Tennessee Volunteers vs. Georgia Bulldogs Preview and Pick

Note: If you’re
looking for the 2013 Week 6 matchup between these two teams, please go here:
Bulldogs vs. Tennessee Volunteers Pick

Tennessee Volunteers (2-3), +11.5, 42 O/U at Georgia Bulldogs (4-1), -11.5, 42 O/U
Sanford Stadium 92,746, Athens, G.A., 3:30PM Eastern, Saturday

By Jay Horne of Predictem.com

SEC play is in full swing as we get ready to a yearly classic SEC East division battle between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Georgia Bulldogs. The Bulldogs come in off a bye week after getting embarrassed in the first half against #2 Alabama. The Bulldogs bounced back in the second half of that game to make the final score look respectable. Tennessee comes into the game coming off a 13-9 lackluster win over Northern Illinois with a struggling offense that is having trouble posting points on the scoreboard.

The #10 ranked Bulldogs look to get back to their winning ways in SEC East competition after starting the year strong. Georgia comes into the game 1-1 in the SEC and 4-1 overall. The Bulldogs come into the contest averaging a strong 34 points per game. Georgia cannot afford to lose this ball game if they plan on playing in the Georgia Dome at seasons end for the SEC Championship. It was Tennessee one year ago in this game that ruined those hopes for Georgia to win the East and play in the SEC Championship.

The Tennessee Volunteers have been the let down story so far this year in the SEC. The Vols have not been impressive early in the season dropping games to the likes of Florida, Auburn, and UCLA. The problem Tennessee has faced is their inability to score points. Tennessee is only averaging 18 points per game. The Volunteers will have a chance to redeem themselves this week and perhaps right the ship that has been steered off course.

One year ago, the Vols came into this game in a very similar situation dropping 2 out of their first 4 games. The Vols jumped all over Georgia in Knoxville in a 35-14 thumping over the Bulldogs. Tennessee had a bye week prior to that game and some much needed time to regroup, and it paid off big as that game poised Tennessee at a SEC East run resulting in the Volunteers making it to the SEC Championship. This year however, it is Georgia who will come into the game off a bye week and I am sure Mark Richt and company has not forgotten about their matchup from a year ago. After Georgias lone loss of the year, the Bulldogs look to rebound at home between the hedges.

Most sports gambling sites have this matchup listed as the Bulldogs being 11.5 favorites over Tennessee. The over/under total for the game will stand at a mark of 42. If you would like to bet on the moneyline, the Georgia Bulldogs are listed at -500 with Tennessee posted at +400. Early betting trends have over 80% of the nation betting on Georgia ATS. The lines may change a bit as some betting lines have already stretched favoring Georgia as much as 13.

The Georgia Bulldogs have won 8 of their last 9 games at home between the hedges in Athens and has posted wins in 11 of their last 12 games. The Bulldogs are talented on both sides of the ball. The Bulldogs are lead by QB Matthew Stafford and sophomore running back Knowshawn Moreno. Moreno is averaging 97 yards a game on the ground and already has 10 TD’s in 5 games. Stafford has averaged 240 ypg through the air while throwing 7 TD’s and only one interception all year long. The Bulldog defense which is ranked #22 in the nation in total yards has only giving up 286 ypg. The Bulldog defense also represents the #4 ranked rushing defenses in college football.

Tennessee will look to make this a defensive game as they have one of the most talented defenses in the nation. The Vols defense comes in as the #6 ranked defense in the nation holding teams to 245 ypg. The challenge for Tennessee will be their offense. The Volunteer offense has not been good early in the year averaging only 317 ypg ranking them towards the bottom half of the nation. QB Jonathon Crompton has had a roller coaster year starting behind center. He has compiled a 52% completion percentage while averaging only 131 ypg passing with 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. On top of that, the offense has had problems holding onto the ball turning it over 10 times in 5 games. Tennessee must protect the football and find ways to score to have hopes of an upset.

Things to know before betting on this game:
Tennessee is 1-4 ATS this season with 4 out of those 5 going on the under total for the game. Georgia is 2-1-1 this season ATS and 2-2 for the over/under total. Tennessee has won 4 out of the last 6 meetings ATS against the Bulldogs and also in 4 of those 6 games the total has favored the under. Tennessee has won 3 out of the last 4 meetings against Georgia and they are 6-2 in their last 8 trips to Athens.

Jay’s Pick: I like the Vols to stick within the spread.