It’s a classic match-up of an explosive offense against a great defense when Oklahoma battles Georgia in the Rose Bowl Monday afternoon in Pasadena (5 pm ET, ESPN), the first of the two College Football Playoff semifinals. Which way are we going with our free college football pick here?
This game opened at right around a pick ’em, with an over/under offered at 60. But as of about 24 hours before kickoff the Bulldogs had been bet into 2.5-point favorites, with the total now set at 61.
Georgia (12-1 SU, 9-4 ATS) started 9-0 this season, the best wins probably coming against Notre Dame, Mississippi State and Missouri. The Bulldogs then played a stinker of a game in a loss to Auburn, but recovered to win their last two to win the SEC East. UGA then defeated that same Auburn outfit in the SEC championship game 28-7.
Georgia spotted the Tigers the first touchdown of the game in that SEC title tilt, then scored the last 28 points and covered at -2. On the day the Bulldogs outgained the Tigers 421-259, outrushed Auburn 238-114 and won the turnover battle 2-0.
On the season UGA outgained and outrushed 12 of its 13 opponents.
Oklahoma (12-1 SU, 8-5 ATS), meanwhile, started 4-0 this season, and picked up what turned out to be a crucial victory at eventual Big Ten champion Ohio State. The Sooners then fell upset victim to what turned out to be a very good Iowa State team, but recovered to win its last seven in a row, with wins over Kansas State, Oklahoma State and TCU, to earn a berth in the Big 12 championship game. There OU beat Texas Christian again 41-17.
The Sooners hopped out to a 17-0 lead on the Frogs, let TCU get within 17-14, then scored the last 24 points and covered at -7. Oklahoma outgained the Frogs 461-317, outrushed TCU 218-83 and won the turnover battle 2-0.
On the season the Sooners outgained each of their 13 opponents.
By the Numbers
Georgia ranks 35th in the nation this season in total offense at 434 yards per game and No. 4 in total defense at 271 YPG, all while playing what Sagarin at USAToday.com ranks as the 34th-toughest schedule.
Oklahoma ranks No. 1 in offense at 583 YPG and 59th in defense at 385 YPG, while playing the 25th- toughest schedule.
Free Rose Bowl Betting Pick
In match-ups pitting great offenses against great defenses we usually prefer betting on the better defense. However, we’re not sure even Georgia’s stop unit can hold the Sooners in check. Also, Oklahoma has a four-year starter at quarterback, a Heisman winner to boot, while the Bulldogs start a freshman. And the last eight Heisman winners are 6-2 over their subsequent bowls. Finally, we never have a problem going against the betting flow. We’re taking the Sooners here for the win.