Tennessee Volunteers (14) vs. Georgia Bulldogs (3) Betting Picks and Predictions
06 October 2020
|Date:||Saturday, October 10th|
|Time:||12:00 PM ET|
The 2-0 14th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers will go on the road Saturday to face off with the 2-0 3rd-ranked Georgia Bulldogs at 12:00 PM ET in Sanford Stadium. This will be a tough battle between two SEC powerhouses and you can watch the game on CBS. Both squads have looked excellent in the first two weeks of the season, but I’m not sure anyone has been more impressive than Georgia in their blowout of Auburn a week ago. The Bulldogs enter as 13-point favorites and we’re expecting a defensive battle with a low 44.5 over/under. Let’s dive into how this game will go and who will cover the spread.
When the Tennessee Volunteers Have The Ball
After beating a solid South Carolina team 31-27 in week one, they beat up on the Missouri Tigers 35-12 in a game that was over before it started. They scored a first quarter TD just five minutes in and never gave up the lead. The Vols controlled the game on the ground with 232 rushing yards and four touchdowns. They didn’t turn the ball over a single time and won the time of possession battle.
The Tennessee Vols have one of the more dangerous RB duos in the entire country. Eric Gray and Ty Chandler have combined for 321 yards and three touchdowns through two weeks. They’re both balanced runners, though Chandler has the lower center of gravity between the pair and Gray is slightly faster. They’re both viable options in the passing game as well.
I haven’t touched on QB Jarrett Guarantano to this point, but he’s been a phenomenal manager of this offense and that’s not a back-handed insult of any kind like it was when people use to talk about Alex Smith. He’s thrown for 449 yards and two touchdowns without an interception while adding 26 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. He’s not very fast, but does a good job of using his weight near the goalline when defenses overcommit to the running back.
When he drops back to pass, Josh Palmer is the go-to receiver. The 6’2 Senior has stepped up as the WR1 with 156 yards and a score. He’s been only pass-catcher in triple digits with Brandon Johnson and Velus Jones Jr. each catching six balls for a combined 141 yards.
Defensively, Tennessee is a prototypical SEC defense that is huge in the middle and has a ton of individual talent. Henry To’o To’o and Deandre Johnson are future NFL LB’s and Johnson already has 3.5 sacks. To’o To’o leaned out in the offseason and has looked dynamite in two games, leading the team in tackles (12) and taking an interception to the house for 32 yards in week one. The entire unit will need to step up in a big way against the Georgia Bulldogs.
When The Georgia Bulldogs Have The Ball
While the Volunteers have been solid through two weeks, it doesn’t compare to what the Georgia Bulldogs have done thus far. After beating up the Arkansas Razorbacks 37-10 in week one, they shut down the seventh-ranked Auburn Tigers and ended up winning comfortably 27-6. The Bulldogs controlled the pace of the game with 202 rushing yards, but it was really the defense that won the game. Auburn ran for 39 yards as a team and Bo Nix threw for just 177 yards and an interception.
While J.T Daniels was expected to start for this team once healthy, I’m not sure that’s a lock with how Stetson Bennett is playing. Through two weeks, Bennett has thrown for 351 yards and three touchdowns while completing 64.9% of his passes. He didn’t turn the ball over against Auburn, which is extremely impressive for a QB making his first-ever start. He’s honed in on Kearis Jackson, who’s caught 15 balls for 209 yards. George Pickens is also a ridiculous athlete on the outside and two of his six catches have been touchdowns.
The QB in this offense is just a middleman that is expected to minimize the mistakes. The offense is built on the run game. Zamir White has been a workhorse thus far (32 carries, 159 yards, 3 TD) in a backfield that was expected to be an all-out committee. Four other RB’s have gotten eight-plus carries and they all bring separate traits to the table that keeps it tough on defenses.
The Bulldogs defense is a sardine can of NFL talent. It starts with Azeez Ojulari, who led the squad in 2019 with 5.5 sacks. Nakobe Dean and Monty Rice lock down the LB core and both have been elite so far in 2020. Dean was everywhere against Auburn, making his presence known from the start. In the secondary, it’s Lewis Cine and Tyson Campbell that QB’s stay away from. Richard LeCounte has an interception in both games and is a Senior leader for this defensive squad. This is an all-around team and it might be one of the best Kirby Smart has ever coached.
These are two really good teams, but I don’t see how Georgia doesn’t wear the Vols down as the game goes along. If Tennessee has an advantage anywhere, it’s at QB. Jarrett Guarantano has been great through two games and the Bulldogs are better against the run than they are the pass.
Georgia holds the advantage everywhere else. They are the better team in the trenches on both sides of the ball and they certainly have the better defense. While this is going to be a tough game from start to finish and it will probably be close for the majority of the first half, Georgia will pull away by at least two touchdowns. Take this number before it climbs up to 14.
The Pick: Georgia -13
I’m never a big fan of betting SEC totals, and this game is no different. It’s going to be very close as both of these defenses are phenomenal and neither offense will look to speed things up. With that being said, neither of these offenses are inept, so it’s tough to guarantee the under hits.
Neither of these offenses are going to take a ton of chances, so expect shorter passes when they don’t run it down the gut. Give me the under, but it will come down to one score either direction.
The Pick: Under 44.5
Final Score Prediction: Georgia 27, Tennessee 13