No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs (5-0 SU, 4-1 ATS) vs. Vanderbilt Commodores (3-2 SU, 2-3 ATS)
College Football Week 6
Date/Time: Saturday October 7th, 2017. 12:00PM (EST)
Where: Vanderbilt Stadium Nashville, T.N.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: UGA -17.5/VAN +17.5
Over/Under Total: 42.5
Do not look now but it appears that a sleeping giant has awaken in the SEC by way of the 5th ranked Georgia Bulldogs. Last week, the Bulldogs trampled Tennessee in a 41-0 blowout to hand the Volunteers one of their worst defeats in school history in Knoxville. For Georgia, it was the 2nd straight week that Kirby Smarts Bulldogs flexed their muscles against an SEC rival. The week before Georgia destroyed no. 17 Mississippi State 31-3 in a blowout that few saw coming. Now Georgia has risen to 5th in the AP polls and appears to be the only legitimate threat to Alabama in the SEC.
This week the Bulldogs will go on the road again as they meet the Vanderbilt Commodores in Nashville. At first glance, this appears to be another opportunity for Georgia to extend their 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS streaks. After all, the Bulldogs outscored the likes of Mississippi State and Tennessee by a combined 71-3 in the last two outings. So how can a Vanderbilt team, that most considered the worst team in the SEC East, contend with a Bulldogs team that is playing on another level? More importantly why is the line for this game just 17.5 points?
Well I believe the line is pretty close to where it should be despite public perception. Yes, Georgia has blown out two straight opponents but you have a lot of interesting angles heading into this weekends game with Vanderbilt. One angle that can easily be argued is the motivational factor. Will we see the same Bulldogs team fired up to play Vanderbilt as they were in primetime spots against Tennessee and Mississippi State? Will a 2nd straight road game with an early kick play a factor? All of those questions are legitimate concerns for backing a team that by the eye test should put this game away rather easily.
With that being said and by avoiding any bouts with delusion, I am still not completely convinced that Georgia is the powerhouse that these last two wins may try to indicate. Lets face the facts, all Georgia did last week was expose a bad Tennessee football team that should have fired Butch Junes a year ago. The big win over Mississippi State is waning in significant now as well. The reason that win was so impressive before is because Mississippi State was coming off a big win over LSU. If you consider the fact that Troy went into Baton Rouge and beat LSU last weekend, that credibility falters as well.
On paper, Georgia is not lighting up the stat sheets. Quarterback Jake Fromm has been decent completing 59% passing with 8 scores and 2 picks. Running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel have delivered as expected but the entire passing unit is arguably only effective because of the rushing success. I am still eager to see what happens when a defense shuts down the run and forces Fromm to beat them with his arm. When will that happen? In all likelihood, the only defense that will challenge Georgias rushing attack in the near future is Florida which is still 3 weeks out. However, I would not complete dismiss Vanderbilts defense from causing frustration this Saturday. Outside of the blowout loss to Alabama in a game that was just a complete nightmare, Vanderbilt has played pretty solid. The Commodores held Kansas State to 7 points in the upset win and went toe to toe with Florida last week for 3 quarters before collapsing.
At home, I feel like Vanderbilt could give Georgia some trouble if they can prevent the big plays from happening. Of course that is a big if. On the flip side of the ball, Vanderbilt has struggled to score in every way imaginable. Despite the fact I think the jury is still out for Georgia as a team, I cannot deny that Kirby Smart has turned the Bulldogs defense around. They have been playing extremely well and with some intensity. Vanderbilt quarterback Kyle Shurmur has been everything for the Commodores offense and that is not saying a lot. With just 985 yards in 5 games passing and a leading rusher in Ralph Webb that has just 198 yards, Vanderbilt has to find answers offensively for any legitimate chances at an upset against a team of Georgias caliber.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I still think Vanderbilt will play well in this spot but I simply cannot trust the offense. I am skeptical of choosing a side. I lean towards Georgia -17.5 but believe the best play will be the under 42.5. Bet this game for FREE by taking advantage of a 100% bonus (Deposit $100, get $100 FREE!)at the web’s oldest sportsbook: Intertops!