Expert College Football Picks: Georgia at South Carolina Odds and Predictions
Georgia Bulldogs at South Carolina Gamecocks, Saturday Sept. 8, 3:30 p.m. ET
Georgia and South Carolina are getting a jump on conference play, and both have a whole lot to prove. Georgia comes into the game ranked fourth in the country and has a chance here to prove that they are deserving of that ranking against a decent opponent. And, with an upset, South Carolina could really show that this coaching staff is making progress and the team isn't going to be an also-ran forever.
And the challenge for bettors is that we don't really know where either team is at. They have both played a game already, but they were blowouts against outmatched foes, so they prove nothing other than that the teams are capable of doing what they are supposed to do. It would be easy to overstate the significance of a game this early in the season, but this game has a huge impact on the SEC East. A South Carolina win would blow the division wide open, while Georgia would take a big step forward with a win.
Georgia at South Carolina Betting Storylines
Georgia was a playoff team last year in just Kirby Smart's second season with the team. Now they need to prove that it was no fluke. They took big hits through the draft on offense, losing both stud running backs - Nick Chubb and Sony Michel - among others, but there is a decent chance that they will be even better than they were. Jake Fromm is a year older and more experienced, so the game should slow down for him. And Cal transfer Demetris Robertson showed in the opener how fast and dangerous he can be. D'Andre Swift looked very much like the featured back he has to be. And the weapons are not in short supply. Georgia's offense is going to be dangerous. They have the power to make this one a shootout, and they will be well served to do so.
The question, then, is if South Carolina's offense can keep up. Jake Bentley is in his third season starting, but the only time he played Georgia, last season, he looked lousy. He completed 22 of his 29 passes last week against Coastal Carolina, though, so he is obviously dialed in and comfortable - albeit against a different class of opponent. He has no shortage of tools to work with, either - not quite like Georgia has but more than enough to work with. Both quarterbacks line up against pretty good defenses, but both should be able to move the ball. This one will be fun.
This game is an interesting example of why college football can be challenging to handicap early in the season. Last year Georgia was ahead of schedule with their success, and at least a contributing factor to that was the overall weakness of the SEC East - including this South Carolina team. The division has been strengthened in the offseason, though, with South Carolina probably leading the way. And while Georgia remains the clear class of the group, their advantage probably isn't as big, and the division won't be as soft for them. Things change so much in college football that we can't rely on the past to judge the future nearly as much as we can in other sports, and that makes an early-season contest like this one very challenging.
Georgia at South Carolina Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Georgia favored by nine points. That has since climbed to 10 , but with action pretty evenly split between the teams we shouldn't see significant future movement without some breaking news. The total opened at 54 and has jumped up to 56.5 in early action.
Georgia comes in with a three-game winning streak in the series and has a massive 50-18-2 edge overall. The Bulldogs are 17-5 ATS in their last 22 road games and 9-3 ATS in their last 12 conference games. They are 5-1 ATS in their last six games overall. South Carolina is 6-2-2 ATS in their last 10 games overall and 7-1-3 ATS in their last 11 conference games.
Georgia at South Carolina Predictions and Picks
I like Georgia, but I suspect that last year was a little bit flattering for them. And while I don't think South Carolina is a serious contender in any way, they are going to be respectable on both sides of the ball, and they should take a real step forward this season. Georgia is the better team, and they should win it, but they are giving up too many points for my eyes. South Carolina getting 10 points at home is the play here.
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