College Football Picks Week 1: Buffalo Bulls vs. Georgia Bulldogs

Buffalo Bulls at No. 6 Georgia Bulldogs
Saturday, 9/1/12, 12:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN Gameplan
Opening Point Spread:  Georgia -37.5
Current Betting Line:  Georgia -37.5
Opening Total:  52.5
Current Total:  53.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Georgia Bulldogs have some lofty goals this season

Buffalo will open the 2012 campaign and its 99th season of football on Saturday at Sanford Stadium, as it gets set to face its highest-ranked opponent since 2006.  The Bulls have been outscored 121-38 in their three losses to current SEC members, which doesn’t translate into starting a new season in the win column.  It’s important to note that the team’s strength could be the offensive line, returning five players who started in at least six games in 2011.  Buffalo s 3-9 as a road underdog the last two seasons.

The Bulls improved on the offensive end in a major way last year, averaging eight points more per game, while averaging 68 yards per game more than the 2010 campaign.  Running back Branden Oliver is a player to watch, running for a school-record 1,395 yards and hitting pay dirt 13 times.  On the other side of the football, Buffalo will be missing first-team Mid-American Conference linebacker Khalil Mack, who is suspended one game after violating an unspecified team rule.

Georgia has won 13 of its last 15 seasons openers, including a 9-2 mark under head coach Mark Richt.  Sports bettors will take notice that the Bulldogs have won all nine such games when playing in front of the home fans under his direction.  During the 2011 season, the program went on a 10-game win streak, which was its longest since 1982.  Richt has thrived in non-conference play since arriving in Athens, posting a 44-8 record in that situation.  Georgia is 3-0 ATS as a favorite of 31 or more points the last two years.

The Bulldogs will be led under center by Aaron Murray for a third straight year, as the junior is the Southeastern Conference’s leading active player in total offensive yards and touchdown passes.  “We want to score 40 or 50 points or more per game,” commented Murray.  “That’s our goal.”  Georgia should run the table if that occurs, considering its defense is one of the best units in the country.  Nine of the 11 starters return, including 12 of the 14 leading tacklers.

Sports bettors will likely back the Bulldogs due to their 8-3 ATS mark as a home favorite,  while the Bulls are 3-9 ATS on the road.

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