No. 13 Georgia Bulldogs (9-3 SU, 7-5 ATS) vs. No. 21 Louisville Cardinals (9-3 SU, 7-5 ATS)
Belk Bowl Preview
Date and Time: Tuesday December 30th, 2014. 6:30PM EST
Where: Bank of America Stadium Charlotte, N.C.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: UGA -6.5/UL +6.5
Over/Under Total: 57
Bet your Belk Bowl pick at a quality sportsbook that offers new clients up to $250 FREE and best of all you can get all set up in minutes using your credit card >>> Bovada.
Two teams fighting to record their 10th win of the year will meet inside Bank of America Stadium when the no. 13 Georgia Bulldogs and no. 21 Louisville Cardinals square off in the Belk Bowl on December 30th. The Bulldogs were upset by Georgia Tech in their season finale which prevented the team from reaching their 10th win but they will be 6.5 point favorites when they square off against a Louisville program that is looking to sustain national success in the post Charlie Strong era with first year coach Bobby Petrino.
The Cardinals relied on defense for most of the season. Defense was the foundation of the program under coach Strong so it is not surprising to see continued strong efforts on the defensive side of the ball. Coach Petrino on the other hand is widely known as a great offensive mind for his great play calling days with Arkansas. However, the offense struggled mightily for the majority of the season ranking 51st in passing, 85th in rushing, and 44th in scoring. The offense took a big hit when quarterback Will Gardner went down for the season with a knee injury against Boston College. The Cardinals managed to win of their final two games of the season without Gardner but backup quarterback Reggie Bonnafon was not very effective in either of those games leaving lingering concerns heading into their matchup with Georgia.
To make matters worse, Bonnafon has been dealing with his own knee injury. Instead of Bonnafon, freshman Kyle Bolin may get the start instead. Bolin relieved Bonnafon in the 2nd quarter in the season finale against Kentucky. The freshman played pretty well hitting 21 of 31 passing for 381 yards with 3 touchdowns and a pick in 3 quarters of play against the Wildcats. The Louisville coaching staff is hoping that Bolin can give another similar effort against a suspect Georgia defense when both teams meet in Charlotte. Considering the Cardinals struggles to run the football this season, they will most certainly need a great effort from the quarterback position no matter who is behind center if they are going to contend for the victory.
Georgia on the other hand has one of the best rushing attacks in the SEC and perhaps the entire country. Even without superstar running back Todd Gurley for most of the 2nd half of the season, the Bulldogs managed to average 255 yards per game on the ground (13th in the FBS) which resulted in an impressive average of 41.7 points per game (8th in FBS). Freshman tailback Nick Chubb was sensational during the 2nd half of the year after taking over for Gurley. Chubb racked up more than 100 yards in each of his starts and compiled more than 1,000 rushing yards in the last 7 games alone. The talented youngster will be the focal point towards Georgias offense when they take the field against Louisville.
Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason has posted solid numbers this season completing 67% of his passes for 2,019 yards with 20 touchdowns and just 4 picks. However as solid as Masons numbers are, he is really a complementary threat to Georgias running game. As long as Georgia is able to run the football, it should allow the offense plenty of options with Mason under center. However, if Louisville is able to somehow shut down the Georgia rushing threat, they could put Mason in a much tougher situation which could easily play into the Cardinals favor. Still stopping Georgias rushing attack is much easier said than done.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think Louisville can compete in this game from the defensive side of the coin. I like the Cardinals to play well against Georgias defense and contend early. The fate of their offense will determine if the defense is able to keep it together all 4 quarters. Still, the best play in this game will be the under as I expect a really slow 1st half. Take the under 57!