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Taxslayer Bowl

Penn State

vs.

Georgia

1/2/16

It's been an interesting season for both of these teams. Georgia finished 9-3, but was still two games out of the SEC East, while Penn State finished at 7-5, playing in a weaker conference. The Bulldogs are the favorite as expected, opening as a -7 point favorite at 5Dimes Sportsbook for the TaxSlayer Bowl, formerly known as the Gator Bowl.

The Nittany Lions finished with seven wins, but those leave a lot to be desired. The only bowl teams they beat were San Diego State and Indiana if that says anything. Penn State started the season rough with a bad loss at Temple, but then went on to win five straight before the schedule picked up. Against the best Big Ten teams, they struggled to do much.

Georgia is mostly in that same boat, but with two more wins. The Bulldogs opened the year 4-0 with wins against bad teams, but then couldn't do anything against the SEC's best. They didn't even beat a team with a winning record, with their only wins vs. bowl teams coming against Auburn and Georgia Southern.

Georgia gets the notoriety playing in the SEC, but they haven't done anything to earn respect this season.

This game will likely be lower scoring and that's seen in the over/under of 42 points. Both offenses struggled throughout the year, while the defenses led the way.

Georgia's main issue this season has been passing the ball. Former Virginia quarterback Greyson Lambert has been fine, but that isn't enough to take down better teams. Lambert finished with just 11 TDs to 2 INTs on the year. He's starting for the Bulldogs, but Brice Ramsey figures to play as well, although he's only attempted 33 passes this season. Georgia lost running back Nick Chubb early in the year and that was detrimental to everything this offense does, but Sony Michel has been solid in replacement with 1,076 yards and seven touchdowns. Still, Chubb was one of the best running backs in the nation.

Penn State is built mostly the same way, although they throw it a bit more with Christian Hackenberg, who's been in the media's eye since coming to college. Hackenberg struggled once again this season (16 TDs, 5 INTs), but if his line can give him time, he'll be the key for the Nittany Lions. Wide receivers Chris Godwin and DaeSean Hamilton will be important against the top pass defense in the country (according to yards per game allowed). But like Georgia, PSU will try and get its running game going behind Saquon Barkley, who has 1,007 yards and 7 TDs.

This game figures to be a battle in the trenches, and while Georgia is the favorite, that's mainly because they come out of the SEC. The Bulldogs beat Missouri 9-6, Georgia Southern 23-17 and Georgia Tech 13-7 this season. Winning this game by more than a touchdown won't be the easiest thing. There's no doubt the Nittany Lions will show some fight in this game, hoping to finish the season on a high note after closing with three straight losses.

The Nittany Lions haven't covered in four straight following a straight-up loss, while the under is 5-0 in Georgia's last five games following an ATS win. Neither one of these teams has been kind to bettors this season with Penn State at 4-8 ATS and Georgia 5-7 ATS.

Our Pick - Penn State +6.5

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