Georgia vs. South Carolina: Who Should You Pick in This SEC East Showdown?
Heisman Trophy candidate Marcus Lattimore figures to be one of the more talked-about running backs in college football this week, as the South Carolina Gamecocks welcome the Georgia Bulldogs to Williams-Brice Stadium Saturday night, with the opening kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.
The Gamecocks are listed as a pick 'em in the current Week 6 college football betting odds (courtesy of SBR Forum), while the total has dropped 2.5 points from its opening number to settle in at 54.
Let's take a closer look at this Southeastern Conference showdown in Columbia from a betting perspective, while also providing an against-the-spread pick along the way.
Georgia Bulldogs QB Aaron Murray
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Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray has lost both of his previous tries against the South Carolina Gamecocks in straight-up and against-the-spread (ATS), which can't be ignored when making your Week 6 college football predictions.
Murray has put up sensational numbers in Athens since starting as a true freshman in 2010, which includes throwing for 51 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions in his 21 wins under center. He has completed 33-of-50 passes for 440 yards in his two career games in this series, while also combining to throw four touchdowns and just a single pick.
South Carolina Gamecocks RB Marcus Lattimore
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Marcus Lattimore truly became a household name in Columbia after leading the South Carolina Gamecocks to a 17-6 win over the Georgia Bulldogs as three-point home favorites on Sept. 11, 2010, gaining 182 rushing yards on 37 carries.
I'm not sure you can expect that type of workload coming off last year's season-ending knee surgery, but head coach Steve Spurrier may put Lattimore to the test in this spot.
Lattimore has run the ball 64 times for 358 yards and three touchdowns in his two career games against the Bulldogs. He figures to play an important part in this contest as the program tries to improve to 4-0 ATS as a home favorite of three or fewer points since he arrived on campus.
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The Georgia Bulldogs own a 46-15-2 edge over the South Carolina Gamecocks, which includes a 4-3 advantage when Mark Richt takes on Steve Spurrier.
Sports bettors will want to note that the Gamecocks actually have won four of seven meetings when both teams enter this rivalry as ranked teams, especially with Saturday's host winning all three such games when playing in Columbia.
Before you make South Carolina one of your top college football picks this weekend, please consider that the program is 0-3 when featured in games featuring a pair of Top 10 teams.
Richt has led the Bulldogs to a 3-4 record when playing in such a contest, including an even 1-1 mark on the road.
Las Vegas Perspective
I reached out to Jimmy Vaccaro earlier this week about this high-profile affair. He serves as the public relations director for William Hill US, and here's what he had to say:
Both of these programs have underachieved plenty in the past few years, and both are hot at the moment. I'll say this: The loser in this game won't end up playing on New Year's Day.
College Football Week 6 Prediction
I'm going to recommend that readers back the South Carolina Gamecocks when making their final college football predictions this week, as Marcus Lattimore will make a major statement in the 2012 Heisman Trophy race.
In researching Southeastern Conference football games dating back to 2011, I've discovered that teams that win the rushing battle with a point spread of seven or fewer points are a dominating 20-3 ATS in that situation.
Steve Spurrier makes it three in a row over Mark Richt.