A pair of SEC East rivals will get together this weekend when the Georgia Bulldogs play the Tennessee Volunteers. Kickoff is set for 3:30 EST on Saturday, September 30 at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee. The game will be nationally televised on CBS.
Oddsmakers have made the Bulldogs 7.5-point road favorites in this game. The over/under for the Bulldogs and Volunteers is set at 47.5 points. Click here for a full list of Week 5 betting odds and links to game previews.
Tennessee vs. Georgia Vegas Game Preview
The no. 7 Bulldogs already have two marquee wins on the season, beating Notre Dame on the road by a point and dominating Mississippi State 31-3 last week. Georgia also took care of business against Appalachian State and Samford.
Georgia has been even more impressive when you consider that they’ve gone 4-0 with a freshman at quarterback. Of course, with Nick Chubb running the ball the way he is, gaining 6.3 yards per carry, Jake Fromm hasn’t been asked to do too much early in his career.
The Volunteers, meanwhile, are searching for answers. They suffered a devastating loss to Florida on the last play of the game two weeks ago. They followed that up with a win that felt like a loss, beating UMass 17-13.
At one point against UMass, quarterback Quinten Dormady was pulled in favor of Jarrett Guarantano. Of course, Guarantano wasn’t effective either, and so Dormady returned to finish the game. But it’s obvious the Vols are not getting what they want out of the quarterback position right now, with head coach Butch Jones taking some of the heat.
Free Vegas Spread Pick & Prediction: Tennessee +7.5
The Volunteers are obviously not in a good place, but they’ll show up and play their guts out against Georgia. These two teams always seem to play close games regardless of where they fall in the polls. The last time either team won by double digits was 2010, and three of the last four meetings have been decided by a field goal, so I have to believe that Tennessee can at least beat a 7.5-point spread at home.
The Tennessee offense has plenty of questions, but I expect the Volunteers to be amped to play on the defensive side of the ball. I’d be shocked if the Volunteers don’t make it a point to stack the box and try to slow down the Georgia running game and force Fromm to beat them. The caveat is that the Vols have been susceptible to giving up chunk yardage in the running game the past couple of weeks, so it’s possible that Chubb or Sony Michel can break off a few long runs.
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Of course, facing Georgia’s defense may be the biggest challenge the Vols face this week. Running back John Kelly has rushed for at least 80 yards in all four games this season. He’s key to the Volunteers moving the ball consistently against the Bulldogs.
Unfortunately for Tennessee, teams without a mobile quarterback have struggled to run the ball against Georgia. Dormady doesn’t offer much in the running game, so it could all be on Kelly’s shoulders. Fortunately, Kelly is averaging 20 carries per game. It’s likely he’ll be asked to take the ball at least that many times on Saturday.
The key for Tennessee is to avoid falling behind so they don’t have to abandon the running game. Even then, beating Georgia is a tall task. But with a conference rival at home, the Vols will show up to play and a strong defensive effort will keep them within a touchdown, even if they don’t have the offensive prowess to upset Georgia.