Kentucky Wildcats (7-3 SU, 3-7 ATS) vs. No. 7 Georgia Bulldogs (9-1 SU, 6-4 ATS)
College Football Week 14
Date/Time: Saturday November 18th, 2017. 3:30PM (EST)
Where: Sanford Stadium Athens, G.A.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: UK +21.5/UGA -21.5
Over/Under Total: 50.5
The Georgia Bulldogs suffered their first loss of the season last week when they ran into a buzzsaw on the Plains in a 40-17 loss to Auburn. While the defeat definitely stung, all of Georgias goals that were alive last week are still on the table. They are still locked into an SEC Championship Game appearance in Atlanta and they will be big favorites in their final two regular season matchups. If Georgia can take care of business in these final two regular season games and then pull out a win the SEC Championship, they will be in the hunt for the National Championship. The road to the playoffs starts in Athens this week when Georgia host the Kentucky Wildcats between the hedges at Sanford Stadium.
I feel like I am cheering for Georgia in a sense which is very weird for me considering I am a South Carolina fan and the Bulldogs are one of our biggest rivals. However, I know this Georgia team has the talent to go into Atlanta and slay either Alabama or Auburn in the SEC Championship Game. It has been nearly a decade since the SEC East has won the SEC Championship Game and I truly think this Georgia team has the potential to end the streak. I mean this team has surpassed expectations at the quarterback position with Jake Fromm, running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel have stayed healthy, and the defense has finally turned into the force that was expected when Head Coach Kirby Smart was hired. Now we just have to test this Georgia teams resiliency.
I will be the first to admit that the Bulldogs did not look sharp last week. They were punched in the mouth early and were pushed out of their element. The defense that has been great all season allowed Kerryon Johnson to rush for 167 yards. Meanwhile the Georgia rushing attack that had been so great was held to just 46 yards on the ground. In many ways, Auburn rattled Georgia in the same way the Bulldogs dominated Mississippi State, Tennessee, and Florida. They just simply took them out of their element and forced them into a style of play that they were not used to.
This week Georgia has to re-establish their foundation. Set the tone with strong defense and get Nick Chubb and Sony Michel back in rhythm on the ground. The two Georgia tailbacks are the most lethal duo in college football combining for 1,600 yards and 19 touchdowns. If the Bulldogs are going to go into Atlanta and compete with the SEC West powerhouses, they need to get back to a power rushing attack anchored by strong play along the offensive line that allows these talented running backs to show their skill. I just hope Georgia does not abandon the things that have made them successful this year and that is why I said this weeks game against Kentucky will truly test their resiliency.
While I am not completely sure how Georgia will respond this week, I will tell you why I am worried. This Kentucky team is easy to look over on paper. However, they are surprisingly physical and will compete. At 7 wins, Kentucky has already surpassed expectations and have become bowl eligible for just the 2nd time in the last 7 years. They have a legitimate shot to reach 9 wins for the first time since 1984 and if they happen to upset Georgia then the possibility is alive to tie a school record with 10 wins.
The reason Kentucky has been successful is because they have been very physical and they have been able to stand up against the big teams in the SEC with their style of play. The defense has been surprisingly strong especially against the run where they have held opponents to just 121 yards per game (19th in FBS). Additionally, they have run the ball well with a relentless rushing approach behind Benny Snell who has already eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark and has 15 touchdowns on the ground. Quarterback Stephen Johnson is not a great quarterback but statistically he has not been bad with 10 touchdowns and just 4 picks. Therefore, this Kentucky team is very effective in their approach and they also do not make many mistakes. I believe this formula could present challenges if Georgia walks into this game unprepared.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think Kentucky is better than people realize and I do not like the situational circumstances here for Georgia. Therefore, I think the Wildcats are a solid play given the points. Take Kentucky +21.5. Bet this game for FREE by taking advantage of a FAT 100% bonus up to $1000 at MyBookie! (Use Promo Code: PRDCT14)