Much like his mentor Nick Saban did at Alabama, Kirby Smart had some struggles in his first season as a head coach for the Georgia Bulldogs. The Bulldogs went just 4-4 in SEC play and only beat one conference foe by more than one score. Despite this, many observers think that the Dawgs are the favorites in the SEC East and Vegas reflects this sentiment as well. Now it’s time to see whether Smart will be like Saban and show that he was worth the money in his second season on the job in Athens, or if he will be just another one of Saban’s acolytes that don’t live up to the hype outside of Tuscaloosa.
As successful Kirby smart was as Nick Saban’s defensive coordinator in Tuscaloosa, you knew it was only a matter of time until he put his thumbprint on the Georgia Bulldogs’ program. It took one season. After the Dawgs went 8-5 and posted a losing record against the college football betting odds in his inaugural campaign, they went on to win 13 games last season to breeze to the SEC East title and participate in the College Football Playoffs where they ultimately fell to the SEC rival Alabama Crimson Tide in the championship game.
Not a bad first two years if you’re a fan of the boys from Athens! Especially sports bettors who rode the Bulldogs to a money-making 11-4 campaign that saw them cover each of their last five games of the season.
Expectations are once again high entering 2018 with UGA the odds on -175 favorite to capture back-to-back division titles, as well as 8-1 dogs to win the whole damn thing. Only Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State have shorter odds to be the victor of the CFP. Even with a bevy of defensive talent having since moved on, Georgia has still been lined with a 10.5 game season win total with 12 overall games on the docket.
The Bulldogs boasted one of the very best stop units in the entire country last season. It conceded just over 16.0 points per game and surrendered less than 295 total yards per game. Both of those outputs saw the team rank No. 6 overall in both categories. Unfortunately, a bevy of difference makers will not be suiting up for the Dawgs on Saturday’s this season. In fact, DC Mel Tucker will be without eight guys that started in last year’s title game.
Before you get all bent out of shape, Georgia will be just fine. Some key holdovers remain and the talent pool has only gotten better since Smart’s arrival. Like the Crimson Tide, the Bulldogs will have to lean on the offense early before the stop unit is able to gel.
That’s not a bad thing when you take into account the offense is loaded with firepower! That’s even with the departures of stud running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel who will be lining up on Sundays likely for the next decade. The underrated Jake From is back under center, and he’s got a ton of pass catching talent to get the pigskin to in the forms of Mecole Hardman, Terry Godwin and Riley Ridley. Also keep an eye out for Justin Fields. He’s a five-star recruit that could light the college landscape on fire if he thrives early. Be on the lookout for his odds to win the Heisman Trophy once the nation catches wind of him. Hopefully before to get the most value!
The biggest thing to love about the Dawgs’ offense in 2018 is the front wall. The hogs up front are talented, experienced and hungry to build upon the No. 9 ranked rushing offense it helped open holes for last season. It’s scary how much of mirror images both Georgia and Alabama are entering the season with the offenses stacked and the defenses representing the lone question marks.
We’ll get a better idea of what this year’s team is all about when they travel to Columbia to battle South Carolina in Week 2. Should they come out of it with a dub, the team’s biggest threat for a loss will come in Baton Rouge Week 7. By then, Georgia’s defense should be coming into its own. Georgia will then close the year out with three home games, one road game at Kentucky and a neutral field bout with Florida. With the way the team enters the season, it couldn’t have asked for a more manageable schedule. Provided it stays relatively healthy and the young guys come into their won rapidly, Georgia will once again have a say in who gets to participate in this year’s College Football Playoffs.
Week 1: Austin Peay vs. Georgia, Saturday, September 1, 3:30 p.m. ET – ESPN
Week 2: Georgia at South Carolina, Saturday, September 8, 3:30 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 3: Middle Tennessee State at Georgia, Saturday, September 15, 7:15 p.m. ET – ESPN2
Week 4: Georgia at Missouri, Saturday, September 22
Week 5: Tennesseeat Georgia, Saturday, September 29
Week 6: Vanderbilt at Georgia, Saturday, October 6
Week 7: Georgia at LSU, Saturday, October 20
Week 8: Bye Week
Week 9: Georgia vs. Florida, Saturday, October 27, 3:30 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 10: Georgia at Kentucky, Saturday, November 3
Week 11: Auburn at Georgia, Saturday, November 10
Week 12: UMASS at Georgia, Saturday, November 17
Week 13: Georgia Tech at Georgia, Saturday, November 24
The College football season is here, and that means there are plenty of stats and information out there to make accurate decisions when investing in the betting lines and totals moving forward.
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Here are the individual conference break downs for each conference. If you click on the conference links we will also break down each school team by team sorted by conference.
|SEC Conference||Big 10 Conference|
|ACC Conference||Big 12 Conference|
|Pac 12 Conference||Big East Conference|
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