Even with all that chalk, the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs can beat the NCAAF odds this Saturday when they visit the Kentucky Wildcats.
Georgia Bulldogs vs. Kentucky Wildcats
Saturday, November 19, 2022 – 03:30 PM EST at Kroger Field
Heavy lies the head that wears the crown. The No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs (10-0 SU, 6-4 ATS) have been saddled with some pretty heavy odds this year, as they defend their hard-won national championship in the double-tough SEC. But Georgia has remained profitable despite laying double digits in all but one of their regular season contests.
They’ll probably bag the cash again this Saturday when they visit the Kentucky Wildcats (6-4 SU and ATS). Georgia may look chalky as 21.5-point road faves on the NCAAF odds board at Bookmaker (visit our Bookmaker Review), but the early consensus reports show 100% support for the ‘Dawgs. And you know what they say: Early money is sharp money. Let’s see if they’re right.
Is Georgia Overrated?
Old-school handicappers would tell you that it’s usually a bad idea to bet on the defending champs. They may be right, but the Bulldogs aren’t your usual chalky team. They’re still overshadowed by Alabama in the SEC, even if the Crimson Tide have already lost twice this year.
For that matter, the public money charts out there on the interwebs have Kentucky pulling in more action this year than either of those conference heavyweights or the Tennessee Volunteers, for that matter. That’s a big surprise if said charts are accurate.
With that “fade the public” mantra not applying here, we turn to the analytics, where Georgia once again finds itself in the first place (No. 7 offense, No. 1 defense) on the F+ charts at Football Outsiders. The ‘Dawgs are also No. 1 at plus-24.05 on the Simple Rating System at Sports Reference, ahead of Ohio State in both cases.
On top of all that, the projections are on Georgia’s side... well, most of them at least. For example, Jeff Sagarin at The USA Today has the Bulldogs winning by 21.23 points using his Rating formula, and 25.02 points using his Recent formula. We’re definitely counting on Georgia to maintain its recent form this Saturday.
Why Do Bettors Love Kentucky?
Very good question. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that this program is competing with the big boys in the SEC, having cracked the Top 25 in 4 of their last 5 seasons under head coach Mark Stoops. That includes 4 straight bowl wins, including last year’s 20-17 Citrus Bowl triumph over Iowa (+3).
The Wildcats also got off to a very strong start this year, sweeping their first 4 games at 3-1 ATS to peak at No. 7 in the polls. And that’s where things started to go sideways. Kentucky has won just 3 of their 7 SEC matchups, and they’re coming off an embarrassing 24-21 loss to Vanderbilt as 17-point home faves, breaking Vandy’s 0-26 SU slump in conference play.
Numbers don’t lie: The ‘Cats are only No. 38 overall (No. 74 offense, No. 13 defense) on the F+ charts this year and No. 46 overall at plus-5.31 SRS. The obvious culprit is the offensive line, which lost center Luke Fortner (now with Jacksonville) and tackle Darian Kinnard (now with Kansas City) to the NFL.
With tackle Dare Rosenthal also leaving Lexington, the Wildcats now find themselves ranked No. 129 out of the 131 FBS teams in sack rate; QB Will Levis has already been turfed 34 times this year, compared to 7 sacks for Georgia QB Stetson Bennett. This will not do.
Why Not Bet the Under Instead?
That might make sense given Kentucky’s offense/defense imbalance. Kentucky has the Under at 9-1 this year, including all 7 of their conference games, and they’ll be facing a Georgia team (Under 6-3-1) with the best defense in the nation.
Unfortunately for us, the total for Saturday’s game is just too damn low. Bookmaker has dropped their Over/Under from 50 to 48.5 points since the open; most of the best sportsbooks still have the total at 49.5 as we go to press, but that’s still too low according to the models we’re looking at.
We’re blaming the weather for this one. Saturday’s forecast calls for temperatures around the freezing mark at press time, and crosswinds of 10-15 mph at Kroger Field, exactly the kind of conditions that cause public bettors to go ham on the Under.
As you probably know by now, it’s the rain (or heavy snow) that really messes up team offense, not cold temperatures. Stronger winds would help, too, but without any precipitation in the forecast.
We’ll stick with Georgia and the spread for our NCAAF picks, thank you kindly.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.