No. 6 Georgia Bulldogs (11-1 SU, 8-4 ATS) vs. No. 4 Auburn Tigers (10-2 SU, 6-5-1 ATS)
College Football Week 14
Date/Time: Saturday December 2nd, 2017. 4:00PM (EST)
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium Atlanta, G.A.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: UGA +3/AUB -3
Over/Under Total: TBA
The stage is set for the SEC Championship in what some would call a surprise meeting between the no. 4 Auburn Tigers and the no. 6 Georgia Bulldogs. The Tigers kept their championship hopes alive last week with a convincing 26-14 win over no. 1 Alabama in the Iron Bowl. The victory moved the Tigers past Alabama in the SEC West standings with just 1 conference loss and earned the right to play Georgia for the SEC Title. Now the 11-1 SU Bulldogs and 10-2 SU Tigers are in similar situations with a chance to take down the SEC Championship which will also likely include a bid to the College Football Playoffs.
I have been stating for the last few weeks that I felt like Auburn is playing the best football in the country and their convincing victory over Alabama solidified that statement. It was the Tigers 2nd win over a top ranked team in the last 3 weeks as they knocked off no. 1 Georgia 40-17 in a show of dominance back on November 11th inside Jordan-Hare Stadium. However, this weeks rematch with Georgia promises to be a tougher challenge as both teams meet on neutral terrain inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
For the Bulldogs, this is a chance to avenge their only loss of the season to Auburn back in November. In reality, this may be a bigger opportunity for redemption for the Georgia defense. The Bulldogs defense has been a big part of their breakout success this year ranking inside the top 10 in nearly every major category. However this same group was obliterated by the Tigers rushing attack on the Plains. Running back Kerryon Johnson racked up 167 yards and the Tigers rushed for nearly 250 yards as a team in route to the blowout.
The reason Auburn has been so potent during the 2nd half of the season is because Johnson has become one of the most dangerous rushers in the country. On the season, Johnson has racked up more than 1,200 yards and 17 touchdowns as the SEC leader in both categories. Just last week, Johnson rushed for 104 yards with a touchdown and threw another touchdown pass in the victory over Alabama last week. However, the star running back went down in the 2nd half with a shoulder injury and his status for this Saturdays SEC Championship Game is not completely clear. I believe most expect Johnson to play but it is definitely a situation that needs to be monitored throughout the week because it would be a huge blow to this Auburn offense if Johnson is forced to sit.
The good news for Auburn fans is that this offense is not one dimensional like it has been in recent years. If Johnson is unable to go or even limited, quarterback Jarrett Stidham is still capable of leading this team after completing 68% passing for 2,682 yards with 16 touchdowns and just 4 picks during the regular season. Therefore this Auburn offense has plenty of firepower to move forward without Johnson if needed. I am personally not worried about Auburns offense finding ways to score. For me, the tale of the tape comes down to the Tigers defensive play.
In recent weeks, Auburns defense has played tremendous football holding their last 3 opponents to 17 points or less. In the previous meeting with Georgia, the Auburn defense held the Bulldogs to just 46 yards rushing marking their lowest total of the year. As many are aware, Georgias offense relies and focuses heavily on their running attack behind Sony Michel and Nick Chubb who are among the best 1-2 punches in the country. We are talking about two backs that will likely eclipse the 1,000 yard plateau before the season ends but yet both were held to less than 40 yards in that first meeting. In most weeks, it is hard to keep those two backs under 150 combined yards.
Therefore, it was rather remarkable to see Auburn stifle Georgias running attack so dominantly in the first meeting. Therefore, Georgia has to do some things to keep this Auburn defense off balance to get the run game going. Quarterback Jake Fromm needs to get off to a fast start and the Bulldogs need to score some points early. Only then will their running attack remain effective throughout the game because we have seen that this offense does not play from behind very well.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I expect Georgia to be a tougher out this time around but I still believe Auburn is playing the best football in the country. Take Auburn -3. - Bet this game for FREE by taking advantage of a FAT 100% bonus up to $1000 at MyBookie! (Use Promo Code: PRDCT14)