played this year in embarrassing fashion to its biggest rival on its own home field, finishing the campaign at 11-1 and sneaking into the CFP after USC’s collapse in the Pac-12 Championship. As a result, Georgia enters the Peach Bowl as nearly a touchdown favorite, which is actually a testament to the Buckeyes’ talent — because the spread could be much bigger!

It will be a real strength on strength battle in this one, with Ohio State’s No. 2-ranked scoring offense going up against Georgia’s No. 2-ranked scoring defense. C.J. Stroud, Miyan Williams and Marvin Harrison Jr. will face off against Jalen Carter, Kelee Ringo and Smael Mondon Jr. as there will be no shortage of future NFL talent when these two units are on the field. Ryan Day has made it a habit of calling an incredibly conservative offense against the best defenses on the Buckeyes’ schedule, and if that is the case once again here, Ohio State will have no shot at pulling the upset. Even with good play-calling, it will not be easy to put up points on a defense that allows less than 300 yards per game.

Georgia’s offense against Ohio State’s defense will provide a very intriguing matchup. The Bulldogs aren’t exactly known for having a high-flying offense, but Stetson Bennett, Brock Bowers and the trio of running backs are incredibly efficient and well-coached. They have sneakily averaged nearly 40 points per game to rank 11th in the country, but the Buckeyes defense has been solid as well, allowing just 19.2 points per game to rank 13th nationally. Tommy Eichenberg and Steele Chambers have been sensational against the run, but the OSU secondary has been suspect all season long, and Bennett will have his way through the air if Larry Johnson’s defensive line can’t get pressure on the QB.

Ohio State is undefeated under Ryan Day when scoring at least 30 points, but the problem against the better teams on their schedule has been getting there. The Buckeyes failed to reach the 30-point mark against Alabama, Oregon, Michigan (2021) and Michigan (2022) in the last three years — all loses. Overall, they are just 6-5 in games since the start of 2019 when scoring less than 30, including 2-1 in 2022 with wins over Notre Dame and Northwestern and the loss to the Wolverines. Obviously it is tougher to score points against good defenses, but it is even tougher when your head coach keeps shooting himself in the foot with poor play-calling.

If Ohio State plays the type of game we know they are capable of, they can absolutely pull of the upset against Georgia. As previously said, this line only being 6.5 points is a testament to the Buckeyes’ talent, but they still have to use that talent appropriately. If Day comes out calling bubble screens and stretch tosses, OSU could get blown out. If he lets Stroud sling it and the defense is able to slow down the run and pressure Bennett in the backfield, then we will have a good ballgame down in Atlanta.

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.