Georgia Bulldogs vs. South Carolina Gamecocks Betting Odds Preview, Prediction

OddsShark.comFeatured ColumnistSeptember 4, 2013

COLUMBIA, SC - OCTOBER 06:  Aaron Murray #11 of the Georgia Bulldogs is sacked by Jadeveon Clowney #7 of the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium on October 6, 2012 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Georgia Bulldogs have lost to South Carolina three straight times and haven't covered a spread against the Gamecocks since 2006.

Now UGA has to deal with the ol' ball coach and his outfit after losing its season opener.

As of early this week most college football betting outlets were listing the Bulldogs at –3 for Saturday's game in Athens over the Gamecocks, with an OVER/UNDER of 56.

It's a little early to be talking about conference championships, but Saturday's bout will go a long way toward deciding who wins the SEC East this season. South Carolina has dominated this series lately, going 9-2-2 ATS since 2000, according to the college football database.

Are the Bulldogs, who began this year with hopes of not just winning the SEC but also playing in the BCS national championship game, destined to start 0-2? Or will they rise to the occasion and end their losing skid against their border rivals?

Georgia opened its season with a 38-35 loss at Clemson on Saturday night, falling outright as three-point road favorites. The Bulldogs racked up 545 yards of offense but had one turnover converted into a touchdown, committed another turnover in Tigers territory and later botched a short field goal that would have tied the game at 31 apiece.

The 'Dawgs also couldn't stop Clemson QB Tajh Boyd, who accounted for five touchdowns. With the loss, Georgia fell from No. 5 in the polls to No. 11.

On top of losing the game, the Bulldogs also lost a key offensive cog when wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell hurt his knee while celebrating Georgia's first touchdown of the game. He's now out for the season, depriving the 'Dawgs of their best downfield threat.

South Carolina, meanwhile, won its season opener, beating North Carolina last Thursday 27-10, covering as 11-point home chalk. The Gamecocks out-gained the Heels by more than 100 yards and out-rushed them 228-99. With the victory, South Carolina stayed at No. 6 in the polls.

South Carolina won this border battle last year 35-7 in Columbia, jumping out to an early 21-0 lead and holding Georgia to just 224 total yards for the game. The Gamecocks only had to throw the ball 10 times all day because they rushed for 230 yards.

South Carolina also didn't allow the Bulldogs to score until just two minutes remained.

Saturday's battle in Athens will be televised live on ESPN beginning at 4:30 pm ET.

Computer Prediction: 34-24 South Carolina, from the Odds Shark computer

Stats, trends and lines courtesy of Follow Mike Pickett on Twitter.