NCAAF Week 5 Expert Picks – Tennessee at No. 12 Georgia From Athens, GAJosh Bailey
The Tennessee Volunteers will look to bounce back from their first loss of the season when they visit a Georgia Bulldogs team that is looking for a real foe after blowing their last opponent off the field.
Tennessee at No. 12 Georgia
When: Saturday, September 27, 2014
Where: Sanford Stadium, Athens, Georgia
Kickoff: 12:00 PM ET
Spread: Georgia -18
The two rivals will square off in their Week 5 SEC battle on Saturday live from Sanford Stadium.
Georgia vs. Tennessee Saturday @ 12pm Sanford Stadium Gates Open – 10:30am BE EARLY, BE LOUD, WEAR RED! pic.twitter.com/y8qhyfoLkT
— Georgia Bulldogs (@UGAAthletics) September 25, 2014
NCAAF Week 5 Expert Picks Preview feat. Vols Vs. Bulldogs
Tennessee (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS) got man-handled in its 34-10 Week 3 loss to Oklahoma while failing to cover the spread as a 21-point road dog. To fall to 0-2 ATS over their last two games.
Volunteers second-year head coach Butch Jones knows it will take some time for his young team to mature.
"Our young football team is going to find out what life is in the SEC with the grind that we are about to embark on," said Jones.
The Volunteers have their share of injuries right now and enter this contest with wide receivers Von Pearson and Josh Smith both battling high ankle sprains. Pearson has already been deemed unfit for this contest while Smith will likely be a game-time decision.
Tennessee is averaging 27.3 points per game (83rd) and has been very solid on defense in ranking inside the Top 50 in every significant category, including points allowed (20.0 ppg, 32nd). The Volunteers have played a whopping 22 true freshmen this season, the most of any Football Bowl Subdivision program.
— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) September 25, 2014
Georgia (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) laid a huge, 66-0 smackdown on overmatched Troy in its Week 4 matchup to cover the spread as an insane 41-point home favorite just one week after getting the shirt end of the stick in their heartbreaking 38-35 Week 3 loss to South Carolina as a 6.5-point road fave.
Despite their latest win, the loss to the Gamecocks remains vividly etched in the mind of head coach Mark Richt who said his team learned a few things from that painful loss, particularly his defensive secondary starters, which includes one true freshman in Dominick Sanders and one redshirt freshman in Aaron Davis.
"There were a couple mistakes that could have been critical errors that we kind of got away with, so we’re still not 100 percent on getting lined up right," Richt said. "But we’re getting a lot better. The communication is getting a lot better, and we’re still playing a lot of guys. So there’s still a big learning curve back there, but I do feel like we’re getting better."
The Bulldogs have their eyes set on winning the SEC East despite their loss to Georgia.
"It still looks wide open to me," Richt said. "Now, if we don’t win Saturday, it won’t be very wide open for us. But I think everybody feels that way. I doubt anything will be settled until there are maybe one or two games to go."
"Hopefully he’ll have more energy next week because we’re going to need it," Richt said.
Game Analysis: I like the Georgia Bulldogs to win this contest, but I don’t think they’re going to cover the college football betting line as a nearly three-touchdown favorite against a Volunteers team that may be young, but one that is still improving.
I liked the way the Vols never quit against an Oklahoma team that I believe should be ranked No. 1 in the nation and I believe Tennessee is going to cover the spread in a contest that is a lot closer than most people expect.
Last season Tennessee lost to Georgia 34-31 but easily covered the spread as a 13.5-point home dog after cashing in one season earlier as an identical 13.5-point underdog.
As a matter of fact, the Vols have covered the spread in six of the last eight meetings and four of their L/5 road games against the Bulldogs and will take on a Georgia team that has compiled a pitiful 1-6-1 ATS mark in their last eight games against conference opponents.
My NCAAF Week 5 Expert Pick: Tennessee +18 Points
If you like this pick, then you’ll want to bet on Michigan State tas a 31.5-point home favorite over Wyoming.