SEC Betting Preview: Kentucky Wildcats at Georgia Bulldogs

Kentucky Wildcats at #14 Georgia Bulldogs
Sanford Stadium – Athens, Georgia
Saturday, November 19, 2011, 12:20 pm Eastern, TV: SEC Network, MSG, Altitude, ESPN game plan
Opening Line: Georgia 27 1/2
Current Line: Georgia -31
Opening Total: 48
Current Total: 49
Opening Money Line: Georgia -7000 / Kentucky +3000
Current Money Line: Georgia -10000 / Kentucky +4000

Georgia Bulldogs Football Preview
The Georgia Bulldogs can wrap up the SEC East title with a win at home over Kentucky. Georgia is a huge 31 point favorite in the game.

Georgia can clinch the SEC East title and a spot in the SEC championship game in nearby Atlanta with a win against Kentucky Saturday at home. The Bulldogs have won 8 straight games since starting the season 0-2 with losses to Boise St 35-21 in Atlanta and at home to South Carolina 45-42. Georgia is coached by Mark Richt, and has home wins over Coastal Carolina 59-0, Mississippi St 24-10, Florida 24-20 in Jacksonville, New Mexico St 63-16, and Auburn 45-7 last week. The Bulldogs have road wins over Ole Miss 27-13, Tennessee 20-12, and Vanderbilt 33-28. Kentucky is 4-6 this season under coach Joker Phillips, and needs to beat Georgia and Tennessee next week to be bowl eligible. The Wildcats have home wins over Central Michigan 27-13, Jacksonville St 38-14, and Ole Miss 30-13 and a win Nashville over Western Kentucky 14-3. Kentucky has home losses to Louisville 24-17, Florida 48-10, and Mississippi St 28-16, along with road losses at LSU 35-7, South Carolina 54-3, and last week at Vanderbilt 38-8. Georgia leads the all time series 50-12-2 against Kentucky including 25-4-2 in Athens. Georgia won last year in Lexington 44-31.

Kentucky was a 13 point underdog last week at Vanderbilt. It isn’t very often Vanderbilt is a double digit favorite in an SEC game even playing at home. It was an ugly miserable day for Kentucky as Vanderbilt was up 31-0 before Kentucky even scored. Vanderbilt won in a rout 38-8. Kentucky had 10 penalties and a turnover. The Wildcats only had 9 first downs, and if you have more penalties than first downs that usually isn’t a good sign. Kentucky had 211 total yards including just 32 rushing yards. Kentucky quarterback Matthew Smith threw for 179 yards and a touchdown. He was sacked 4 times in the loss. Receiver La’Rod King had 5 catches for 82 yards. Nick Melillo had 4 catches for 59 yards and a touchdown catch. Vanderbilt had 410 total yards including 203 rushing yards.

Kentucky has one of the worst offenses in the country. The Wildcats average 273.5 yards and 17 points a game. Kentucky passes for 147 yards a game and rushes for 126.5 yards a game. The Wildcats have 20 turnovers and and have allowed 30 sacks this season. Kentucky is 51/165 on third and fourth down conversions, and 20/26 scoring in the red zone with 13 touchdowns. Kentucky allows 392.3 total yards a game including 194.9 passing yards and 197.4 rushing yards. The Wildcats give up 27 points a game. Kentucky has forced 18 turnovers and 16 sacks this season. Wildcat opponents are 66/159 on third and fourth down conversions, and 26/33 scoring in the red zone with 18 touchdowns. Kentucky has one defensive touchdown this season.

Kentucky quarterback Morgan Newton has missed the last 2 games with an ankle injury but is probable for the Georgia game. Newton is 82/172 passing for 784 yards, 8 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, along with 78 carries, 272 yards, and 2 rushing touchdowns. Smith will be the quarterback if Newton can’t go. Smith is 67/119 passing for 686 yards, with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Running back CoShik Williams has 89 carries, 407 yards and 2 touchdowns, and 13 catches for 51 yards. Josh Clemons has 65 carries, 279 yards, and 2 touchdowns. He is out for the season with a knee injury. Jonathan George has 50 carries, 208  yards, and 2 touchdowns. Raymond Sanders has 27 carries for 115 yards but is questionable with an ankle injury. King has 39 catches, 596 yards, and 7 touchdowns. Matt Roark has 33 catches, 298 yards and a touchdown. Melillo, E.J. Fields, and Gene McCaskill all have touchdown catches. Fields is questionable with a hip injury. Kicker Craig McIntosh is 18/19 on extra points and 10/12 on field goals with a long of 48 yards. Besides the injuries to the skill position players, Kentucky has 8 defensive players listed on the injury report.

Georgia was a 12 point favorite last week on the college football betting line last week at home against rival Auburn. The two teams were tied at 7 in the first quarter but Georgia scored 38 unanswered points to win 45-7. The game featured 5 turnovers (3 by Auburn.) Georgia had a 24 yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter. The Bulldogs had 8 penalties in the win. Georgia had 528 total yards including 304 rushing yards. Bulldog quarterback Aaron Murray threw for 224 yards and 4 touchdowns with no interceptions, and rushed for 21 yards. Running back Isaiah Crowell rushed for 132 yards on 24 carries with a touchdown. Carlton Thomas had 15 carries for 127 yards. Malcolm Mitchell had 3 catches for 85 yards and a touchdown catch. Auburn had only 195 total yards including 51 rushing yards, and just 9 first downs.

Georgia is averaging 438.7.8 yards and 35.8 points a game. The Bulldogs have a balanced attack averaging 250.3 passing yards and 188.4 rushing yards a game. Georgia has 14 turnovers and has allowed 22 sacks this season. Georgia is 79/168 on third and fourth down conversions, and 36/44 scoring in the red zone with 27 touchdowns. Georgia is allowing  273.5 yards and 18.6 points a game. The Bulldogs give up 186.2 passing yards and 87.3 rushing yards a game. Georgia is in the top 15 nationally in all categories. The Bulldogs have forced 23 turnovers and 25 sacks this season Georgia opponents are 47/153 on third and fourth down conversions, and 16/19 scoring in the red zone with 12 touchdowns. Georgia has only one defensive touchdown but has given up 6 on defense and special teams.

Murray is 167/273 passing with 2,284 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions this season, along with 59 carries, 88 yards and 2 touchdowns. Back-up Hutson Mason has 2 touchdown passes in a handful of attempts. Crowell has 170 carries, 821 yards, and 5 touchdowns, along with 6 catches, 58 yards and a touchdown catch. Crowell is probable with a knee injury. Thomas has 59 carries, 327 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Richard Samuel has 73 carries, 240 yards, and a touchdown, along with 5 catches for 60 yards. Four other Georgia running backs have touchdown runs. Mitchell is the leading receiver for the Bulldogs with 28 catches for 523 yards, and 4 touchdowns, along with 2 carries for 19 yards. Orson Charles has 32 catches, 395 yards, and 5 touchdowns. Tavarres King has 31 catches, 363 yards, and 6 scores. Michael Bennett has 28 catches, 287 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Eight other Bulldog receivers have at least one touchdown catch this season.   Kicker Blair Walsh is 38/38 on extra points and 13/23 on field goals with a long of 56 yards. Brandon Bogotay is 6/6 on extra points, and has a 26 yard field goal in his only attempt. Besides the injuries to the backs and receivers, the Bulldogs also have 4 players on the offensive line that are listed as questionable or out and three defensive players as well.

Georgia is 7-3 against the spread this season and the total is 5-5 in those games. Kentucky is 4-6 ATS and the total 5-4-1 this season. The over is 5-2 in the last 7 meetings between Georgia and Kentucky. The Wildcats are 4-1 ATS after failing to cover, 5-11 overall, 2-5 in conference games, 4-10 after a straight up loss of more than 20 points, 2-8 as an underdog, including 1-4 as an underdog of 10.5 points or more, 1-7 on the road, and 1-8 as a road underdog. The Bulldogs are 5-0 ATS at home and against teams with losing records, and as a home favorite, 7-1 as a favorite, as a home favorite of 10.5 points or more, and overall, 6-1 after a straight up win, and on grass, 5-1 in conference and following a cover, 4-1 after a straight up win of more than 20 points, and after allowing 20 points or less, and 7-2 as a favorite of 10.5 points or more.

This game could get ugly in a hurry. Georgia has one of the nation’s top defenses and Kentucky has one of the worst offenses in the country. Since the Bulldogs allowed 80 total  points in the first two games of the season, Georgia opponents are only scoring 13.3 points a game. If Kentucky couldn’t move the ball against a mediocre Vanderbilt team, then they have no chance against Georgia. The Bulldogs can pretty much name the score here. Lay the wood with Georgia.

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