No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs (7-0 SU, 5-2 ATS) vs. Florida Gators (3-3 SU, 2-4 ATS)
College Football Week 9
Date/Time: Saturday October 28th, 2017. 3:30PM (EST)
Where: EverBank Field Jacksonville, F.L.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: UGA -14/UF +14
Over/Under Total: TBA
The 3rd ranked Georgia Bulldogs have been vaulted into the thick of the College Football Playoffs discussion after a surprising 7-0 start and they will put their undefeated streak on the line this Saturday when the meet the Florida Gators for their annual showdown in Jacksonville. Once dubbed the Worlds Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, this Florida-Georgia rivalry has been a classic fight for supremacy in the SEC East for much of the last 3 decades. The Gators have held the upper hand in the rivalry throughout that period winning 21 of the past 27 games since 1990. On Saturday, Georgia looks for a changing of the guard as they attempt to end a 3 game losing streak to the Gators as 14 points favorites at EverBank Field.
While many people have been calling for an end for Florida Head Coach Jim McElwain after a 3-3 SU start and a team that has regressed in each of his first 3 seasons, the one thing McElwain has done successfully is beat Georgia. In fact, the Gators have won the last 3 meets against the Bulldogs allowing just 33 combined points on those contests. However, things promise to be much tougher this Saturday when both teams collide in Jacksonville. Georgia has been blowing away SEC opponents to the tune of 170-45 in their 4 conference games. During that stretch they blew away no. 17 Mississippi State 31-3, shut out Tennessee 41-0, and have hung 45 plus points in each of the past two weeks against Vanderbilt and Missouri. Therefore, this Georgia team has been clicking in all facets of the game.
The transition from a mediocre 8-5 team in Kirby Smarts first season last year into a 7-0 dominate start this season starts from progress made on the defensive side of the football. Smart roamed the Alabama sidelines for several seasons under Nick Saban during several National Championship runs and Georgia is finally starting to show a similar defensive tendency. They have been tough in the trenches and very physical yielding just 252 yards per game which is the 3rd best mark in the FBS. They also rank 4th in scoring holding opponents to just 12.6 points per game as one of the best overall defenses in college football.
With the emergence of the defense, the Bulldogs have remained a dynamic force on the offensive side of the football behind running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Together both backs have already racked up nearly 1,200 yards averaging over 6.5 yards per carry and have combined for 14 touchdowns on the ground. Additionally, the emergence of quarterback Jake Fromm has made Georgias offense truly difficult to defend by adding a much needed level of confidence in the passing game. Fromm has not been needed often but has been effective hitting 62% passing with 12 scores and just 3 picks.
Collectively, Georgia has simply played well on both sides of the ball. Unfortunately that has not been the case for the Gators who are on the heels of back to back losses at home where they failed to crack 20 points. Defensively the Gators have been fine but the ongoing quarterback dilemma remains unsolved. Feleipe Franks is still the guy under center but collectively Florida quarterbacks have combined for just 4 passing touchdowns on the year and have thrown 4 interceptions. We know that McElwain likes to run the football and Floridas offense is designed to run the football behind Malik Davis and Lamical Perine. However a successful running game has to give support from the passing attack and that has not worked thus far.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I really do not like the Gators in this spot. I know the history of this rivalry favors Florida and these meetings in general are usually close contest. Still, I just do not believe Florida can keep pace with their lack of production offensively. I can see this game staying close by the half with Georgia dominating the 2nd. Take UGA -14, Where are you betting this game? Bet it for FREE by taking advantage of a 50% welcome bonus offered to new players at Bovada Sportsbook