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Georgia Bulldogs vs. Tennessee Volunteers Point Spread - Pick

Georgia Bulldogs (4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS) vs. Tennessee Volunteers (3-1 SU, 1-3 ATS)
College Football Week 5
Date/Time: Saturday, September 30, 2017 at 3:30PM EST
Where: Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, Tennessee
TV: CBS

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: UGA -7.5/TENN +7.5
Over/Under Total: 47

The Georgia Bulldogs come to Knoxville to take on the Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday in SEC action. Tennessee sits at 3-1, coming off a 17-13 win over UMass on Saturday. They have only covered one spread this season and have already seen some of the heart-attack finishes they had last season. Saturday's win was routine enough, though way too close for comfort for the 28-point favorites. Georgia was more-thorough with their week 4 task, blowing out a ranked Mississippi State team and now getting a top-ten ranking. Can Georgia continue on this road they're on or will Tennessee suddenly snap into shape or at least give Georgia a typical Tennessee sweat that comes down to big theatrics at the end?

Tennessee is 3-1, but the way they got here was hardly as simple as that. In week one, they overcame a few different big deficits and came back to beat Georgia Tech, with a stopped two-point conversion being the margin of difference in a big 42-41 overtime win. After an easy win over outmatched Indiana State, they came out on the wrong side of a heart-halting game against Florida, when after tying the game with 50 seconds left, they gave up a Hail Mary with time running out on a 63-yard TD pass in a total defensive collapse.

After losing a game like that and being at home against a UMass team that has shown very little since joining the FBS, you'd expect a lot better than a 17-13 win over a winless squad. The offense is struggling massively across the board. Whether it's penalties, numerous drops, missed field goals, a lack of poise, no attention to detail, or a total lack of focus, Tennessee was simply not up to par on Saturday. If you can't take it to a winless Massachusetts team at home, who are you going to take it to? We see a total lack of leadership and a general dearth of effort on this side of the ball. The absence of Joshua Dobbs and others are really being felt. After wining the job from Jarrett Guarantano, QB Quinten Dormady has been decent, but doesn't have much bankable aerial support around him. All they could muster was a second half field goal on Saturday against a pressing Minutemen team and were saved by the "D." Running back John Kelly was over 100 yards and is a real weapon. But this group was a massive letdown on Saturday and better get things figured out quickly or Georgia will be a lot tougher to deal with than Massachusetts.

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The Tennessee defense was big on Saturday, allowing the Volunteers to avert an embarrassing defeat. They had to find a lot of answers late, as their huge underdog opponent threatened to take the lead multiple times with the Tennessee offense on sabbatical. The pass-rush was on-point, with linebacker Colton Jumper registering 2.5 sacks and LB Elliot Berry adding another. LB Quart'e Sapp had a big day. Up-front, Jonathan Kongbo was productive, as well. They have been both clutch this season, as well as the opposite. With this defense, things can get weird pretty quick—both for good and bad.

Georgia has been pretty tough this season so far, looking as good as they have in a number of years, now in coach Mark Richt's second season at the helm. They opened with a routine win over Appalachian State, before scoring a one-point road win over ranked Notre Dame. A 42-14 win over the FCS Samford Bulldogs followed, before Georgia took on a ranked Mississippi State team, a game the Bulldogs took over in pretty quick order, with a tremendous performance from their defense. They allowed a mere field goal on the night en route to a 31-3 win for the Bulldogs. Those who bet on Georgia as small 2.5-point favorites had among the easiest covers of the week.

The Georgia offense looked a lot better this past week in the big win over Mississippi State. The offensive line, which was manhandled at times against Notre Dame, got a lot of push against the Tigers D-line on Saturday. Better line play should immeasurably boost the play of freshman quarterback Jake Fromm. And we saw what a wealth of options they have in the backfield, with Nick Chubb still doing his thing, with Sony Michel a handful as always, along with D'Andre Swift, who had 69 yards against Mississippi St. Having a good line with a deep cast of playmakers in the backfield will help the young Fromm come around to speed. Aerially, Terry Godwin is still a big part of this offense and caught a TD on Saturday, as did tight end Isaac Nauta, who caught a 41-yard scoring pass. Javon Wims is a big-body receiver who also figures well into this offense.

The Georgia defense held Mississippi State to just three points against a team that had scored a combined 143 points in three games and was coming off a lopsided blowout of LSU. They effectively grounded the Mississippi State air-attack, with QB Nick Fitzgerald putting up 83 yards and two picks. They have some big-time talent in the secondary, with JR Reed, along with DeAndre Baker and Dominick Sanders, both of whom had picks on Saturday. They should get Malkom Parrish back, which gives them another proven performer on defense. They have heat up-front with Jonathan Ledbetter and Trenton Alexander, along with ends Davin Bellamy and Lorenzo Carter. Inside linebackers Roquan Smith and Natrez Patrick are adept and rarely miss tackles. They might not be able to always duplicate the success they had on Saturday, but this has unquestionably been a defense that has lived up to the lofty expectations that were set in the preseason.

This is one of those games where you might be catching a team at their highest price in Georgia, against a team whose stock has plummeted in Tennessee. In other words, last week may have painted too drastic of a picture, something that can't be expected to hold up week after week. Based on what we saw last week, the urge is to forecast a Georgia rout. That could certainly still occur, but anyone who bets college football knows it's not always as easy at it looks. Tennessee could suddenly snap out of their funk, while Georgia has a letdown after a huge performance the previous week. I still see a conclusive win for the Bulldogs this week.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Georgia Bulldogs minus 7.5 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Bulldogs vs. Volunteers game by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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