Georgia has won eight straight games as a road favorite, but the Bulldogs have a tough task to make it nine as they visit Clemson in Death Valley Saturday.
The No. 5-ranked Bulldogs were two-point road favorites earlier in the week against the No. 8-rated Tigers, according to sportsbooks tracked by OddsShark.com. The over/under was very high, hovering around 72.
The Bulldogs return 12 starters this year from a team that went 12-2 (8-6 against the spread), nearly upset Alabama in the SEC Championship Game and beat Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl last season.
And at least one sportsbook is very concerned with the caliber of this team and the fact they are seeing lots of money on them at 14-1 to win the BCS championship.
Nine starters are back on offense, led by senior QB Aaron Murray (65 percent completions, 36 TD to 10 INT last year), 1,300-yard rusher Todd Gurley and the entire offensive line. But only three starters return on defense after the loss of last year's top four tacklers.
So while UGA might score more than the 38 PPG it averaged last year, it's a good bet it will give up more than the 20 PPG it allowed last year. Georgia is 7-1 ATS in those eight games as a road favorite dating back several seasons, according to OddsShark.com.
The Tigers, meanwhile, return 12 starters from a team that went 11-2 (9-4 ATS) last year and upset LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Six starters are back on offense, led by senior QB Tajh Boyd (67 percent completions, 46 total touchdowns last year), WR Sammy Watkins and four along the offensive line.
And six starters return on defense, including five of the front seven. But Clemson might have to rely upon Boyd even more than last year with the departure of 1,000-yard rusher Andre Ellington, and the defense has to replace four of last year's top six tacklers.
These two teams, with campuses just 80 miles apart, used to play almost every season. But the last meeting was 10 years ago, when the 'Dawgs blanked the Tigers 30-0. That's the last time Clemson was shut out.
Last year the SEC went 6-2 both straight up and ATS against the ACC, but Clemson accounted for both the ACC's victories, beating Auburn on opening weekend and LSU in that bowl game.
As of earlier this week in college football futures betting, Clemson was getting odds of around 2/1 to win the ACC championship this season, while Georgia was listed at odds of around 9/2 to win the SEC championship.
The game goes Saturday night (8 p.m. ET, ABC).
Prediction: Georgia makes an early statement and wins easily. We play them at -2.
Stats and odds are courtesy of OddsShark.com
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