Gators The Value Pick Versus Michigan In Peach Bowl

Jason Lake

Tuesday, December 4, 2018 3:04 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018 3:04 PM UTC

Get the latest college football picks on the Peach Bowl. The game from Atlanta is Saturday, Dec. 29, at noon ET on ESPN. Bet confidently with tips from SBRpicks.com.

Peach Bowl: No. 10 Florida (9-3 SU, 8-4 ATS) vs. No. 7 Michigan (10-2 SU, 6-6 ATS)Saturday, Dec. 29, 12 p.m. ET (ESPN)Mercedes-Benz Stadium, AtlantaFree NCAAF Pick: Gators ATSBest Line Offered: Heritage

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The Michigan Wolverines are heading into their fourth bowl game in four seasons under head coach Jim Harbaugh. They went 1-2 SU and ATS in the previous three, but the one they did win was against the team they’ll meet at the Peach Bowl: the Florida Gators. Michigan dominated the 2016 Citrus Bowl 41-7 as 3.5-point favorites, although that was before Dan Mullen took over the Gators program from Jim McElwain in November 2017.

How They Got Here

Michigan came achingly close to making the College Football Playoff for the first time under Harbaugh, but they lost “The Game” 62-39 to the Ohio State Buckeyes in Week 13 as 3.5-point road faves. Florida rebounded from last year’s 4-7 record to earn their Peach Bowl invitation in Mullen’s first year at the helm, picking up back-to-back victories over Mississippi State (–6.5 at home) and Louisiana State (–1 away) along the way.

Why Michigan Can Win/Cover

Despite that disappointing loss to Ohio State, the Wolverines remain one of this year’s very best college teams, checking in at No. 5 on the S&P+ Ratings at Football Outsiders. Their strength is on defense, where they also rank fifth overall; Michigan held Penn State and Michigan State to a single touchdown during their impressive 4-0 SU and ATS midseason run.

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Ohio State's 62 points are the second-most that Michigan has ever allowed in a game; the Wolverines beat Illinois 67-65 in 2010.

62 points are also the most points scored against a Jim Harbaugh coached team (including his time as coach of Stanford and the San Francisco 49ers). pic.twitter.com/6bbOdMYyls

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 24, 2018
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In theory, the Wolverines also will get some Peach Bowl intel from McElwain, who joined Harbaugh’s staff as wide receivers coach in February. McElwain was announced on Sunday as the new head coach at Central Michigan, so he won’t be on the sidelines in Atlanta; nevertheless, ESPN’s Football Power Index projects Michigan to win the Peach Bowl a healthy 64.6 percent of the time.

Why Florida Can Win/Cover

The Gators have enjoyed a remarkably quick turnaround under Mullen. Thanks to his recruiting efforts, Florida checks in at No. 14 overall on the S&P+ rankings, with the No. 9-ranked special teams in the nation. There’s almost no drop-off between Michigan’s offense and Florida’s, especially on the ground, where Lamical Perine and Jordan Scarlett are each good for 5.9 yards per carry.

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Dopey Dan Mullen aka Mr. Steal Your Recruit.... pic.twitter.com/gX0beMvAMn

— San Diego Gator (@619_chomp) December 3, 2018
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Florida may have about a 1-in-3 chance of winning the Peach Bowl, but that projection leaves plenty of room for the Gators to cover as 7.5-point underdogs, up from +6 at the open. Michigan’s 64.6-percent chance of victory works out to around –5 for a point spread. The Wolverines are very much the public team in this matchup; that may change later on down the road now that Mullen has resuscitated the Gators program, but it hasn’t happened yet.

Common Opponent/Series History

These two teams didn’t share a common opponent in 2018. They did play each other in 2017, with the Wolverines winning 33-17 as 4.5-point road faves to extend their lifetime series record to a perfect 4-0 SU and ATS.

Final Verdict

There’s one more important piece of news that should interest Florida fans: Michigan DE Rashan Gary has decided not to play in the Peach Bowl, saving himself for the NFL Draft instead. He’s a two-time All-Big Ten player and one of Michigan’s top defenders, but again, the betting public will likely overlook his absence, handing the Gators even more value. Getting them at +7.5 is already a bargain; who knows how high this spread will climb by the time they kick-off.

Check Out Our Peach Bowl Betting Trends & History
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