NCAA Football Weekly Picks: Kentucky Wildcats at (7) Georgia Bulldogs

Kentucky at Georgia
Time: 2:30 CT
Spread: UGA -21.5
Total: 50.5

Odds c/o 5dimes

The No. 7 ranked Georgia Bulldogs suffered its first loss of the season last week when it fell 40-17 to then-No. 10 Auburn. Georgia will host Kentucky this week at 2:30 (CT) on CBS as it tries to get back on track as 21.5-point favorites according to college football oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.

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Georgia began its season with nine consecutive victories, but Auburn proved too much last week. The Tigers got 214 passing yards from starting quarterback Jarrett Stidham and Kerryon Johnson rushed for 167 yards on 32 carries as Auburn amassed nearly 500 total yards in the game.

Jake Fromm threw 13 of 28 for 184 yards and a TD for the Bulldogs, but it got precious little from its backfield. Georgia managed just 46 rushing yards in the game, and leading back Nick Chubb had just 27 yards on 11 carries, though he did score a TD. Auburn had five tackles for loss and four sacks in a rather dominant defensive performance, that largely caught the then-No. 1 ranked Bulldogs off guard. Of course, Georgia can still push to the BCS playoffs, but it was the prohibitive favorites for a No. 1 seed prior to last week’s loss.

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Fromm has been very good at quarterback this season, though, despite last week’s mediocre showing. He has 1,643 yards on 60.7 percent passing and 9.23 yards per pass attempt. He has thrown 16 TD passes and just four interceptions, while racking up a passer rating of 163.4. Chubb, too, has typically been very good. He has 894 yards on 151 rush attempts, good for 5.9 yards per carry and a team-high 10 rushing TDs. Sony Michel has rushed for 731 yards on 99 carries (7.4 yards per) with nine TDs.

The Bulldogs have 27 rushing TDs on the year and have scored 16 via the pass. Terry Godwin and Javon Wins both have 476 and 471 yards respectively, and have scored nine TDs between them. Georgia has the No. 10 ranked rush offense in the nation in generating 256 yards per game, while it also maintains the nation’s fifth-best scoring defense, allowing just 14.5 points per game. It is the stuff of contention.

Kentucky is 7-3 and 4-3 in SEC play, and it knocked off Vanderbilt 44-21 last week. The Wildcats have become a more formidable football program, but it is outclassed this week. Can UK keep it close against Georgia, or will the 21.5-point spread hold rather true? Considering Kentucky is on the road, it is a tough wager to bet on it covering the spread. Kentucky is 3-1 on the road this season, and it won at Vandy last week, but Georgia is a much tougher team and national contender.

Kentucky ranks No. 93 in passing yards at 192.5 per game, while ranking No. 60 in rushing offense with 168.5 yard per game. It scores 27.9 per game (no. 71) while surrendering 25.7 per contest (no. 58). Stephen Johnson has thrown for 1,8000 yards at a 62.8 percent clip with 10 TD passes and four interceptions, and Benny Snell Jr. has been dominant in the backfield.

A strong runner, Snell has 1,013 yards on 205 rush attempts with 15 TDs on the year. Leading wide receiver Garrett Johnson has 464 yards on 42 catches with two TDs, and No. 2 WR CJ Conrad leads the team with four receiving TDs. Johnson also has rushed 79 times for 348 yards, proving a valuable dual-threat back when he is not catching passes.

The Wildcats have some offensive threats and a strong team, but it is still middle-of-the-pack talent-wise in the rich SEC. Kentucky could keep this closer, but it is tough to make that wager given that they are on the road in what is a game of colossal importance for the Bulldogs.

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