Peach Bowl Pick

131
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Peach Bowl

Pick

Florida

vs.

Michigan

12/29/18

The two teams in the Peach Bowl aren’t too unfamiliar with each other, as Michigan and Florida have played twice in the last few seasons. Michigan has had the edge in those meetings and will have the edge again in this one. The Wolverines were -7.5 point favorites with an over/under of 50.5 (at 5Dimes Sportsbook) a week before the Game in Atlanta.

Michigan (6-6 ATS) dominated 33-17 when these teams met at the beginning of the 2017 season and before that it was 41-7 in the 2015 season Citrus Bowl. The Wolverines were headed for the CFP, but was then torn apart by Ohio State and that ended their hopes. They ran through most of the Big Ten with only a couple close Games.

The difference for Florida (8-4 ATS) is that Dan Mullen is now the head coach and the defense is again legit. After going 4-7 last season, the Gators won nine Games that includedone against LSU, the most impressive one of the year. While the offense still has issues, the defense was often too much for the opposition and that’s why this one could be lower scoring.

Michigan is looking to put the OSU loss in the past and has a good chance to do so. The Wolverines had one of the better overall defenses in the country and allowed just 17.6 points per Game even with 62 allowed to Ohio State. That’s not good news for Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks, who has better numbers than a year ago (7.64 yards per attempt, 23 TDs, 6 INTs), but still had major issues against relevant defenses. Even in the loss to Missouri, he completed just 9-of-22 passes. The Gators will try and get the ground Game going between LAmical Perine (750 yards, 5.9 ypc) and Jordan SCarlett (717 yards, 5.9 ypc), but if that doesn’t work, it’s a mystery how the offense will move the ball. To help, two of Michigan’s better defenders won’t play in the bowl Game in tackle Rashan Gary and linebacker Devin Bush.

Of course, it’s not much different on the other end because Florida’s defense isn’t far behind and allowed just 20.4 points per Game. It didn’t see many elite offense, but it thwarted numerous offenses like those of Miss. State (six points) and Florida State (14 points). Michigan put up big numbers on weaker teams, but also struggled against Northwestern and Michigan State. The main outlier is that the Gators were weaker against the rush, allowing 4.3 yards per carry and 166 rushing yards per contest.

That’s where Michigan has had the most success behind Karan Higdon, who rushed for 1,178 yards and 10 touchdowns on 5.3 yards per carry. It also helps that quarterback Shea Patterson showed his mobility when needed and is a step above Michigan’s quarterback from last year’s meeting. He finished with 21 touchdowns and only five picks and that may be all he has to do in this Game. Florida has seen plenty of stout rushing attacks in the SEC so this is nothing new and the win over LSU could be a good blue print as to why to bet the Gators.

Dan Mullen versus Jim Harbaugh is one of the better coaching matchups of the bowl season and the seven points may be a little too much since Mullen had bowl success at Miss. State, going 5-2. The Gators are 6-2 ATS in their last eight bowl Games, but 1-4 ATS in their last five on a neutral site. The Wolverines are 4-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record, but 1-5 ATS in their last six non-Conference Games.

Our Pick – Florida +6.5