Georgia vs LSU: Betting against the Spread in the SEC Championship Game
There has only been one constant in the ever-changing BCS rankings this year, and that's been the LSU Tigers, who have reigned supreme at No. 1 since the standings were first released back in Week 8.
LSU has undoubtedly been the most impressive team of 2011, and it's hard to see the Tigers slowing down before they get to New Orleans, especially after that second-half performance against Arkansas a week ago.
There's still some business to take care of in the SEC championship game for Les Miles and his crew, and with the way their opponent, No. 14 Georgia, has been playing lately, it certainly doesn't look like they'll be a pushover.
The Bulldogs will be playing with nothing to lose on Saturday, as they know full well that all the pressure will be squarely on the shoulders of the Tigers.
Still, you have to wonder if Georgia will be able to hang around and actually keep things close, or if they'll eventually run out of gas like every other team that LSU has played this season.
So, which side is worth putting your money on this Saturday?
The Spread: LSU (-13)
Depending on who you like to place your bets with, the most likely line you’re going to see for the LSU vs. Georgia game right now is probably around LSU -13.
That’s a little more than what you would expect for a conference championship game, pitting the No. 1 team in America against a worthy 10-2 opponent.
Both of these teams have been very successful against the spread this season, as LSU is 9-3, while Georgia is a very respectable 8-4, but it's obvious that the Tigers are getting a lot of respect from oddsmakers right now.
Why LSU Could Cover
QB Jordan Jefferson is finally starting to fulfill his promise and now it looks like the LSU offense is finally starting to match the level of play that the defense has had all season long.
The talented Tigers have been a brick wall on defense this year, but the offense had always been more efficient than explosive throughout the season. That seems to have changed now.
With weapons like running backs Spencer Ware and Michael Ford and receivers like Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham Jr. surrounding him, Jefferson certainly has a lot to work with, and it looks like he's finally starting to figure that out.
If Jefferson plays the way he did against Arkansas last week, the Tigers shouldn't have much problem getting out to an early lead and maintaining it throughout the game.
Why Georgia Could Cover
Georgia greatly benefits from getting to play this game basically in its backyard at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
The Bulldogs didn’t fare so well when they made the trip to Atlanta earlier in the season to face Boise State, but you could tell by the 90 percent Georgia crowd that fans aren’t hesitant about making the hour-and-a-half drive from Athens.
It should be a much more equal crowd for this game, but make no mistake about it, there will be plenty of Georgia fans rooting on their team.
The question is, will their support make a difference?
After an 0-2 start, Georgia has rallied to win 10 straight games, which has helped to cool all the talk about coach Mark Richt’s job security.
Not only does Georgia have one of the brightest young quarterbacks in college football in QB Aaron Murray, the Bulldogs also possess a top-flight defense that currently ranks in the Top 10 nationally in both scoring and total defense, giving up an average of just 271 yards and 18 points per game.
This Georgia team is experienced, supremely athletic and strong up front on both sides of the ball. Those are some pretty good foundation pieces for a team that’s looking to pull off a major upset.
You can bet that the Bulldogs will have their heels dug in for a battle, and they’ve got the strength to absorb a few early blows from LSU.
What we have to see, though, is if they have the stamina to last with the Tigers for all four quarters, something no team besides Alabama has been able to do this season.
Final Prediction: LSU 37, Georgia 17
Now that LSU has basically sealed up a spot in the BCS national championship game, you have to wonder about a possible letdown in the SEC championship game.
We’ve seen a few teams in recent years roll through the regular season and then get picked off in their conference championship game, because they didn’t bring the right amount of focus and effort, but this LSU group doesn’t seem to have that kind of makeup.
The Tigers have been playing with a chip on their shoulder all season long, and coach Les Miles has done a masterful job of controlling his team’s attitude.
It doesn’t look like any team in the country can match LSU’s swagger right now, and even though Georgia should come into the game ready to play, I still think the Tigers will win this one in pretty convincing fashion given that they’ve got the opportunity to make another statement before they get down to New Orleans.