Georgia Bulldogs at Tennessee Volunteers Expert Picks with Odds and Predictions
Georgia Bulldogs at Tennessee Volunteers, 8 p.m., Saturday Sept. 23
The last time Georgia and Tennessee met, college football fans - and bettors - were treated with one of the most bizarre endings of the college football season.
The Bulldogs and Volunteers traded Hail Mary's in the final 10 seconds, and Tennessee, with Georgia scoring on a wild 47-yard touchdown with 10 seconds left, followed by Tennessee scoring the game winner on a 43-yard touchdown pass at the buzzer. The Volunteers erased a 10-point fourth quarter deficit and pulled off a wild road win in Athens.
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Georgia will be looking for revenge this week against the Volunteers. And in doing so they are looking to deliver an early knockout blow to Tennessee's hopes of winning the SEC East. The Vols, which already lost 26-20 at Florida, are in desperate need of a win here if they want to stay in the race.
Georgia at Tennessee Betting Storylines
Georgia dominated Mississippi State last weekend in a 31-3 rout in Athens. Georgia is now 4-0 straight up and 3-1 against the spread to start the season, and they have vaulted into the Top 10, checking in at No. 7 in the AP Poll and No. 8 in the Coaches Poll.
The Bulldogs have been able to overcome the opening-game loss of starting quarterback Jacob Eason thanks to the confident, efficient play of freshman Jake Fromm. Fromm has completed 62.3 percent of his passes this season with seven touchdowns to just one interception, and he's getting better with each game. The Georgia coaching staff is obviously getting more confident with him as well as Georgia ran a flea flicker on their first play from scrimmage against Mississippi State, resulting in a 59-yard touchdown that set the tone for that blowout.
Georgia has been riding the back of a dominating defense and a rock-solid running game. The Bulldogs are No. 8 in the country with just 11.5 points per game allowed. They are in the Top 20 in both total yards allowed and rushing yards allowed, and this is one of the most experienced and talented groups in the conference. The Bulldogs also boast a pair of superb running backs, Sony Michel and Nick Chubb, and both the defense and the backfield have helped keep the pressure off Fromm.
Tennessee is 3-1 on the season, but things are much more chaotic behind the scenes. The Vols struggled to a 17-13 win as a 28-point favorite against Massachusetts last week. Tennessee was obviously having a letdown after their heartbreaking loss at Florida (which came on a last-second Hail Mary) and looking ahead to their huge game with Georgia. But that close call against the Minutemen was just the latest incident that has Tennessee backers calling for Butch Jones' head.
Tennessee, which had a bit of a disappointing season after that big Georgia win last season, is in a bit of a transitional year. They lost a lot of talent to the NFL in the offseason, and they are still looking for a consistent answer at quarterback after losing three-year starter Josh Dobbs. But Jones, who has squandered opportunities and talent in the past, is not getting the benefit of the doubt right now. And if things go poorly early in the game on Saturday then I expect the home crowd to turn on this team.
Georgia at Tennessee Odds and Betting Trends
Georgia heads to Knoxville to take on the Volunteers this Saturday with the Bulldogs opening as a healthy 7.5-point favorite . The total is set at 47.0, and early betting numbers suggest that this will be one of the most-wagered on games of the weekend.
The Bulldogs are taking in nearly 70 percent of the wagers in this game, and more than 90 percent of the early betting has been on the 'over'.
Tennessee has had the upper hand in this series lately, going 4-1 against the spread in the last five meetings and 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings in Knoxville. The underdog is 5-0 ATS the last five times these two teams have played, and all five of those games have gone 'over' the posted total.
Georgia is 4-0 ATS in its last four road games and 5-2 ATS in their last five games overall. However, they are just 3-7 ATS after their last 10 wins. Tennessee is off to just a 1-3 ATS start to this season. But they are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games against a team with a winning record and 8-2 ATS the week after a loss at the window.
Georgia at Tennessee Predictions and Picks
Look, I am all-in on Georgia this year. I decided that before the Notre Dame game, and I am going to ride this team through the SEC. I think that Georgia is the best team in the SEC East, and I expect them to continue to prove it. Things are getting ugly in Tennessee right now. Granted, they could turn a lot of things around with a huge home upset over a Top 10 opponent this week. And the Volunteers have the tools and athleticism to line up and play with the Dawgs. Further, Georgia's young quarterback has played well. But this is still his first conference road test.
That said, Georgia is clearly the more confident and solid team right now. They have revenge for last season's loss - UGA has actually lost two straight in this series - and I think that if the Bulldogs jump on Tennessee early then the crowd, which is just looking for Jones' head at this point, could work to UGA's advantage.
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