Liberty Bowl Pick
The Liberty Bowl is highlighted by two of the more inconsistent teams in the nation and that’s seen in both Georgia (7-5) and TCU’s (6-6) record as both dropped winnable Games throughout the year. With the SEC winning this Game the last three years, the Bulldogs were slight -1 point favorites as seen at 5Dimes Sportsbook for the Game in Memphis.
Georgia got off to a decent start, winning its first three Games, then SEC play truly started and they lost Four of their next five against Ole Miss and Vandy, among others. But then the Bulldogs picked up two quality wins at Kentucky and Auburn. Of course, they let down in the finale against in-state rival Georgia Tech and gave up 14 points in the Fourth quarter.
It was a similar season for TCU, although their highs were definitely lesser with only six wins. The Horned Frogs did have some highs in big road wins over Baylor and Texas, but surrounding those Games were two home losses in which they only scored 12 points total. This team just didn’t come to play every week and it resulted in six losses against all of the better teams on the Schedule.
TCU is a young team, while Georgia is already returning its top running backs for next season, so both teams should be equally motivated to end the campaign with a win.
The Bulldogs, showing slightly more consistency on offense, get the edge and that’s mostly because of the aforementioned running backs. Nick Chubb got a bit healthier at the end of the season and finished with at least 21 carries in three of the final Four Games. He should be around that total again, so expect another 100 yards from him combined with what Sony Michel brings to the table at a higher 5.5 yards per clip.
TCU’s run defense isn’t anything special, so expect both Chubb and Michel to have some success. The key for the Bulldogs will be making sure freshman quarterback Jacob Eason doesn’t make too many mistakes like when he threw two picks against the Yellow Jackets. Maybe with more practice time ahead of the bowl Game, he’ll flash more of the good than bad in this Game. He finished with 14 TDs and 8 INTs and only completed 55% of his passes.
On the other side, Georgia’s defense has kept the team in almost every Game this season and that should be the case here. TCU had those random blowouts at the end of the year, but nothing else about their results this season give a good enough reason to back them in this Game.
Quarterback Kenny Hill, formerly of Texas A&M, wasn’t the answer for this offense. He threw 15 touchdowns and 13 picks and didn’t have more than one passing touchdown in the last seven Games. Sure, he provides some explosiveness with his legs (537 yards, 9 TDs), but that effectiveness is often removed because of his liability to throw interceptions. Similar to Georgia, TCU will lean on the ground Game, although it is arguably worse with Kyle Hicks leading the way. He failed to surpass more than 3.6 yards per carry in any of the final three Games.
Georgia is just the safer team to bet here because they didn’t get blown out as often as TCU.
The Bulldogs are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 bowl Games, but this is their first under head coach Kirby Smart. They are 4-1 ATS in their last five following a straight-up loss. The Horned Frogs are 2-5 ATS in their last seven bowl Games and 3-9 ATS in their last 12 overall. All trends point to the under for both of these teams, which includes the under going 8-1-1 in TCU’s last 10 bowl Games.
Our Pick – Georgia +2.5