Second-ranked Georgia looks to continue the run they’ve been on as they travel to Missouri to take on the Tigers on Saturday (12 p.m., ESPN). Both teams carry 3-0 records into this tilt, but the Bulldogs were installed at 14-point favorites for this SEC showdown at Faurot Field. The consensus betting total is 61.5.
Austin-Peay and Middle Tennessee were never a threat to Georgia, and they coasted to 45-0 and 49-7 wins, respectively. But South Carolina, their Week 2 opponent, was only an 8-point underdog at home. Yet the Bulldogs covered easily, winning 41-17. You can bet on this game right now at Sugar House!
One of Missouri’s strengths through three games has been their run defense, which ranks ninth in the nation in yards per game allowed. And though Georgia running back D’Andre Swift was lifted early from last week’s game with an ailment, he’s not on the injury report for Saturday’s game. Even if Swift is not at 100 percent, Elijah Holyfield, who is averaging 9.1 yards per carry on 22 attempts this year, can shoulder the load for the Bulldogs.
Georgia’s gameplan should be to attack the Tigers through the air regularly, as Missouri is 119th in passing yards allowed per game through 180 minutes. A large chunk of that surrendered yardage occurred against Purdue last week (572 yards). Jake Fromm, one of the better quarterbacks in his conference, is more than capable of exploiting Missouri’s shoddy pass stoppers. He’s completing over 80 percent of his throws through three games and has a 6-to-1 TD-to-INT ratio.
The Bulldogs’ defense is not to be underestimated either. This unit is second in the country in points per game allowed and 11th in yards per play allowed. Tigers quarterback Drew Lock is going to be hard to stop entirely, as he’s already compiled over 1,000 passing yards with 11 TDs compared to just one INT, but Georgia will give him the sternest test he’s had so far in 2018.
Georgia has been a great bet in the Kirby Smart era; they are 6-1-1 in their last eight against the spread, and have covered in 10 of their last 11 on the road, per oddsshark.com. A deeper dig reveals that the Bulldogs are 14-2 against the spread in their last 16 road games against teams above .500. Also per oddsshark.com, Georgia has covered by a combined 64.5 points in their last three road games where they were favored by 10 or more points.
Missouri nearly buckled in their first true challenge of the year, as they escaped with a 40-37 win over Purdue last week; expect them to be bulldozed by a much tougher Georgia squad on Saturday.
Prediction: Georgia wins, 38-17
The play: Georgia -14
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