SEC Betting Picks: Georgia Bulldogs at Missouri Tigers

#7 Georgia Bulldogs at Missouri Tigers
Saturday, September 8, 2012, 7:45 Eastern, TV: ESPN2

Faurot Field – Columbia, Missouri
Opening Line: Georgia -3
Current Line: Georgia -1 1/2
Opening Total: 54
Current Total: 55
Opening Money Line: Georgia -140 / Missouri +120
Current Money Line: Georgia -125 / Missouri +105

Georgia is a slight favorite on the road at Missouri Saturday. It is the first ever SEC game for Missouri after more than a century in the Big 8/12.

Missouri was in the Big 8/12 from 1907 until last year. Now the Tigers move from the defense optional Big 12 conference to the defense mandatory SEC along with Texas A&M. Both the Tigers and Aggies play their first ever SEC games Saturday at home against tough opponents. Texas A&M hosts Florida, and Missouri hosts the #7 Georgia Bulldogs Saturday night.

Georgia and Missouri have only played once in history, but will play every year since they are now in the same conference and division. The Bulldogs beat the Tigers 14-0 in the 1960 Orange Bowl.

Georgia is coached by Mark Richt. The Bulldogs opened at home last week against Buffalo. Georgia was a 38 point favorite and the total was 55. The Bulldogs jumped out to an early 7-0 lead, but Buffalo scored a touchdown shortly thereafter. The Bulls missed the extra point. Todd Gurley returned the kickoff 100 yards for the Bulldogs, the first of 17 unanswered points for the Bulldogs to expand the lead to 24-6. The Bulls scored 10 points in the last 2 minutes of the first half to pull withing 24-16 at halftime. The Bulldogs scored 21 unanswered points to open the second half and had a chance to cover the 38 point spread. Buffalo scored a late touchdown to make the final 45-23.

Buffalo gained 347 yards including 199 rushing yards. Neither team had a turnover. Georgia was playing without two starters on defense, linebacker Chase Vasser and cornerback Sanders Commings were suspended following    off-season arrests for 2 games. It was announced Friday that two other starters LB Alec Ogletree and safety Bacarri Rambo were also suspended and will miss the Missouri game along with Vasser and Commings.

Georgia gained 485 total yards against Buffalo including 227 rushing yards. Quarterback Aaron Murray was 15 for 26 passing for 258 yards with 3 touchdowns. In addition to the kickoff return, Gurley also had 8 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown. Tavarres King had 6 catches for 117 yards, including a 63 yard touchdown catch from Murray. Michael Bennett had 5 catches, 76 yards and a touchdown. Rantavious Wooten also caught a 38 yard touchdown pass.

Missouri is coached by Gary Pinkel. The Tigers opened at home last week against cupcake Southeast Louisiana. The game was such a mismatch, that neither Vegas or the offshores posted a line on the game. The Tigers scored 28 points in the first quarter, including 2 defensive touchdowns. SE Louisiana kicked a field goal as time expired  in the second quarter to make it 28-3 at halftime. Missouri scored 34 unanswered points to open the second half highlighted by two 70 plus yard punt returns for touchdowns by Marcus Murphy. The Lions scored a late touchdown to make the final score 62-10.

The Lions had 223 total yards, including just 58 rushing yards. Missouri forced 4 SELU turnovers, and didn’t have any turnovers themselves.

The Tigers racked up 452 total yards including 261 rushing yards. Quarterback James Franklin was 13 for 21 passing for 131 yards and a touchdown, along with 6 carries for 39 yards. Back-up quarterback Corbin Berkstresser threw a touchdown pass and also ran for a touchdown in mop-up duty. Running back Kendial Lawrence had 10 carries, 121 yards and 2 touchdowns, including a 76 yard scamper in the first quarter. Six Tiger receivers had at least 19 receiving yards, but none had more than 43 yards or 3 catches.

Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson tried to start a trash talking war by saying Georgia plays “old man football.” The Bulldogs didn’t react publicly but you know they will use it as motivation.

Georgia is 10-1-1 ATS after rushing for over 200 yards, 7-3 after a straight up win, 5-11 against teams with winning records. 2-6 in September, 1-4 overall, and 1-5 on fieldturf.

Missouri is 4-0 ATS in conference games, 4-1 in September, 5-2 after gaining more than 450 yards, 7-3 after allowing less than 20 points, 3-7 after allowing less than 275 yards, 3-8 on fieldturf, and 1-4 after a straight up win.

Besides the suspensions, Georgia also has several players on defense listed as questionable with various injuries. The Bulldogs gave up 199 rushing yards to Buffalo last week, and could struggle to stop Missouri’s Franklin and Lawrence on the ground. Missouri could also struggle to stop dynamic Georgia freshman Gurley. I think Georgia escapes with a close victory, but it will be a high scoring affair.

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