SEC Betting Preview: Georgia Bulldogs at Tennessee Volunteers

Georgia Bulldogs at Tennessee Volunteers
Neyland Stadium – Knoxville, Tennessee
Saturday, October 8, 2011, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Opening Line: Georgia -1
Current Line: Georgia -3
Opening Total: 53
Current Total: 55
Opening Money Line: Georgia -110 / Tennessee -110
Current Money Line: Georgia -145 / Tennessee +125

Tennessee hosts Georgia in SEC actions Saturday night. Georgia opened as a 1 point favorite but have been bet up to -3.

Longtime SEC rivals Georgia and Tennessee meet for the 41st time Saturday in Knoxville. Tennessee leads the series 21-17-2, including 11-8-1 in Knoxville. Georgia has won 7 of the last 11 and 4 straight including 41-14 last year in Athens. This year Georgia is 3-2 overall and 2-1 in the SEC under coach Mark Richt, while Tennessee is 3-1 overall and 0-1 in the SEC under coach Derek Dooley. This game is of significance because Derek Dooley is coaching against the school where his father Vince had so much success as the long time coach of the Bulldogs. Georgia has rebounded from and 0-2 start with losses to Boise St 35-21 and at home against South Carolina 45-42 to win 3 straight games at home versus Coastal Carolina 59-0, at Ole Miss 27-13, and last week at home against Mississippi St 24-10. Tennessee has easy home wins over Montana 42-16, Cincinnati 45-23, and last week versus Buffalo 41-10. The only loss came at Florida 33-23.

Last week, Georgia hosted Mississippi St. Georgia jumped out to a 21-3 lead at halftime, and cruised to a 24-10 win to cover the 7 point college football betting line. Georgia was smothering on defense allowing only 213 total yards, including 56 rushing yards and 13 first downs. Georgia did not allow an offensive touchdown as Mississippi St scored their touchdown on a 72 yard interception return. In fact, both schools had 3 turnovers and 8 penalties. Georgia only had 315 total yards themselves, including 155 rushing yards, and 20 first downs. Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray threw for 160 yards, 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Running back Isaiah Crowell had 104 yards rushing on 22 carries.

Georgia is averaging 413.8 yards and 34.6 points a game. The Bulldogs have a balanced attack averaging 237.6 passing yards and 176.2 rushing yards a game. Georgia has 9 turnovers and has allowed 13 sacks this season. Georgia is 34/85 on third and fourth down conversions, and 15/19 scoring in the red zone with 12 touchdowns. Georgia is allowing  258.6 yards and 20.6 points a game. The Bulldogs have a top ten pass defense allowing just 151.6 yards a game. The Bulldogs have forced 11 turnovers and 10 sacks this season Georgia opponents are 21/78 on third and fourth down conversions, and 8/9 scoring in the red zone with 7 touchdowns.

Murray is 83/135 passing with 1,100 yards, 13 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions this season. Crowell has 99 carries, 515 yards, and 2 touchdowns, along with 3 catches, 52 yards and a touchdown catch. Back-up Carlton Thomas returns from a one game suspension for violating team rules. Thomas has 20 carries 108 yards, and a touchdown. Receiver Rantavious Wooten is doubtful with a concussion. Malcolm Mitchell is the leading receiver for the Bulldogs with 22 catches for 312 yards, and 3 touchdowns, along with 2 carries for 19 yards. Orson Charles has 16 catches, 256 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Tavarres King has 12 catches, 138 yards, and 3 scores. Kicker Blair Walsh is 21/21 on extra points and 6/12 on field goals with a long of 56 yards. Besides the injuries to the backs and receivers, the Bulldogs also have three players on the offensive line that are listed as questionable or out and three defensive players as well.

Last week, Tennessee jumped out to a 14-0 lead early against Buffalo and walked to an easy 41-10 victory and cover the 28.5 point spread. Tennessee had 541 including 199 rushing yards. Volunteer quarterback Tyler Bray threw for 342 yards and 4 touchdown passes. Receiver Da’Rick Rogers had 7 catches for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns. DeAnthony Arnett also caught 2 touchdown passes. Running back Tauren Poole had 101 yards on 17 carries. Buffalo only had 264 total yards including just 116 passing yards and  10 first downs in the loss. Tennessee turned the ball over twice.

Tennessee is averaging 447.5 yards a game and 37.8points a game. The Volunteers are averaging 336.5 passing yards a game. They have allowed 7 sacks and have 6 turnovers. Tennessee has 14 fumbles but has recovered 10 of them. They are 38/63 on third and fourth down conversions this season, and 20/22 scoring in the red zone with 16 touchdowns. The Volunteers are allowing 338.2 total yards and 20.5 points a game this season. Tennessee is allowing 198.5 passing yards a game. Tennessee has forced 5 turnovers and 6 sacks this season. Volunteer opponents are 20/61 on third and fourth down conversions and 9/11 scoring in the red zone with 5 touchdowns.

Bray is 98/143 passing for 1,328 yards with 14 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Poole has 71 carries for 318 yards, and a touchdown, along with 5 catches for 68 yards. Marlin Lane has 30 carries for 88 yards and 2 touchdowns, and he also has 6 catches for 57 yards and 2 touchdowns. R3eceiver Da’Rick Rogers has 27 catches, 442 yards and 6 touchdowns.  Receiver Justin Hunter has 17 catches for 314 yards and 2 scores.  Kicker Michael Palardy is 19/19 on extra points and 4/6 on field goals with a long of 37 yards. Three Volunteer defensive players are out for this game, DL Stephen Fowlkes (academics), DB Naz Oliver (wrist), and linebacker Herman Lathers (ankle).

Tennessee is 2-0-2 against the spread this season and the total is 3-1. Georgia is 3-2 ATS this year and the total is also 3-2. The last 6 games in this series have been decided by 12 points or more and the last 2 have gone over the total. Georgia is 0-6 ATS, when the spread is 3 points or less on either side, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 October games, 7-2 ATS in their last 9 as a favorite, and 5-16 ATS versus teams with winning records. Tennessee is 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 conference games, 6-0-1 in the last 7 as an underdog of  3 points or less, 5-1-1 in the last 7 following a straight up win, 4-1-1 at home, and following a cover, 6-2 in the last 8 October games, 2-6-1 as an underdog, including 1-5 at home.

This should be a great game between two teams that aren’t quite at the level of the powerhouse teams in the conference, but still have lots of talent. They are both lucky to play in the far weaker SEC East rather than the West that currently has 4 top 15 teams including the #1 and #2 teams in the AP poll LSU and Alabama. I don’t see a lot of points scored between Tennessee and Georgia as both are good defensive teams, especially Georgia who has one of the top 10 defenses in the nation.

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