Two undefeated SEC teams, Georgia and Kentucky, clash on Saturday. Here is betting advice for the game. Top sportsbooks have released their odds for Saturday’s game between Kentucky and Georgia. Georgia is ranked number one after Alabama fell last week. Kentucky is ranked a very respectable 11 after remaining undefeated. For reasons that I will explain, you should play the spread for this game.
Kentucky Wildcats vs. Georgia Bulldogs
Saturday, October 16, 2021 -3:30 PM EDT at Sanford Stadium
Georgia being favored heavily is nothing new this season. Likewise, skepticism about Georgia's ability to cover such a massive spread has repeatedly been apparent. But the results speak for themselves: the Bulldogs are 5-0 ATS when favored by fewer than 30 points. Keep this trend in mind for your sports betting.
Bulldog Defense vs. Kentucky Offense
Georgia has yet to give up a touchdown this season when it wasn't already up by at least three touchdowns. Match-up-wise, the outlook is strong yet again this week for Georgia's defense. Kentucky loves to run the ball. The Wildcats own the nation's 11th-highest run-play percentage. However, Georgia ranks fourth nationally in limiting opponents to 66.5 rushing yards per game. The Bulldogs reliably make strong rush attacks look impotent.
Arkansas, for example, still ranks eighth nationally in averaging 245.7 rushing yards per game. Against Georgia, though, the Razorbacks mustered 75 yards on 29 carries in a blowout loss In a similar vein, Auburn ranks 47th is averaging 175 rushing yards per game but accrued 46 rushing yards on 29 carries.
Both Auburn and Arkansas offenses like to get talented ball-carriers out in space. Whether they tried to navigate Georgia's front seven by running North-South or to out-athlete Bulldog athletes in the open field, Georgia showed the necessary physicality and versatility. This Bulldog defense is too physical to be bullied between the tackles, but also too unified and athletic to be out-athletes in space.
Kentucky lacks the quarterback play to take the top off the Georgia defense. Will Levis, on a statistic level, is efficient. But the type of quarterback he's always been since his days at Penn State is the type who runs the ball and throws short passes. In terms of throwing touch, he has the same issues as Auburn quarterback Bo Nix, but he lacks the same playmaking ability to make something happen when the play breaks down.
Georgia's Offense Is Underrated
I suspect that one reason why bettors are consistently hesitant to bet on a heavily favored Georgia squad is that the Bulldog offense of previous years is entrenched in their minds. Over the years, Georgia has cultivated a reputation of being stronger on the defensive end, of having a scheme that severely limits its quarterback's ceiling, and of lacking notable big-play ability. Gradually, largely thanks to the hire last year of offensive coordinator Todd Monken, the Bulldog offense is improving in these respects.
This year, Georgia ranks eighth nationally in averaging 39.8 points per game and 22nd nationally in averaging 6.5 YPP (yards per play). These numbers could of course be higher if the Bulldogs would face a team that could push them. The season opener was slow, but since then the Bulldog offense has been hard to stop.
As the YPP stat indicates, the Bulldog offense is vastly capable of generating big plays, which is especially important to note because this capability makes Georgia more able to cover a large spread because it can score more points in less time.
On the ground, the Bulldog offense will call for inside zone plays where the running back executes a cut-back for a long gain. When he reaches the second level, he benefits from a smaller and more athletic group of offensive linemen executing blocks in space. In the passing game, play-action plays are a reliable way for the Bulldogs to build off their success on the ground by taking effective shots downfield.
Georgia Ground Game vs. Wildcat Defense
Being able to run is important to Georgia's offense: the Bulldogs rank 16th nationally in run-play percentage.
They are led by Zamir White and James Cook. The former averages five YPC, the latter six. Both running backs are capable of solid speed, while White, the starter, has been known as more of a physical, downhill-type runner. For Saturday's game, the Wildcat defensive line will suffer absences that contributed to the fact that LSU running back Tyrion Davis-Price ran for 147 rushing yards on 6.7 YPC last week against this Wildcat unit.
The rushing total and YPC that Davis-Price amassed against Kentucky were by far the best of the season.
Specifically, Kentucky misses the defensive tackle, Octavious Oxendine. He left Saturday's contest on crutches after collecting two sacks. In addition to the well-sized former four-star prospect, Kentucky misses monstrous nose tackle, Marquan McCall.
It is true that Georgia may miss its starting left tackle, a natural guard who's adapted to the position.
However, Xavier Truss is listed as the top backup on the depth chart. Truss is a well-sized body who played in six of 10 games last season and started the bowl game against Cincinnati. So, know for your best bets that Georgia is still well-equipped on its offensive line.
Georgia Pass Attack vs. Kentucky Defense
Defensively, Kentucky has had it incredibly easy in terms of the quality of opposing quarterbacks faced.
This is especially true of its game against Florida, whose near-victory at home over Alabama suddenly doesn't look so attractive. Unlike Florida's incompetent quarterback Emory Jones, Stetson Bennett is able to take what opposing defenses give him and then some.
Bennett actually ranks top-two nationally in both passer rating and YPA as he also benefits from a never-ending slate of pass-catchers who are stepping up. This two-dimensionality in Georgia's offense will pose a unique challenge for a Wildcat defense that will grow increasingly fatigued as Kentucky's offense struggles to move the chains. For the above reasons, invest in the Bulldogs with your NCAAF picks.
*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.