Preview and Prediction: Georgia at Tennessee

Georgia has won four games in a row over Tennessee since the Vols won in Athens on a Hail Mary as time expired.

Georgia Bulldogs at Tennessee Volunteers

Line: Georgia -20

Total: 56

Where: Neyland Stadium

When: Saturday, 11/13 at 3:30 p.m. ET

TV: CBS

The hottest team in college football will be looking for another blowout victory on Saturday afternoon.

Top-ranked Georgia is on a 13-game winning streak and has won its last eight games by an average of 28 points. The Bulldogs are looking to extend that streak against Tennessee on a Saturday afternoon in Knoxville.

Oddsmakers opened Georgia as a 21.5-point road favorite, but that number has moved through a semi-key number on its way to -20. The total opened at 54 and has been bet up to 56 in a correlated move that is based on Tennessee’s offensive success this season.

The Vols rank No. 21 nationally in yards per game (457.7). They have made one surprising adjustment as far as their tempo goes, though. Tennessee has averaged 81.0 plays per game at home, but that number drops significantly to 64.8 on the road.

They have faced four top 25 teams this season, losing to Florida, Ole Miss and Alabama—they did not cover the spread in any of those losses. Last week was a bounce-back effort from Tennessee, as it picked up a 45-42 win at then-No. 18 Kentucky.

Quarterback Hendon Hooker continues to put up impressive numbers at the helm of the fast-paced offense. He has completed 69.4 percent of his passes for 1,894 yards and 21 touchdowns. Hooker has also avoided catastrophic mistakes, throwing just two interceptions.

Running back Tiyon Evans has rushed for 525 yards and six touchdowns on 81 carries, but he has dealt with a lingering ankle injury. He has just eight carries over his last three games, putting his availability for this game in question. Backup Jabari Small is dealing with a shoulder injury, so freshman Jaylen Wright is probably going to play a key role in this game.

Hooker’s top targets have been Velus Jones Jr. and Cedric Tillman. Wide receiver JaVonta Payton has been a big play threat, averaging 26.1 yards per reception. He has scored a touchdown in six of his last seven games.

Tennessee will need to avoid catastrophic mistakes against Georgia’s defense on Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs have only allowed five total touchdowns in nine games, allowing just 6.6 points per game. They have not given up more than 13 points in a game this season and are facing a Tennessee offensive line that has allowed a league-high 33 sacks.

Georgia’s offense is No. 46 nationally in yards per game, but it averages an SEC-best 6.89 yards per play. Quarterback Stetson Bennett has completed 66.7 percent of his passes for 1,412 yards and 14 touchdowns. JT Daniels is back from his injury for the first time since Week 4, but Bennett is expected to get most of the reps.

Freshman tight end Brock Bowers leads the Bulldogs with 28 catches for 493 yards and six touchdowns. Georgia does not make many mistakes, allowing a league-low five sacks. Running backs Zamir White and James Cook have both averaged five yards per carry.

They are facing a Tennessee defense that is allowing 28.2 points per game. One of its glaring weaknesses has been third down, where it ranks last defensively. The Vols are also the SEC’s worst defensive team in the red zone.

Georgia has gone 20-6 against the spread in its last 26 road games and is 23-8 ATS in its last 31 road games overall. Tennessee is 11-23 in its last 34 home games, but most of those contests came under a different coaching staff. Georgia has gone ‘under’ in its last five games, while Tennessee has gone ‘over’ in four of its last five games.

The pick: Tennessee +20

Georgia has consistently been scoring around 35 points per game in conference play. The Bulldogs are going to need to score more than that to cover this number on Saturday afternoon. If we have learned one thing about Tennessee’s offense under Josh Heupel, it is that the Vols are going to go down swinging. They had multiple quick strike plays against Alabama and have gone over the 40-point mark against three conference opponents. Neyland Stadium is going to be rocking on Saturday afternoon, so I think the Vols deserve a full three points for home-field advantage. The line is not as appealing at +20 as it was at +21.5, but I think this is still a playable number. Tennessee will cover the spread as long as Hooker continues to take care of the ball.

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