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Michigan vs. Georgia picks for CFP semifinal, best bets for 2021 Orange Bowl

The Michigan Wolverines and Georgia Bulldogs face off in the 2021 Orange Bowl. We break down our picks and best bets for the game.

NCAA Football: SEC Championship-Georgia vs Alabama Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve finally reached the College Football Playoff on New Year’s Eve! The second semifinal matchup will emanate from the Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami where the No. 2 Michigan Wolverines will battle the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs. The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Michigan (12-1) had a successful 2021 campaign where it exorcised multiple demons on its way to the program’s first ever appearance in the CFP. The team cruised to a 7-0 start to the season before suffering a 37-33 late-October loss to Michigan State, seemingly beginning another late-season swoon against top opponents under Jim Harbaugh. However, they regrouped to win three more games before crushing Ohio State 42-27, finally vanquishing the Buckeyes for the first time in a decade.

The Wolverines then proceeded to roll Iowa in the Big Ten Championship Game to claim the program’s first conference title since 2004 and earn a spot in the playoff. Offensively, the team had players like running back Hassan Haskins step up big while their defensive front was anchored by potential No. 1 NFL Draft pick Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo. Kicker Jake Moody also played a huge role and took home the Groza Award.

Beginning its season with a 10-3 victory over Clemson, Georgia (12-1) proved to have one of the most dominant defenses that we’ve seen in college football in the last decade. Led by a fearsome front seven that included Butkus Award winner Nakobe Dean and Outland Trophy/Bednarik Award winner Jordan Davis, the Bulldogs’ defense gave up over 10 points just four times and pitched three outright shutouts.

Even with Stetson Bennett starting in place of the often injured JT Daniels at quarterback, UGA rolled to a 12-0 regular season record but ended up getting crushed by Alabama 41-24 in the SEC Championship Game. Their strong resume prior to that got them into the CFP with a conference title and they’re now out to finally claim that elusive national championship.

Here’s all the data you’ll want, and a pick for the game!

SP+ Rankings

Michigan: 4th overall, 16th offense, 7th defense
Georgia: 1st overall, 3rd offense, 1st defense

Orange Bowl, injury updates


RB Blake Corum Probable - Ankle


RB Kendall Milton Questionable - Knee

WR Ladd McConkey Probable - Undisclosed

LT Jamaree Salyer Probable - Foot

DB Christopher Smith Probable - Undisclosed

QB JT Daniels Questionable - Health

WR George Pickens Probable - Knee


Against The Spread

Michigan: 11-2 ATS
Georgia: 8-5 ATS


Michigan: Over 7-6
Georgia: Over 6-7

Current lines at DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Georgia -7.5
Total: 45
Moneyline: Georgia -320, Michigan +250

Opening line: Georgia -7
Opening total: 43.5

Michigan vs. Georgia: Orange Bowl Pick

Michigan +7.5

Michigan boasts the best record against the spread in the nation this season at 11-2. The running narrative is that the Wolverines are just happy to be here but expect them to put already anxious UGA fans on edge, especially with Hutchinson and Ojabo trying to hunt Bennett. Take the points with the Wolverines.

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