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SEC Football Pick
Tennessee visits Georgia this Saturday in an SEC clash that can be seen on CBS-TV at 3:30 pm est. Georgia opened hefty -14 point favorite in this game at 5 Dimes and Betonline and has quickly been bet down to -13, which is a move we agree with. The betting trends at sportsbook.ag show the early action as being fairly balanced with a slight edge to the Vols, which is surprising when you consider how much the public loved big favs.
Two weeks ago, Tennessee was looking good. Already 2-0, beating SEC rival Florida 20-13 late in the third quarter. They were thinking they were back to relevance. Not so fast, as the Gators scored 24 straight points and won 37-20. Tennessee followed that loss up with a non-impressive 47-26 win over Akron. Now they get to travel to Georgia to play the No. 5 team in the country. This is a team that handled Missouri on the road and just last week, destroyed Vanderbilt 48-3. That was the same Vandy team that fought with South Carolina (No.6) to a 17-13 loss. There was a small window when things were looking up for the Volunteers. That window is now gone.
In last year's game, Georgia went to Knoxville and won 20-12, covering the 2.5 point spread. The Bulldogs have won and covered two straight games against Tennessee. Prior to that, the Volunteers were 4-0 ATS. This is a very different situation as Georgia is set to be bigger favorites than they have been in the past 10 years against Tennessee.
Both teams are slightly different from a year ago. While a lot of the personnel are the same, each team has improved. Tyler Bray and Aaron Murray are the prime examples. Both quarterbacks are in their junior year and are playing the best football of their careers.
Starting in Tennessee, Bray has tossed for 1,301 yards and 12 TDs. Remember, that's only through four games. Bray has been extremely efficient finding speedsters Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson with regularity. The two have combined for 669 receiving yards and six TDs. They will be high on Georgia's radar. Even with all of the passing numbers, the Volunteers still have a solid running game. In fact, they have actually rushed the ball only one less time than they have thrown it. Rajion Neal has carried the ball 80 times for 356 yards and three TDs.
Georgia's toughest defensive task so far came at Missouri where they were just one-point favorites. They ended up winning by 21 points. In that win, they bottled up Missouri's rushing attack and contained James Franklin for the most part. They'll need to do the same against Bray and Neal.
Offensively, Georgia has been stout. While Murray is a solid QB, the Bulldogs have actually ran the ball 54 more times than passed it. Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall share the backfield and each have excelled. Gurley has 406 rushing yards and six TDs while Marshall has 264 and three TDs. With that rushing presence along with Murray, they are deadly. Murray has 1,092 yards and 10 TDs on the year. The Bulldogs are led by three studs in the receiving game. Michael Bennett, Tavarres King and Marlon Brown all have at least 14 catches, 264 yards and two TDs. The Volunteers gave up 336 rushing yards and 219 passing yards to Florida. It will be a wonder how they will keep up on the road in Athens.
Most of the numbers are in Georgia's favor in this game. Tennessee is 1-7-1 ATS in their last nine conference games. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 conference games. In addition, the over has hit five times in the Volunteers last six games and six straight times for Georgia.
Georgia has scored 41+ each time out this year. Impressive until you look and see that it was Buffalo, Missouri, Florida Atlantic and Vandy. They gave up 20+ 3 times and the Missouri win was largely due to turnovers. Those outcomes, Georgia scoring 41+, are a big reason behind the -14 point spread here. But what's being overlooked is that Tennessee also blasted a couple of cupcakes and the beat NC State and had Florida on the ropes into the 3rd quarter.
Georgia won 20-12 last year but Tennessee closed the gap a bit, having lost 41-14 the year prior. This series has been a back and forth series. It's not as if one program has been better than the other and has dominated. In fact, Tennessee has won 6 of their last 10 games at Georgia. Both teams are loaded with players that were on the field a year ago when these two met. We think the line is a tad inflated here due to the perception that Georgia is a monster. But again, look at who they played. Tennessee +13 (would love to have +14 or better which we missed. Perhaps it will come back later in the week)
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