|7 CIN (-110) @ Pointsbet|
9* Take Cincinnati (#327)
There are three key factors in play for me for this bowl game. First, I’m not convinced that Georgia is primed to bring their ‘A’ game. It was only two years ago, following the 2018 campaign, that Georgia no-showed against Texas in their bowl, losing outright as -13 favorites. This time around, they don’t get to travel or leave the state; they were bypassed for the bowls they wanted to be in; and we’re seeing one key veteran after the next opt-out of this contest. The Bulldogs will be missing seven starters as I write this, each and every one an impact player with NFL caliber talent.
Second, Georgia feasted on the weak this year, not the strong; an overvalued commodity coming into bowl season after three straight blowouts to close out the regular season. Yes, they blew out 3-7 Arkansas on opening day. They blew out 3-7 Tennessee, and 2-8 South Carolina and 3-7 Mississippi State and 4-6 Kentucky. Their ‘signature’ wins came against a 5-5 Missouri team that was out of gas by December and a 6-4 Auburn team that was such a disappointment they fired their head coach. No, Cincinnati is not a Power 5 program, but make no mistake about it – this Bearcats team is the best non-Power 5 squad in the country this year & it’s not even close.
Third, Cincinnati is really good! Don’t be fooled by their ‘never sniffed a pointspread cover’ grind-it-out win over Tulsa on a sloppy field in nasty conditions to win the AAC title. This team feels snubbed; finishing with a perfect regular season yet left out of the playoff mix; a squad with something to prove on Friday. Luke Fickell has built a legitimate powerhouse in his four years here, yet commentators and bettors are still talking about their 42-0 loss in Columbus against Ohio State at the start of the 2019 campaign (a game with many, many asterisks attached to it, if you go back and review the circumstances and the gameplay) as an indicator that they’ll be outclassed here. The fact that Fickell is sticking around to reap the rewards of what he’s built as opposed to bolting for another job is a MAJOR positive for the Bearcats. Take the points, but be sure to put at least a little sprinkle on the moneyline at +220 or higher. Take Cincinnati