It’s the most wonderful time of the year, folks.
The college football regular season coming to an end is always bittersweet, but it’s tough to get too upset about it with a full slate of bowl games quickly approaching. The College Football Playoff will obviously get all the headlines, but this year’s postseason has some really intriguing matchups — from the Bahamas Bowl all the way to the 2021-22 National Championship.
PFF Greenline is also excited for one last hurrah in this college football season, with projections ready to go for every game on the slate. If you’ve tailed Greenline’s top edges this year, your bankroll is likely in a much better position than it was at the beginning of the season, and we’ll look to end with a bang after what was a great year of college football betting in 2021.
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Orange Bowl: Georgia Bulldogs (-7.5) vs. Michigan Wolverines; O/U 44.5
GREENLINE Pick: Michigan Moneyline (+250)
Let me be clear: this is not calling for a Michigan upset. That being said, PFF Greenline does see this as a short price in a game where it projects the Wolverines with a 32.9% win probability, which works out to an implied moneyline of +204.
If Michigan is going to pull off the upset in Miami, it’s going to need a statement game from a defense that has been elite all season. The Wolverines boast the best edge-rushing duo in the nation in Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo, with Hutchinson being the only defensive player to be named a Heisman finalist. And he finished second in the voting. Hutchinson leads college football with a 93.6 pass-rushing grade, while Ojabo has earned an elite 88.2 pass-rushing grade in his own right with 11 sacks.
Georgia’s 15 pressures allowed to Alabama in the SEC Championship game were more than double the number it had given up in any game this season previously. The passing game had a rough day as a result, with the Dawgs averaging -0.038 expected points added (EPA) per throw. Georgia's air attack had been more of a luxury than a necessity with the way it dominated in the regular season, but when it was needed, the results were disappointing. Michigan's defense will be looking for similar results by making life uncomfortable for quarterback Stetson Bennett.
On offense, It’ll be a true strength-on-strength battle with Michigan’s ground game against Georgia’s front seven. The Wolverines are tied for second in rushing grade and the Dawgs rank third in run-defense grade. Between running backs Blake Corum (second nationally in rushing grade) and Hassan Haskins (12th), the Wolverine backfield has two of the top running backs in all of college football. It’s hard to poke any holes in Georgia’s run defense, but this will be its toughest test of the year.
Alabama’s passing game shocked a lot of people by overwhelming Georgia, but there isn’t a Bryce Young or Jameson Williams on this Michigan roster. Don’t overlook the passing game completely, though, considering it still ranks 11th in EPA per pass, while quarterback Cade McNamara is currently tied for the lowest turnover-worthy play rate in the country.
Georgia is still an elite team and could very well wind up as the national champion when it’s all said and done, but Michigan has passed almost every test over the past few months and has what it takes to keep this close in a game chock-full of future NFL players.
Armed Forces Bowl: Missouri Tigers (+3.5) vs. Army Black Knights; O/U 58
GREENLINE Pick: Under 58.5
Army tends to play in low-possession games, and there’s a good reason for it. The Black Knights currently play at a bottom-10 pace in terms of seconds per play, and they keep the clock running plenty with their nearly 90% rush rate. The triple-option attack has been effective for this offense in 2021, which is largely due to an offensive line that ranks fifth in run blocking.
Your defense better be ready for a battle in the trenches against this squad, and Missouri could be in for a long day on that front. The defense has struggled as a whole this season, but especially against the run, where the Tigers rank 113th in EPA allowed per carry. Against a soft front seven, expect Army to be able to consistently pick up small chunks and keep that clock moving with the ground game.