This Saturday the Georgia Bulldogs will visiting the Vanderbilt Commodores in what will be both the season and conference opener for both teams. Kickoff is set for 7:30 EST at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville and will be televised on the SEC Network.
You are definitely going to want to shop for the best odds if you are wagering on this game. You can get Georgia as low as -21 and Vanderbilt at +22. Same thing with the total, which is 57.5 or 58.
Click on the link for a full look at the Week 1 CFB odds and for more links to our game previews.
Georgia vs Vanderbilt Vegas Game Odds & Betting Predictions
A lot of people wondered how Georgia would bounce back in 2018 after that crushing OT loss to Alabama in the title game two years ago. For the second straight year the Bulldogs finished the regular-season 11-1 and won the SEC East. They would have been back in the playoffs had they not blown another late lead against the Crimson Tide. This time in the SEC title bout. Georgia would end up losing to Texas in their bowl to finish 11-3.
I think we can safely put the Bulldogs in that class of elite programs, where they just keep reloading the roster with top tier talent. Probably just on the outside looking in at teams like Alabama and Clemson. A real testament to head coach Kirby Smart and the job he’s done in Athens.
Georgia will have 12 starters back (6 offense, 6 defense) and will have an experienced junior quarterback in Jake Fromm guiding a loaded offense. The defense is in a lot better shape than it was a year ago, as they go from only bringing back 50.2% of their tackles to returning 72.9%.
The Commodores are just 24-38 in the 5 seasons under head coach Derek Mason, with a mere 9-31 mark in the SEC during this stretch. It doesn’t look great, but it might the best Vanderbilt can hope for. They are at such a disadvantage in terms of recruiting that they need everything to go right just to be competitive in a conference like the SEC.
Last year the Commodores won their final two games of the regular-season to get back to a bowl. They would end up losing to Baylor in their bowl game, but those extra practices were huge for this team. Vanderbilt will have just 12 starters back (7 offense, 5 defense) and must replace the school’s all-time leading passer in Kyle Shurmur.
Believe it or not, Vanderbilt actually upset Georgia 17-16 as a 14-point road in Kirby Smart’s first season with the Bulldogs. Georgia hasn’t messed around with the Commodores in the two meetings since. Bulldogs won 45-14 as a 17-point road favorite in 2017 and 41-13 as a 26-point home favorite last year.
College Football Free Pick Against the Spread: Vanderbilt +22
I would have to lean towards taking the points with the Commodores at home. It’s hard to not take a SEC home team getting more than 3 touchdowns, even in a lopsided matchup like this. You also have to assume the books have inflated the number here, as the public is not going to feel confident to back Vanderbilt.
Click here for more free college football picks from our experts on staff.
The big concern has to be how the offense replaces Shurmur and it’s even more of a question mark given that Mason is making everyone wait until Saturday to find out who the starter will be. The battle is between junior Deuce Wallace and grad transfer Riley Neal, who started 32 games over 4-years at Ball State.
That’s at least reason to be optimistic. Wallace was pushing Shurmur in 2018 before being suspended for the year and Neal put up decent numbers with the Cardinals. Whoever wins the job will also have the luxury of playing alongside a talented trio of playmakers in running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn, wide out Kalija Lipscomb and tight end Jared Pinkney. All three of which earned All-SEC honors last year.
If Vanderbilt can find a way to stay on the field offensively and not just go 3-and-out every possession early, that will greatly increase their chances of covering. If they can put some points on the scoreboard, this might end up being a lot closer than Georgia wants it.
This is also a game we know the Commodore faithful are going to show up for. Any time you get a team as highly ranked as Georgia coming into your stadium for a night game, it gets the juices flowing. I expect an electric atmosphere. It’s far from my favorite play, but I would take the big number with the home team if I had to.