The No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs (11-2) are set to take on the No. 15 Texas Longhorns in the All-State Sugar Bowl. Kickoff is set for 8:45 EST on Tuesday, January 1st at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA. The game will be televised on ESPN.
Oddsmakers opened this game up with Georgia -11, but early money has driven the line up to the Bulldogs -12.5 and as high as -13.5 in some places. The total for this matchup is currently at 58 points.
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Sugar Bowl Vegas Betting Preview: Texas vs Georgia
The Longhorns took a big step forward in year two under head coach Tom Herman, despite another shocking loss to Maryland in the season opener. Texas went 7-2 in Big 12 play, including a 48-45 win over Oklahoma. Their two losses in conference play during the regular season were a 1-point loss at home to West Virginia and 3-point loss at Oklahoma State. They earned a spot in the Big 12 title game, but would lose 39-27 in the rematch with the Sooners.
Herman has a perfect record in bowl games as a head coach. In his only bowl game in brief time with Houston, he guided the Cougars to a 38-24 win over Florida State in the Peach Bowl. Herman improved to 2-0 in bowl games with a 33-16 win as a 3-point dog to Missouri in last year’s Texas Bowl.
The Bulldogs were every bit as good as we thought they were going to be. The only loss for Georgia in the regular-season was a loss at LSU. Few were giving them a chance against Alabama in the SEC Title game, yet they had the Crimson Tide on the ropes with a 28-14 lead with less than 5 minutes to play in the 3rd quarter. It was all downhill from there, as Jalen Hurts of all people led Alabama to a 35-28 come-from-behind win.
There were some that thought even with the two losses, Georgia deserved to be included in the 4-team playoff. I think we are going to see those people were probably right, but ultimately the Bulldogs have no one to blame but themselves for not making it. Georgia is 2-1 in bowl games under head coach Kirby Smart. The only loss being that heartbreaking OT loss to Alabama in last year’s National Championship Game.
2019 Sugar Bowl Free Pick & Spread Predictions: Texas +13.5
My early lean here would have to be to grab the points with Texas. In fact, I’m actually shocked that this line is as high as it is. Sure, in terms of talent Georgia is probably two touchdowns better than the Longhorns, but for me that’s if all things were equal and both teams were 100% motivated to play.
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I simply don’t think that is the case at all here. I get the Sugar Bowl is a big deal and it’s on New Year’s Day, but there’s no bowl game that’s going to be good enough for Georgia than the playoffs. The Bulldogs were 20 minutes away from upsetting the Crimson Tide and being in the playoffs. I just don’t know how this team can recover from blowing another 2nd half lead to the Crimson Tide, where the backup at the time came in and saved the day for Alabama. Beating Texas does absolutely nothing for this team.
On the flip side of this, I think this game is massive for Texas and their pursuit of getting back to being one of the elite programs in the country. Outside of their win over Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry, this would hands down be the best win for the Longhorns under Herman.
You also can’t ignore the track record that Herman has had not only in bowl games with his 2-0 record (both blowout wins as a dog), but how his team has performed as an underdog in general. Herman’s team has been a dog 15 times and he’s posted a 12-3 record against the spread and won 10 of the games outright.
You also have to factor in that Georgia will be without corner Deandre Baker, who is skipping the game to prepare for the draft. Baker is an absolute stud and a lock to be a 1st round pick. I think that’s a massive blow in this matchup. Texas’ offense is built on their passing game and it will be a lot easier throwing the ball without the Jim Thorpe winner on the field. Give me the Longhorns +13.5!