SEC College Football Picks: #11 Tennessee Volunteers at #25 Georgia Bulldogs

#11 Tennessee Volunteers at #25 Georgia Bulldogs
Saturday, October 1, 2016, 3:30 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Sanford Stadium – Athens, Georgia
Opening Line: Tennessee -3
Current Line: Tennessee -4
Opening Total: 52 (over -121)
Current Total: 52 1/2
Opening Money Line: Tennessee -175 / Georgia +155
Current Money Line: Tennessee -180 / Georgia +160

Tennessee is a road favorite at Georgia Saturday.
Tennessee is a road favorite at Georgia Saturday.

The Tennessee Volunteers are 4-0 as they travel to the 3-1 Georgia Bulldogs Saturday in a key SEC East contest. Tennessee is 1-0 in SEC play and Georgia is 1-1 this season. Georgia leads the series 22-21-2 including 11-10-1 in Athens. The Volunteers won 38-31 last year in Knoxville to snap a five game losing streak against the Bulldogs.

Tennessee is coached by Butch Jones. While Tennessee is #11 in the polls, the Volunteers have not looked very good in narrow home wins over Appalachian State 20-13 in overtime and Ohio 28-19. Tennessee trailed 21-0 in the first half against Florida last week but the Volunteers scored 38 straight points and would win 38-28. Florida had beaten Tennessee 11 straight times before that game last week.  The Volunteers also have a win over Virginia Tech 45-24 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Tennessee is 2-2 ATS and the total is 2-2 as well. The Volunteers were 4 point favorites against Florida and the total was 42.5.

Georgia is coached by Kirby Smart in his first year. The Bulldogs have a win over North Carolina in Atlanta, plus a home win over Nicholls State 26-24 and a road win at Missouri 28-27. The Bulldogs were crushed at Ole Miss last week 45-14. Georgia was a 7 point underdog against Ole Miss and the total was 61. The Bulldogs are 1-3 ATS and the total is 1-3 this season.

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Tennessee is outscoring teams 33-21 this season. The Volunteers average 388 total yards per game on offense including 201 passing and 187 rushing yards. Tennessee allows 353 yards per game on defense including 212 passing and 141 rushing yards. The Volunteers are +1 in turnovers with 7 takeaways. Tennessee averages 62 penalty yards per game and opponents average 61 per game. The Volunteers are 25/63 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 24/68. Tennessee has forced 5 sacks and allowed 8 this season. The Volunteers are 14/17 scoring in the red zone with 11 touchdowns and opponents are 12/13 with 8 touchdowns.

Quarterback Joshua Dobbs has thrown for 805 yards with 10 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, and has 54 carries for 241 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Running back Jalen Hurd has 91 carries for 365 yards and 2 touchdowns, and also has 4 catches with a touchdown. Alvin Kamara has 22 carries for 103 yards, and 9 catches for 66 yards and a touchdown.

Receiver Josh Malone has 13 catches for 287 yards and 5 touchdowns. Jauan Jennings has 9 catches for 142 yards and 2 touchdowns. Preston Williams has 8 catches for 70 yards. Jason Croom and Ethan Wolf will also get some catches. Seven defensive players are listed on the injury report.

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Georgia is being outscored 30-25 this season. The Bulldogs average 413 yards per game including 216 passing yards and 198 rushing yards. On defense, the Bulldogs are allowing 383 yards per game including 243 passing and 140 rushing yards. Georgia is +2 in turnovers and has 9 takeaways. The Bulldogs average 47 penalty yards per game and opponents average 49 per game. Georgia is 27/68 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents 21/58. The Bulldogs have forced 4 sacks and allowed 12 this season. Georgia is 13/17 scoring in the red zone with 10 touchdowns and opponents are 13/14 with 9 touchdowns.

Freshman quarterback Jacob Eason has thrown for 780 yards with 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Greyson Lambert has also taken a few snaps.

Running back Nick Chubb is out with an ankle injury. He has 83 carries for 422 yards and 3 touchdowns. Look for Brian Herrien and Sony Michel to split the carries without Chubb. Herrien has 26 carries for 184 yards and 3 touchdowns. Michel has 26 carries for 106 yards and 7 catches for 58 yards.

Receiver Isaiah McKenzie has 21 catches for 318 yards and four touchdowns, plus 7 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown. Terry Godwin has 12 catches for 163 yards. Michael Chigbu has 7 catches for 68 yards. Receivers Ryan Ridley and Jayson Stanley are both out.

Tennessee is 6-0 ATS against teams with winning records, 4-0 in road games and against teams with winning home records, 6-1 in SEC games, 5-1 after a straight up win, 4-1 in October, 5-2 overall, 7-18-1 after a cover, and 3-12 after passing for more than 280 yards. Tennessee is 4-0 ATS against Georgia recently and 5-1 in Athens.

Georgia is 6-2 ATS after passing for less than 170 yards, 5-2 after a straight up loss, 2-5 against teams with winning records, 6-16-1 against teams with winning road records, 2-6 after failing to cover, in SEC games, and at home, and after allowing 280 passing yards or more, 1-4 after allowing more than 40 points, and 0-4 in October. The underdog is 4-0 ATS in this series recently. The over is 4-0 in this series and 4-1 in Athens.

Tennessee has a very difficult stretch with games against Florida last week, this game, Texas A&M and Alabama coming up. Still, a win here would put them in the driver’s seat for the SEC East as they would have wins over their top competition in the division. Georgia has struggled on offense even with Chubb. I don’t see them winning this game even at home.

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