2017 SEC Championship Game Expert Picks: Auburn vs. Georgia Predictions
Auburn Tigers vs. Georgia Bulldogs, Saturday Dec. 2, 4 p.m. ET
There is more than just SEC bragging rights on the line here. The winner will be a playoff team, while the loser will have to settle for a much less significant bowl. Add in the revenge factor for Georgia after their humiliating loss the last time the teams met, and Auburn's attempts at being the first two-loss playoff team, and we have a very compelling showdown on tap here in Atlanta.
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Auburn at Georgia Betting Storylines
Let's start with geography. The first reaction would be that Georgia has a distinct advantage playing close to home. Truthfully, though, that's not really the case. Athens is just 75 miles away from Atlanta, but Auburn is only about 110 miles. Neither team has a particularly challenging trip to get to the game, and both will be very well represented by their fans.
Auburn absolutely destroyed Georgia the last time the teams met. And they just humbled Alabama last time out. They are riding as high as any team in the whole country and couldn't have more confidence. Georgia is no slouch, though, and a rematch is always tough to assess during a season. Auburn has had to expose the tricks they devised to beat Georgia already, and they won't have the element of surprise on their side this time around. But they were just plain better last time around, and that can't be overlooked. What concerns me most about Auburn is that, as good as they have been, they have had two regrettable games. The offensive line was just a disaster against Clemson, and their second half against LSU was just awful. Those were both very significant games, and they faltered under pressure. They obviously have proved themselves in the last month, but I stand can't entirely shake off that concern - especially against a very determined Georgia team seeking revenge.
Georgia ran for just 46 yards against Auburn and their deadly defensive front last time around, and that was a big factor in defining the outcome of the game. Auburn's front has been great all year, but Alabama ran for more than 200 yards and averaged more than five yards per attempt. It was the first sign of mortality for the unit and the first roadmap that exists for success running against them. Georgia wound up with a run offense that ranked Top 10 nationally even with the Auburn debacle, so if they can follow the Alabama blueprint and have more success here than they did last time then this can be a very interesting game. Georgia also needs to rediscover their defense in this one - they allowed just 13.8 points per game on the season, but Auburn had 40. Even if Georgia can establish the run here unlike last time they can't afford to get into any kind of shootout because they just can't throw the ball. Like not at all. So, basically, it's pretty easy to like Georgia if you believe that they will look nothing like they did the last time these two teams met. Easier said than done.
Auburn at Georgia Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Auburn favored by the key number of three, and that has since fallen to 2.5 in early betting action. More than 60 percent of bets have been on the Tigers, so the movement suggests that sharp money is on the Bulldogs at this point. The total opened at 49 and has fallen as far as 47.5.
Georgia is 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games overall, 7-3 ATS in their last 10 conference games, and 6-2 ATS in their last eight games in December. They are 4-1 ATS in their last five neutral-site games. Auburn has covered the spread in their last four conference games and last five neutral-site games. They are 4-1 ATS in their last five games against teams with winning records. The favorite is 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings between the teams. Five of the last seven games have gone "under" the total.
Auburn at Georgia Predictions and Picks
This is the toughest of the five Power 5 championship games to figure out. Really, it's the only one that doesn't jump off the page with an obvious pick. When I close my eyes and imagine how this game goes, I can see either team having a big day. Ultimately, though, I am going to go against momentum and take Georgia. Auburn has shown those stumbles, and it is very tough to win twice in a row against an elite team like this one. I expect Georgia to run better and to play better defensively than they did last time. And I don't entirely trust this Auburn team to be at full intensity after that Alabama win. It's a very close game. Very close. And in cases like that, betting on the better coach and getting points to do so doesn't seem like a bad idea at all. Georgia is the pick.
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