South Carolina Gamecocks at Georgia Bulldogs Expert Picks with Odds and Predictions
South Carolina Gamecocks at Georgia Bulldogs, Saturday Nov. 4, 3:30 p.m. ET
It seemed likely when Georgia hired Kirby Smart that they were going to have some success. If you had predicted, though, that just 20 games into his career with the Bulldogs they would be ranked second in the AP Poll, and first in the initial College Football Playoff rankings, it would have seemed hopelessly optimistic. But Mark Richt left him a lot of talent, he has added more, and he is getting everything out of what he has. He and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker have done a great job with this defense, and the team is positioned to run the table and set up an epic battle with Alabama in the SEC Championship Game - and perhaps a rematch a month later. But it won't be a cruise to glory for Georgia. South Carolina, Auburn and Georgia Tech all have issues, and Georgia is better than all of them, but the Bulldogs could easily trip up against any of the three if they aren't dialed in and completely focused. We will find out over the next month, starting here, if this team is what they have appeared to be.
South Carolina at Georgia Betting Storylines
In my eyes South Carolina is one of the more bizarre teams in the country. They don't do anything very well. Their offense is really underwhelming - and almost incompetent on the ground. The defense is pretty lousy and really struggles against the pass. There is a lot not to like. Yet they sit here already bowl eligible, and with a win here they would very much be alive for a division win and a date in the SEC Championship Game. It doesn't make much sense, and is - I guess - a testament to the fact that Will Muschamp actually can coach, even if he didn't show it in Florida. What is striking, and perplexing, is that the team has won six games while doing seemingly a different thing each time. That lousy defense shut down Tennessee when it really mattered and had three scores against Arkansas. They ran it well to beat Vanderbilt, and threw it to beat Louisiana Tech. They find ways to win, and they protect the ball well - two things not totally unrelated. They are going to have to be very versatile - and lucky - to beat Georgia, but I suppose they have a better chance of success than they would if all of their wins came in the same way.
Georgia is an interesting team in their own way as well. They are not anything close to a threat through the air - they rank 112th nationally in passing yards per game. Yet they are an elite running team; they are very efficient - especially in the red zone - and they are surprisingly explosive. Their approach is often the same - get out to a quick lead and let the stellar defense get to work. If they are able to do that here - and I see no reason to think that they won't - then it should be quite effective. South Carolina has not played a defense anything like this, and they don't have any particular edge. The price will not be attractive, but this game sets up as a very good spot for in-game betting. If Georgia gets the early lead and an early stop then you could comfortably bet them heavily.
South Carolina at Georgia Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Georgia favored somewhere between 23 and 25 points depending on the book, and it has widely settled on 24 in action so far . Action is split fairly evenly between the two teams at that price, so it is unlikely that we will see significant movement barring a significant development. The total opened at 45.5 and has fallen slightly to 44.
The Gamecocks are 2-0-2 ATS in their last four overall and 3-0-1 ATS in their last four on the road. The Bulldogs are 6-1 ATS in their last seven conference games and 4-1 ATS in their last five against teams with winning records. The favorite is 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings between these squads.
South Carolina at Georgia Predictions and Picks
I've tried to make this interesting and paint a case for South Carolina. I really have. But I'm not buying it. Georgia is just so much better, and the matchup works so well for them. I don't know that I am buying Georgia long term, but I can't avoid buying into them here. They are the pick here, but at this price I can't get too excited about the value.
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