Free Expert NCAA Football Picks: Georgia Bulldogs at South Carolina Gamecocks Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 9/11/2014
Georgia Bulldogs at South Carolina Gamecocks, Saturday Sept. 13, 3:30 p.m. ET
This game shapes up as just what it was expected to be - the favorite to win the SEC East facing off against a dangerous rival that might not be on the same level. The only problem is that that favorite was expected to be South Carolina, yet after getting manhandled by Texas A&M in their conference opener they have a lot left to prove. Georgia, meanwhile, humiliated a Clemson team that a lot of people expected to win, and that has elevated them from interesting to elite in the eyes of many.
Now Georgia is the one that people think are in control, and South Carolina is fighting for their lives. That, of course, is just about as accurate as most things the public latches on to - not very. The truth is that the winner will have a big edge in the division - regardless of which team it is. Georgia would be two wins up on what is likely their biggest divisional rival if they won, but South Carolina would have just as many conference losses as Georgia with a win, along with one more conference win and that crucial heads-up win. While Georgia is in better shape in terms of a CFB Playoff berth, then, in terms of the division it's still a war - one in which South Carolina is very much alive and playing at home.
Georgia at South Carolina Betting Storylines
The biggest star in this series would have been Jadeveon Clowney last year, but now that he is in the NFL (and injured already) that honor falls to Georgia running back Todd Gurley. Gurley almost single-handedly beat Clemson, amassing 293 all-purpose yards - not surprisingly a school record. That was big in and of itself, but it was especially important because Georgia QB Hutson Mason isn't exactly experienced. With Gurley playing so well it takes so much pressure off of Mason, and that only makes it easier for the QB to play at a high level. Needless to say, South Carolina needs to find a way to contain Gurley. They have been better against the run than the pass this year, but they will have to be much better than they have been so far to stay out of trouble here - and to avoid inflating Gurley's Heisman campaign further. It's the key matchup in the game.
While Mason is not a huge passing threat at this point - he had just 131 yards against Clemson - a game against the Gamecocks may be just what he needs to build his confidence and pad his stats. In the opener they gave up 511 yards to Kenny Hill in his first-ever college start. Compared to that the second game was a big improvement, but giving up 321 yards in the air against East Carolina is hardly cause for celebration - at least not in the dozen years since David Garrard moved on to the NFL. There are some issues and concerns on offense for the Gamecocks, too - QB Dylan Thompson, for example, has some experience, but he hardly inspires jubilation - but it is their defensive effort here that will make or break the game for them.
Georgia has been just terrible at Williams-Brice Stadium over the years. In fact, it has been 20 years since they scored more than 20 points in a game there. Steve Spurrier has always enjoyed playing Georgia regardless of where it happens. His 15-6 record against the Bulldogs has him tied for the all-time lead for victories against the program. Keep in mind, though, that he has been just 4-5 against them at South Carolina. Another nugget for you long-term stat guys - this is the third time in the last four seasons that Georgia has played two Top-25 opponents in a row to start a season, and they have yet to win both games.
Georgia Bulldogs at South Carolina Gamecocks NCAA Football Odds and Betting Trends
The public support is overwhelmingly behind the Bulldogs in this one, with more than 85 percent of all bets having been on Georgia. Given the overwhelming support, the fact that the line has only moved from the opening of five points to 5.5 or six now, depending on the source, suggests that at least some of the sharp money has landed on the Gamecocks. The total sits at 60 points.
South Carolina is 5-1 ATS in their last six against teams with winning records but 0-4 ATS in their last four September games. The last seven times these teams have played at South Carolina they have gone "under" the total. The Bulldogs are just 1-5-1 ATS in the last seven meetings between the teams. Favorites have covered the last four spreads.
Georgia Bulldogs at South Carolina Gamecocks Free NCAA Football Predictions and Picks
I am uncomfortable with the idea of ever trusting Georgia because they always find a way to disappoint when they should be shining. With the line at less than a touchdown, though, I can't avoid backing the Bulldogs. Their offense has been effective, and their defense has been sound. They are confident, and they have had a week off to prepare fully for this game. South Carolina has had issues this year - defensively, with offensive consistency, with confidence, and with game planning among others. The location of the game is a concern but not enough to swing the decision. Georgia is the play.
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