Appalachian State Mountaineers vs. Georgia Bulldogs
Date and Time: Saturday, September 2, 2017, 6:15 p.m. ET
Location: Sanford Stadium, Athens, GA
Opening College Football Odds: Georgia -13.5, O/U 47
Appalachian State vs. Georgia TV Coverage: ESPN
App State has won 21 games over the course of the last two seasons, and they have a man under center in Taylor Lamb who has won 27 games as a starting quarterback in his career. When you've got that much experience, that type of winning pedigree and a quarterback who has played in some big games like this one, you're always going to be live.
Go ahead and look all over offense, and you're going to find returners for Appalachian State. The Mountaineers have their top two running backs returning, their starting quarterback, their top receiver, and four of their five offensive linemen from a team that easily led the Sun Belt in rushing.
Even on defense, all four members of this secondary are back, as are four of the seven in the front seven. This 3-4 defense has the potential to be athletic enough to hang with the Bulldogs, and that'll be the key to watch for in this game.
Let's not paint UGA as a team that is dead in the water in this opener, though. The Bulldogs have some supreme talent, and they'll feel like they should win the SEC East this year, ending Florida's two-year reign at the top of the division.
Jacob Eason was one of the highest-touted quarterback recruits in Georgia's history. He didn't pan out last year as a freshman, but pivots tend to take big steps between their first and second years when they're forced into starting roles.
Eason is going to make his mistakes for sure, but that doesn't mean he isn't protected. Ten of the 11 starters from last year's defense that ranked in the top 25 in both rushing and passing are back, and that should make this unit one of the most devastating in the nation with Kirby Smart coaching it up.
Betting Trends of Note
For as good as Appalachian State was last season, the team was whooped early on against Miami and ultimately lost 45-10. That game was at home, and it came with the Mountaineers set at +4.5 after taking Tennessee into overtime on Rocky Top two weeks earlier.
This program has come a long way for sure, but its games against the top teams haven't ended well historically. The collapse against the Volunteers didn't help morale any in overtime, while App State was also beaten two seasons ago by Clemson 41-10. Little did we know at the time that the Tigers were going to play in back-to-back National Championship Games, but still, losing 41-10 isn't going to cover many spreads when you've got 10+ win teams on the field every season.
Appalachian State vs. Georgia Free Picks
We're going to break this game down in its simplest terms: Georgia is a top 15 program this year. Appalachian State is looked upon as just another Sun Belt team, albeit a good one at that.
Yet this spread is still only listed at +14.5 at all of the top online sportsbooks in spite of the fact that over three-quarters of the bets are on UGA? This is a tricky game for the Dawgs, and though we do think they'll end up winning, App State is as live as live could be.
College Football ATS Pick: Appalachian State +14.5 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Georgia 23, Appalachian State 20