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January 20, 2019

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Vegas Play of the Day: Texas vs. Georgia in the Sugar Bowl

Oklahoma-Texas

Cooper Neill / Associated Press

Texas wide receiver Collin Johnson (9) celebrates after scoring a touchdown on a 2-yard reception against Oklahoma during the first half of an NCAA college football game at the Cotton Bowl, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, in Dallas.

The fifth season of the annual Play of the Day betting competition between the Sun’s sports staff is now under way, effective July 1.

Bankrolls start at $10,000 for each of the four participants, with the objective to increase it as much as possible over the next year. The minimum daily wager is $300, with a $200 penalty assessed for failing to place a bet on an assigned day.

Past winners are Case Keefer in 2017-2018, Ray Brewer in 2016-2017 and 2015-2016, and Taylor Bern in 2014-2015.

Texas-plus 12.5 vs. Georgia in Sugar Bowl, $440 to win $400: The trend of elite NFL prospects skipping their college team’s bowl game doesn’t give me heartburn. If a player is in line to make millions in the pros, why risk it by participating in one last college game, especially when all bowl games outside of the College Football Playoff are arguably nothing more than an exhibition for television and sponsors.

Georgia star cornerback Deandre Baker won’t play against Texas in the Sugar Bowl, hoping to avoid injury to protect his first-round draft status. While Georgia, one of the nation’s top programs, has capable backups to replace the All-American, they won’t be as fortunate finding a fill-in to organize the defense in place of defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. Tucker is the new Colorado coach and won’t coach in the bowl to leave a massive void.

That void includes preparing to face Texas, whose offense averages 38 points per game. Yes, Georgia has more talented players. And, yes, Georgia is one of the best teams in game’s top league, the Southeastern Conference. But having to win more by nearly two touchdowns to cover the spread with a makeshift defense is asking too much. It’s enough to justify a small play on Texas.

Current Standings: Brewer (14-12-1, $10,260), Keefer (21-19-2, $10,096), Emerson (1-3, $7,062), Grimala (12-13-1, $4,030)

Ray Brewer can be reached at 702-990-2662 or [email protected]sun.com. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21

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