Liberty Bowl Predictions: Georgia vs. Central Florida Odds and Picks
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 12/29/2010
The matchup will play itself out numerous times over the college football bowl season. A team from a mid-major conference with a better record and ranking and a conference title in tow heads to a December bowl game against a big-time program from a BCS conference that is going through a down year and has suspect motivation for this lower-tier bowl game.
This year’s Liberty Bowl is another example of such a matchup. Conference USA champion, No. 25 Central Florida (10-3), will take on Georgia (6-6), the last bowl-eligible team out of the SEC, on Dec. 31 at 3:30 p.m. EST in Memphis, Tennessee.
Central Florida has enjoyed the better regular season, but Georgia boasts history, a better conference and, more importantly, loads of future NFL talent. So why the discrepancy in records, and why is Georgia favored by almost a touchdown?
These games generally come down to what is more important, motivation or talent.
The Golden Knights undoubtedly have plenty of motivation. This group is trying to become the first in team history to win a bowl game. UCF is 0-3 in its only three bowl appearances. And, of course, Georgia has plenty of talent. As many as six current Georgia players are projected to be drafted in the NFL draft. We know this because Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay recently met with six Georgia players to discuss the NFL draft, most notably junior wide receiver A.J. Green. And that also brings up motivation factor. Does a sure-fire Top 10 pick like Green really want to go out all to help his team finish 7-6 and win a Liberty Bowl over UCF?
UCF coach George O’Leary formerly coached at Georgia Tech. O’Leary was 3-5 against the Bulldogs when he coached the Yellow Jackets from 1995 to 2001. Georgia actually had to knock off Georgia Tech, 42-34, in the regular-season finale just to qualify for this bowl.
This game will present contrasting styles. With Green and quarterback Aaron Murray, the Bulldogs like to take to the air. They rank 38th in the country in passing yards per game. UCF wants to run the ball. They have three rushers all with more than 500 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, led by Ronnie Weaver (890 yards and 11 touchdowns).
In previous games against BCS conference opponents UCF played North Carolina State and Kansas State tough, losing to both by a combined 11 points. Georgia’s most impressive game may have come at Auburn, a game where Georgia led 21-7 after the first quarter and was within four points in the fourth quarter. Anytime Georgia had a big game it was because of Murray and Green. Against Auburn Murray passed for 273 yards and three touchdowns.
Liberty Bowl Betting Trends: Georgia vs. Central Florida
Georgia is 4-0 ATS in its last four bowl games
Georgia is 1-6 ATS vs. a team with a winning record
Central Florida is 7-2 ATS in its last nine games as an underdog
Central Florida is 21-7 ATs in its last 28 games overall
Liberty Bowl Betting Odds: Georgia vs. Central Florida
The Georgia Bulldogs opened as a seven-point favorite, according to college football bowl game odds, but the line has moved down to Georgia -6.5. The total has moved up a full point after opening at 54.5, it is now 55.5
Liberty Bowl Predictions for Georgia vs. Central Florida
Georgia has won its last four bowl games and seven of its last eight under Mark Richt. Regardless of the situation Richt has had his team prepared for these games. Last season they fell to a disappointing bowl on Dec. 28, but still thumped Texas A&M, 44-20. Central Florida has never won a bowl game and can only hang with Georgia if the Bulldogs let them, but they should be up for this game against a ranked opponent and with the line falling under seven, Georgia looks even more attractive. Take the Bulldogs minus the points.
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