SEC Championship Game Picks: Georgia vs. LSU
Georgia Bulldogs vs. LSU Tigers, Saturday December 7, 4 p.m. ET
Georgia vs. LSU Playoff Implications
At this point, it's not about whether the SEC is going to have a playoff team. That's a stone-cold lock. It's about whether they can have two. And that comes down to Georgia in this game. If LSU wins, then they are in as a top two seed, and Georgia is out. But if Georgia wins, then they would be in, and LSU would be very tough to exclude as a one-loss team with a quality schedule and a lot of style points amassed along the way. The only risk for LSU is if they were to get absolutely humiliated in this game while Utah and/or the Big 12 champion looked stunningly dominant. It feels like there is little risk of that , though, so LSU is in. And Georgia completely controls their own destiny.
College Football Predictions: Georgia vs. LSU Odds and Picks
LSU comes into this game with the edge in several ways - they are the favorite , the overwhelming public choice, and they have the hotter quarterback. But it is Georgia who carries a fairly significant edge in experience on this stage. Owing to the ridiculous divisional imbalance in the SEC, Georgia is making their third straight appearance in the conference championship game, while LSU has not been here since 2011. But experience isn't everything, and there is certainly no shortage of talent in this matchup. And the stakes couldn't be higher - especially for Georgia, who faces a do-or-die date with destiny.
Georgia vs. LSU Betting Storylines
There are all sorts of interesting aspects to this matchup. All eyes are going to be on runaway Heisman favorite Joe Burrow, who has gone from unremarkable last season to unstoppable this year. He's on track to be the top pick in the NFL Draft if a QB-needy team is picking, and this is another chance for him to make a statement. He's not the part of the LSU offense that I am most interested in at this point, though. That honor belongs to running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and not just because that is one heck of a name. Edwards-Helaire, like Burrow, was fine last year, but he didn't set the world on fire. And, unlike Burrow, he wasn't incredible out of the gate this year, either. In the last month or so, though, he has really taken things to an entirely different level. It has been impressive to watch. He has rushed for 686 yards and eight touchdowns in his last five games. And he isn't afraid of pressure, either - he scored three times against Alabama. He's as hot and effective as a back can be right now. And he'll run into a Georgia front seven that is allowing a ridiculously skimpy 68.5 yards per game. A couple of weeks ago, Texas A&M had to settle for a truly pathetic rushing total of -2 yards. If the Bulldogs can keep up their stout defensive ways, then it will rest on the shoulders of Joe Burrow to win this game. He has given us no reason to believe he is not up to that and has elevated his game another level the last month, but things are certainly easier for him when he has the threat of a balanced offense to scare Georgia with.
Jake Fromm isn't the quarterback that Burrow is, and he doesn't have the weapons to work with that Burrow does. LSU has two receivers over 1,000 yards this year. Georgia's leading receiver, George Pickens, has just 498 yards. The Georgia passing attack suffered another blow with the news that Lawrence Cager, the only other receiver with more than 300 yards on the season, is expected to miss the game with an ankle injury. LSU has a stout secondary, and it will be a real challenge for Fromm to make anything happen through the air without weapons. That puts more pressure on the Georgia defense, but then their defense against the LSU offense is what this matchup has always been all about, anyway.
Georgia vs. LSU Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with LSU favored by a touchdown. It has bounced around a fair bit since then, but as I write you can again find it at seven points. Nearly three-quarters of all bets have come in on the Tigers at this point, so we could certainly see some more movement. If it does sit on the key number of seven until gametime, we know that sharp money is hitting the Bulldogs consistently. The total opened at 55.5 and has fallen by a single point to date.
The Bulldogs are 5-0 ATS in both their last five games in December and their last five as an underdog. They are 8-1 ATS in their last nine neutral-site games. The Tigers are 8-3-1 ATS in their last 12 games in December and 4-1 ATS in their last five neutral-site games. The underdog is 3-1-1 ATS in the last five meetings between these teams. The over is 7-1 in the last eight meetings.
Georgia vs. LSU Predictions and Picks
This is the best game of championship weekend and also the toughest to call. Georgia is a stout defense that is worthy of all sorts of respect. But while they haven't stumbled yet, or even shown hints of mortality, they also haven't played an offense anything like this one. LSU is dialed in with the ball, and they are not afraid of anything. If I'm being honest, I don't think that this number is that playable. There is no fun in that, though, is if it comes down to it, I'm going to bet on the superhuman offense against the superhuman defense. LSU is the pick against the spread.
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