Tennessee vs. Georgia Odds, Picks, Predictions (11/5/22)

It looked like Alabama vs. Tennessee would be the game of the year, but that label better fits this weekend’s high-profile SEC matchup. Georgia (No. 1 in the AP Poll) hosts Tennessee (No. 1 in the CFP Rankings) in a game that will almost certainly determine who will represent the SEC East in the conference championship and have the inside track to a playoff berth.

Will the defending champs go down, or will Tennessee’s undefeated run end? Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks and predictions for this Saturday blockbuster in Athens.

Tennessee vs. Georgia Odds

Georgia enters as an 8-point home favorite at -285 on the moneyline. The over/under is set at 66 points.

Tennessee faced a similar line in the matchup with Alabama. There could certainly be some value here for anyone who thinks Georgia isn’t as dominant as last year and just hasn’t been tested yet. At the same time, bettors might look at what Georgia did to Oregon (now the No. 8 team in the country) back in Week 1 and be convinced no one is on the Bulldogs’ level. Oddsmakers seem to be siding with the latter idea.

Tennessee vs. Georgia Prediction & Pick

Tennessee was doubted by many before the matchup with Alabama, but this offense is simply better than all others right now. That’s a huge advantage, and if any offense is equipped to beat Georgia (other than Alabama), this is the one. If this game were in Knoxville, I’d feel more confident about picking Tennessee to win outright. On the road, I still feel comfortable taking Tennessee +8.

The Bulldogs have an excellent team, but there were some cracks in the foundation against Florida last week. With a veteran piece of Georgia’s defense now gone, Tennessee is poised to at least stay in this game. We already learned in the Alabama game that Tennessee won’t be easily rattled.

Tennessee vs. Georgia Key Matchups

Tennessee is averaging 553 yards and 49.4 points per game this season. As great as Georgia’s defense might be, it’s pretty unlikely the Bulldogs come out and shut down this offense led by Heisman contender Hendon Hooker. What Georgia can do is make Tennessee receivers work for their yards. So often we’ve seen Jalin Hyatt create insane separation with defenders. The Bulldogs’ secondary might be good enough to prevent that from becoming an issue.

A significant concern for Georgia is whether the defense can generate enough pressure on Hooker. The Bulldogs have a surprisingly low sack total this season and just lost senior pass-rusher Nolan Smith for the season. A strong secondary might not matter as much if Hooker has all the time he needs to throw.

Georgia’s defense hasn’t been as dominant as it was last year, but it’s been pretty close. The Bulldogs’ run defense ranks 15th in the FBS, while their pass defense ranks 8th. In 2021, they ranked 18th and 2nd, respectively.

The most interesting part of this matchup, to me, might be how Tennessee’s defense will perform. The Vols were pretty much carved up by Bryce Young in the 52-49 win and struggled to contain Florida earlier in the season, but the unit was excellent against LSU and Kentucky. The Tennessee defense we saw in last week’s 44-6 win over Kentucky is good enough to help the Vols win this game.

Georgia still has a reputation as a defensive team, but the offense has been clicking all season. While there aren’t many big-name weapons other than Brock Bowers, there are options, options, and more options. Kirby Smart’s team has kept defenses on their toes by deploying different receivers, running backs, and tight ends. It’s fair to wonder whether a Tennessee defense that ranks 122nd out of 131 FBS teams in passing yards allowed can hold up against a force such as Bowers.

The Vols also only have one player with more than two sacks. Taking advantage of Stetson Bennett’s weaknesses is the one way to slow down Georgia’s offense, but it’s worth wondering whether they have the pass-rush to force mistakes. The good news for the Vols is that they are better equipped than just about any team in the nation to prevail in a shootout. Georgia’s defense will try to prevent a shootout altogether, but that’s easier said than done.

Dan is a lifelong sports fan and graduate of Boston University. He’s covered several sports on Instagram since he was 12 and now writes about everything from betting trends to breaking news for Lineups.

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