Georgia vs TCU Liberty Bowl Lines, Free Pick & TV Info

Posted by Kenny Bell on Thursday,December 29, 2016 8:51, EST in

Very busy bowl schedule on Friday this holiday week and it all starts with an intriguing matchup between SEC school Georgia, the Bulldogs’ first bowl trip under first-year coach Kirby Smart, and Big 12 school TCU and its long-time successful coach Gary Patterson to win this year’s Liberty Bowl. This game is a pick’em on NCAA Football odds.

Georgia vs TCU Liberty Bowl Lines, Free Pick & TV Info

When: Friday, Dec. 30, Noon ET
Where: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis
TV: ESPN
Stream: WatchESPN
RadioGeorgia / TCU
Opening NCAA Football Lines: pick’em (48.5)

Why Bet on Georgia?

After going 3-3 down the stretch and needing a field goal at the buzzer to avoid an upset at Kentucky, Georgia wants to put Smart’s debut season in the rear-view mirror so it can focus on what it hopes will be a brighter future under its new coach. This will not be an exciting bowl season for a team that sat at No. 9 in the Associated Press Top 25 early in the fall.

But UGA has a future star in Jacob Eason. The freshman quarterback has had a fine season but also endured the consistency issues one might expect from a young player manning such an important position. When Eason (2,266 passing yards, 14 TDs, 8 INTs) is on his game, though, watch out. But when he was under duress this season, Eason completed just 27.1 percent of his passes with one touchdown to three interceptions. He was sacked 18 times and lost two fumbles. He threw for just four first downs and had a raw QBR of 1.7 under duress.

The Dawgs also have two great running backs in Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Chubb’s first season back from knee injury was solid, but not spectacular as he rushed for 988 yards and seven touchdowns on 207 carries. Michel, a year after rushing for more than 1,000 yards in Chubb’s place, had 753 yards and three touchdowns on 137 carries in 11 games. The Georgia line ranked 103rd nationally in adjusted line yards this past season, per Football Outsiders, and that limited the effectiveness of the rushing attack despite having talented backs.

This will be Georgia’s 52nd bowl game appearance — fourth most of any team in the country. The Bulldogs’ all-time bowl record is 29-19- 3. The Bulldogs’ 52 bowl games ranks fourth nationally and the 29 wins ranks third. The Bulldogs have made three previous trips to the Memphis bowl game. N.C. State defeated Georgia, 14-7, in the 1967 game; Georgia came out on top of Arkansas, 20-17, in the 1987 game; UCF defeated the Bulldogs, 10-6, in 2010.

Why Bet on TCU?

Considering the Horned Frogs lost key players from last year’s team like QB Trevone Boykin, a slight step backward in 2016 was to be expected. What the Frogs did not see coming was a 6-6 campaign that included blowout losses to teams like West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Kansas State.

The Frogs simply need to turn the page on this season. They backed into bowl season with four losses in their final six games and TCU needs a bowl win to avoid a third losing season in the past 19 years. Over their past two losses, against Oklahoma State and Kansas State, the Frogs’ offense produced more punts (16) than points (12). That unit has been too inconsistent for TCU.

TCU’s up-and- down season mirrored the ride this fall of talented receiver and return specialist KaVontae Turpin. Injuries caused Turpin to miss five games. His presence might have mattered in a six-point loss to Oklahoma, a game in which a different outcome might have swung the seasons in a new direction for both teams.

TCU quarterback Kenny Hill, who left the regular-season finale with a foot injury, has returned to practice and been “running around,” Patterson said. Hill did not start the final game of the season, Dec. 3 against Kansas State, because of an injury but was dressed and available. He entered in the second half to replace an ineffective Foster Sawyer but couldn’t finish the game. He had to be helped off the field after a scramble in the final minute of the Horned Frogs’ 30-6 loss. Hill should start here. Hill’s season totals of 3,062 yards on 251 completions and 3,599 yards of total offense all rank third for a single season at TCU. But with 13 interceptions and a 5-6 record as a starter, he said his season was “very up and down.”

Running back Kyle Hicks had 12 touchdowns and needs 46 yards to break 1,000 on the season. In the passing game, receiver Taj Williams provides the big-play threat as he caught 39 passes this season, averaging 18 yards per reception.

This will mark the fourth time Georgia and TCU have played. The Bulldogs defeated TCU, 40-26, in the January 1, 1942 Orange Bowl, and recorded regular season victories in 1980 (34-3), and 1988 (38-10). The 1942 Orange Bowl was Georgia’s first bowl game.

Georgia vs TCU Liberty Bowl Free Pick: Georgia Bulldogs

Bulldogs are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 bowl games.
Under is 8-1- 1 in Horned Frogs last 10 bowl games.

Take Georgia and the under on NCAA Football odds.