The Georgia Bulldogs are ready to open their 2017 season with a home game against the Appalachian State Mountaineers. The game will kickoff at 6:30 on Saturday, September 2, at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia. The game can be seen on ESPN.

The Bulldogs opened as 14-point favorites and that line has not changed one way or another. The over/under for this contest is listed at 45.5 points. Click here for a full list of Week 1 betting odds.

Georgia vs. Appalachian State Betting Line & Game Preview

The fans in Athens chased Mark Richt out of town because he didn’t win enough, and so they had to be a little disappointed with an 8-5 record during Kirby Smart’s first year as head coach. To make matters worse, that season included losses to Tennessee, Florida, Georgia Tech, and even lowly Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs also had several wins against lesser teams that were too close for comfort.

Suffice it to say that there’s some skepticism in Georgia despite the belief that the Bulldogs have the talent to win the SEC East. Georgia’s season opener against a tricky Appalachian State team could go a long way toward setting the tone for the season ahead.

Meanwhile, Appalachian State is a program that’s trending upward under head coach Scott Satterfield. The Mountaineers made the leap to FBS football and the Sun Belt Conference in 2014 and they already have a conference championship on their resume. They also hold a record of 21-5 over the past two seasons.

Most people may remember Appalachian State’s historic upset of Michigan in 2007. The Mountaineers have yet to pull off an equally stunning win since then, but they’re working their way up to it. In last season’s opener, Appalachian State took Tennessee to overtime, and so the Mountaineers will travel to Georgia knowing they can hang in there with one of the big boys from the SEC.

Free College Football Betting Selection: Under 45.5 points

The best bet in this game is the game being low scoring and the two teams combining for fewer than 45.5 points. Georgia was one of the best defensive teams in the SEC last year, and they have nearly everybody back this season, so they should already be clicking on all cylinders for the season opener.

On the other hand, Georgia’s offense has some questions and may be in the midst of a transition year. The Bulldogs hope to run the ball effectively with proven running backs like Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, although the loss of three offensive linemen from a season ago could make that difficult. Georgia is also hoping that quarterback Jacob Eason can take a step forward after an inconsistent freshman year, but it remains to be seen whether he’s ready to do that.

Meanwhile, the Appalachian State defense has a lot of experience. The Mountaineers boast a strong defensive front and a solid if unspectacular secondary. It’s a unit that should be able to contain Georgia’s offense enough to both keep them in the game and keep the score low, making the under a good bet.

Click here for more free betting picks from our expert handicappers.

As for the game itself, I cautiously lean toward Appalachian State. This Mountaineers team is very capable of pulling off an upset. Quarterback Taylor Lamb has three years of experience as a starter under his belt and is one of the best quarterbacks in the country that no one knows about. The Georgia defense poses a huge challenge for him, but he’s ready, and he has two quality running backs in Jalin Moore, the Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year in 2016, and Terrence Upshaw to give Appalachian State a balanced attack.

An upset minded Mountaineers team should at least keep things closer, allowing them to beat the spread. However, Georgia’s defense is a little scary and could potentially shut down a team like Appalachian State. Also, a late defensive touchdown could turn a close game into a comfortable margin of victory for the Bulldogs that beats the spread, so betting on the Mountaineers may only be for the bold.