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Georgia

vs.

South Carolina

SEC Football Pick

10/6/12

The game of the week pits two SEC East schools against each other and it could not be any closer. No. 5 Georgia has one of the best offenses in the country scoring 48.2 points per game led by an all-around passing and rushing attack. No. 6 South Carolina bases their game on their defense which gives up just 11.2 points per game. The current line at betonline and 5 Dimes is South Carolina -2, with 65% of the early betting action at sportsbook.ag coming in on the Georgia Side.

A close game is nothing new in this rivalry though. The past seven lines between these teams has been seven points or less. In five of their past eight games, the winning team won by four points or fewer. While Georgia has won seven of the last 10 games, South Carolina has actually taken three of the past five. Even then, the Gamecocks are 6-1-1 against the spread in the past eight meetings and that last ATS loss was back in 2006.

Behind their stout defense, South Carolina has covered four straight games. The most points they have given up at home this year is 10 points and that was against East Carolina and Missouri. They haven't faced a top offense like Georgia yet, so it will be interesting to see how they handle one. You can't forget about their offense either led by quarterback Connor Shaw. He has a mere 571 passing yards (and 203 rushing yards) and five TDs this year due to injury, but he has also completed 50 of his 64 pass attempts. At his disposal is a trio of speedy WRs all listed at under 5'9". His main red zone is tight end Rory Anderson at 6'5" who has three TDs on the year. Coming out of the backfield is Marcus Lattimore, possibly the most important piece to the Gamecocks offense. Lattimore has 440 rushing yards and eight TDs and is also used frequently in the passing game with his 16 receptions (most on the team).

The Bulldog defense will have to step up after giving up 44 points to Tennessee last week and letting the Volunteers hang around. It will be tough though, as Georgia has given up at least 197 rushing yards to every SEC opponent so far including Missouri, Vandy and Tennessee. If they can't stop Lattimore, we could be in for another high-scoring battle.

While their big question is on defense, it may not matter if the Georgia offense can put up 51 points again. Aaron Murray is completing 68 percent of his passes for 1370 yards and 12 touchdowns. His numbers don't stand off the page like a Geno Smith, but they don't have to because of a solid ground game. Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall both average nearly eight yards per carry. That says a whole lot in itself but the two have also combined for 14 TDs. The receiving core is much different than that of the Gamecocks as all of Bulldogs starting receivers are six foot and taller. Michael Bennett, Tavarres King and Marlon Brown have combined for 56 grabs, 916 yards 10 TDs. This is what you call a complete attack.

When these two hook up, it's either a defensive battle or a shootout. Last year it was 45-42 South Carolina. The year before it was 17-6, Gamecocks on top. 2009 it was 41-37 Georgia and the year before that 14-7, also with Georgia on top. So, what will it be this year?

We're not thrilled with Steve Spurrier at South Carolina. He seems to have let us down over the years in big spots. Not sure what it will take for us to learn our lesson, but here we go again. We like South Carolina here. It would be easy to take the Vandy games and come to the conclusion that Georgia might be the better team. The Gamecocks struggled with Vandy while Georgia blew their doors off. The other common opponent was Missouri. SC beat Missouri 31-10, while Georgia gave up 10 more points to Mizu but managed to score 10 more than SC in a 41-20 win.

But if you take the whole schedule into consideration, you find that South Carolina played a slightly more difficult schedule and while both teams have been able to move the ball offensively, it's South Carolina that has taken it up a notch on defense. Both teams have very good offensive yards per point numbers of 11. That's spectacular. Defensively, Georgia weighs in with a decent 16.8, but South Carolina has a defensive ypp number of 25.7, good for 8th best in the country. (offensively these teams are 16th and 17th in the nation).

Our score prediction model has South Carolina on top here, 32-18. While we don't rely on that model, it is in line with the way we see this game. We think the difference in this one is the South Carolina defense in conjunction with the home field advantage. At anything less than a field goal, we're just being asked to pick a straight up winner. There are instances over the years of Georgia winning 4 in a row or 5 in a row in this series. But going back to 1992, the most games SC has won in a row is two. That 3rd in a row has been hard to come by, but we think they break through and get it this year. South Carolina -2

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