Georgia Bulldogs Odds to win the College Football National Championship with Expert Betting Predictions
There was a huge change last year in Athens as Mark Richt moved on after 15 years in charge - despite winning 10 games in his last season - and Kirby Smart took over as head coach. The results weren't terrible, but they weren't hugely inspiring, either. That was to be expected, though - growing pains are inevitable after a long tenure for any coach, and that's even truer when the new coach is an outsider. This year, then, will serve as a much bigger indication of how much progress Smart is making and how soon he will have this team humming along at full steam. It's a big year for the Bulldogs.
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2016 in a Nutshell
Things started out well, beating a ranked North Carolina squad in the opener and then winning two more. But then things went downhill in a hurry when they lost four of five. Three of the losses were to ranked teams, and two were on the road, so that was fine. Losing to Vanderbilt at home was far from ideal, though. They then won three in a row, capped by a win over then highly-overrated No. 8 Auburn. They lost their finale to Georgia Tech at home in one that really had to sting, but they bounced back to beat TCU in their bowl game. So, in the end they were 8-5. That's hardly worth crying about, but it also isn't what it needs to be for a program like this one - especially given the ugly nature of at least two of the losses.
Key Additions and Departures
Georgia had just one player drafted last year - receiver Isaiah McKenzie went in the fifth round. That's not what is expected from a program like this, obviously. Of course, there are big positives to that. Their Top 20 offense returns intact and should be better under the watchful eye of defensive savant Smart. The offense was pretty terrible last year, though, and now they are faced with replacing their best playmaker in McKenzie as well as three offensive linemen. Jacob Eason is in his second year at QB, though, and should return, and the team returns two pretty strong running backs. Jim Chaney is back as offensive coordinator for a second year, so hopefully his continuity means that the team is better. They would struggle to be worse.
Smart landed a Top 3 class in his first full year of running the show, so you can't complain about that. They have always recruited well, and Smart has added a big haul of blue chips to keep the cupboard stocked. Some of those youngsters could see time right away on offense.
Georgia Bulldogs Schedule Analysis
This team has a legitimate look at 7-0 out of the gate - or 6-1 at least. They open against a hopeless Appalachian State squad then travel to a very vulnerable Notre Dame team before playing another outmatched foe in Samford. Of the next four games, only a trip to Tennessee could be tough, and I'd take this defense in that one if it looks like it should. Game No. 8 is the big one - the annual tilt against Florida. This one could quite possibly decide the division. Trips to Auburn and Georgia Tech are the hurdles in the final four, but both could be manageable as well. If Smart has this team moving forward, and if he can make something work on the offensive line, then this is an almost perfect schedule for this team. It is easy enough that they could rack up the wins and almost cruise to a division title and perhaps a shot at Alabama in the SEC Championship for a spot in the big time. If the team has issues, though, the news is still good - the floor with a schedule like this is still at about where they were last year given the talent they have. Any time an SEC squad can avoid both Alabama and LSU they have to take advantage of it.
2017-18 Georgia Bulldogs Betting Odds and Trends
BetOnline has the Bulldogs at +3300 to win the national title, which places them in a group of teams behind a dozen top contenders. They are tied with Auburn at +500 to win the SEC, which makes them the second choice, but miles behind Alabama at -150. They are, by those odds, the clear favorite to win the SEC East. Georgia is favored by two touchdowns at home to Appalachian State in their opener - a number which reflects uncertainty about the offense as much as anything.
Bettors will be hoping for much better results from this squad than last year. They were a dismal 6-7 ATS - no money to be made long term on either side there. And they went "over" the total six times, and "under" seven times. This was a totally useless team from a betting perspective.
2017-18 Georgia Bulldogs Predictions and College Football Picks
I look for the Bulldogs to find enough competence offensively to win the SEC East. And I expect them to get thoroughly humiliated by Alabama in the SEC Championship. It will be a year of solid progress for Smart but also one that makes it clear that a whole lot of work is left to be done.
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