Texas Longhorns vs. Georgia Bulldogs Sugar Bowl 2019
January 1, 2019 Louisiana Mercedes Benz Superdome
Georgia Bulldogs vs. Texas Longhorns Sugar Bowl
With Christmas now in the rear view and New Years swiftly approaching, bowl season is set move into over drive next week. On New Years Day, the Georgia Bulldogs will face off against the Texas Longhorns in the 2019 Sugar Bowl.
The pair of teams will meet for the first time since 1984 in New Orleans. Texas is having one of it’s best seasons in an a while, but the SEC East champion Bulldogs are heavily favored to take home the W and the hardware at the conclusion of the 2019 Sugar Bowl. According to OddsShark, the line originally opened up at Georgia -11.5 but those odds have sky rocketed since, in favor of the Bulldogs. The majority of sports books now have the Bulldogs at -13.
Though the odds are heavily favoring Georgia, Texas has put on an impressive showing through out the 2018 season. The variable that makes it hard for Texas in terms of odds is the fact that Georgia is coming off of an SEC title game where they went toe-to-toe with powerhouse Alabama. Even though they lost, the bulldogs showed that they where a real top four-caliber team in the defeat which is why the line isn’t really surprising.
OddsShark reported that 59-percent of bets have been put down on the Bulldogs over Texas. When talking about who will win the game in general, ESPN’s Football Power Index gives Georgia a 77% chance of winning on New Year’s Day, with the numbers sitting at exactly 77.4 percent right now.
Georgia vs. Texas Sugar Bowl Betting Trends by CTS 365
1. Georgia is an 11.5 point favorite against Texas. Texas holds a 3-1 advantage in the all-time series, and the teams have not competed against each other since the top 10 showdown on January 2, 1984 when Georgia was ranked no.7 and Texas held the No. 2 spot. The Bulldogs ended up winning the stunner 10-9 in the Cotton Bowl.
2. Georgia is 7-6 against the spread this season. When favored by more than 10 against FBS opponents, the Bulldogs were 4-2 against the spread.
3. The Longhorns were 5-8 against the spread this season with two wins straight up as underdogs in 2018.
Three Keys for the 2019 Sugar Bowl
1. Texas WRs vs. Georgia CBs
This is worth the price of admission alone. Jordan Humphrey (1,109 yards, 9 TDs) and Collin Johnson (945 yards, 7 TDs) are big body targets that are major threats on the field. The Bulldogs allowed just 180.5 passing yards per game this season. Sam Ehlinger thrives on the big play, but this is the best secondary he has faced all season. This is also a secondary who is coached by one of the best defensive minds in college football so don’t expect to many defensive lapses on defense for Georgia. This secondary has also faced off against tough competition all year since they play in the SEC. In fact, the Bulldogs maintained a steady lead throughout the SEC Championship game against Alabama until veteran quarterback Jalen Hurts stepped under center.
2. Longhorns’ Run Defense
Texas has made great improvements against the run this season, allowing 151.2 yards per game along with 3.88 yards per attempt. Georgia on the other hand has five players with at-least 40 carries who averaged 6.0 yards per attempt this season, including James Cook (6.9), DeAndre Swift (6.7), Elijah Holyfield (6.5), Justin Fields (6.3) and Brian Herrion (6.). These five running backs take major pressure off of Jake Fromm, adding balance to the Georgia offense.
3. Justin Fields
Justin Fields is the back up quarterback for the Bulldogs. He is used in a couple offensive sets to keep the defense honest due to his dual threat ability. Since Texas has given up for than 30 points in six games this season, don’t be surprised if you see Fields under center during the Sugar Bowl. This is an area of concern that can be easily resolved by Texas if they watch film and do their homework because whenever Fromm is taken out of the game and is replaced by Fields, nine times out of ten it will be a RPO(run, pass, option) play.
Quarterback Stats Matter
Keep an eye on Fromm and Ehlinger, mainly on their completion percentage. The magic number for the two is 65%. Georgia is 10-0 when Fromm hits the 65% mark and Ehlinger is 7-1, with the lone loss coming in the last minute to West Virginia. Efficiency in the passing game will be the difference in this game.
Who will take home the hardware in the 2019 Sugar Bowl?
Even though Texas has put on an impressive season and surpassed pre-season expectations, I’m going with Georgia. I believe that the difference in the game will come from the deadly rotation of running backs in the Georgia offense. With five running backs on a roster that can break at any moment it is going to be a problem that Texas has not seen before this season. If you need further proof that the backs on Georgia’s roster are the real deal, simply turn on the game film of when they played Alabama. The rotations of running backs where the battery back to a charged up Georgia offense and would have inevitable been the difference makers in the game if the Bulldogs would have closed out the SEC Championship game with a win. The physicality of these running backs can be seen all over the film and their field vision is elite. The ground game will be the difference in the 2019 Sugar Bowl.