The No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs (4-0, 2-0 SEC) are hosting the Tennessee Volunteers (3-1, 0-1 SEC) in a marquee SEC East matchup that will place an emphasis on scoring.
These teams are averaging a combined 85.8 points per game and possess two of the better offenses in the nation.
While you can expect a shootout in the contest, there is much more to this game than that.
Keep reading to find out when to watch this game, what bets look smart to make, how the results will impact the Top-25 polls, keys for each team and a prediction on the final score.
Where: Sanford Stadium, Athens, Ga.
When: Saturday, September 29 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Tennessee Injuries (via CollegeInjuryReport)
S Brian Randolph—Knee—OUT
Georgia Injuries (via CollegeInjuryReport)
S Bacarri Rambo—Suspension—PRB
LB Alec Ogletree—Suspension—PRB
DE Abry Jones—Leg—QST
Point Spread: Georgia -13 (via ScoresAndOdds)
While the Volunteers can be extremely dangerous at times, they just don’t have the gusto to beat up on SEC powerhouses like they can FCS or even ACC programs.
Florida beat the Volunteers by 17 at Neyland Stadium, which means they don’t have a chance to go into Athens and come out with a win against these Bulldogs.
The Vols aren’t looking too good against the spread either. If Rambo and Ogletree are allowed back on the field by coach Mark Richt, it’s going to be tough for Tennessee to keep this within two touchdowns.
Georgia has a comparable offense to Tennessee and a superior defense, even without their All-American safety (Rambo) and starting linebacker (Ogletree).
Should the Dawgs elect to finally release these players against the Vols, it’s going to be a massacre.
Over/Under: 60 (via ScoresAndOdds)
The total has gone over in all seven of the lined games that these teams have participated in during the 2012 season.
It would be imprudent not to lean towards the over when two of the SEC’s best offenses clash on Saturday.
While this is a high total—especially if Georgia gets its two studs back on defense—there are going to be a lot of points put up on the board.
Considering it opened at 61.5 and has been bet down, now is a perfect time to take the O.
The Bulldogs are currently sitting at No. 5 in the AP and USA TODAY coaches’ polls, while the Volunteers are stuck just outside the Top 25, in the “others receiving votes” section.
A win for the Dawgs would likely help them continue their ascent to the top, with No. 3 LSU and No. 4 Florida State the most reasonable programs they could jump in the next few weeks.
Tennessee would have a chance to get back in the Top 25 with a shocking victory on Saturday, but it’s quite a long shot.
Key to Tennessee Win: Tyler Bray
The Vols QB has to step up in this one.
He’s a gun-slinging risk-taker that needs to come up a winner on all of his gambles this weekend.
While he’s racked up some gaudy stats (1,301 yards, 12 touchdowns and just three interceptions in four games), Bray has to prove he can pile on points against elite teams like Georgia.
Expect the signal-caller to throw early and often against this mediocre UGA secondary.
Key to George Win: Pound the rock
Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall and even Ken Malcome should get involved in the rushing game for the Dawgs on Saturday.
Gurley, the lead back, has already rushed for 406 yards and six touchdowns on just 44 attempts. Marshall has also been productive with his 42 touches, going off for 264 yards and three TDs.
With so many dangerous running backs, Georgia has to continually run the ball down Tennessee’s throat. The Vols just aren’t built to stop such a consistent and powerful ground attack.
Prediction: Georgia 41, Tennessee 27
Which Team Will Win?
Georgia should have no problem taking this one down at home in a game that likely won’t be close for long.
The Bulldogs are simply superior in almost every way to the Vols. The only way that Tennessee stays in this one is if Bray plays out of his mind and the receivers are finding ways to get open consistently.
Unfortunately for Volunteer supporters, the odds of that happening aren’t very likely.