The 8-1 Georgia Bulldogs head to Auburn to face off against the 7-2 Tigers on Saturday. The Bulldogs are ranked fourth in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, while the Tigers come in 12th. Georgia has a one-game lead over Florida in the SEC East heading into the contest.
Auburn trails both Alabama and LSU in the SEC West, and its SEC Championship and College Football Playoff hopes are all but dead. Of course, winning out and getting into a good Bowl game is still in the cards.
Auburn is coming off a win at home against Ole Miss but hasn’t beaten a ranked opponent since Aug. 31 in the season opener against Oregon. The other two ranked opponents they’ve faced, Florida and LSU, have both beaten them.
Georgia is coming off of three straight wins, including a 27-0 shutout against Missouri last week. Georgia hasn’t lost since Oct. 12 in an overtime thriller against South Carolina. Georgia is a three-point favorite in the matchup, and the over/under is 44.
Georgia’s defense has put up three shutouts this season, including a week ago against the Missouri Tigers. The Bulldogs have had the best overall defense in the SEC this season, giving up only 257.8 yards per game. That’s good for fourth in the nation behind two Big Ten teams and Clemson. They’ve only allowed 218.7 since their only loss this season, which is good for third in the nation in that span.
The Bulldogs’ passing game is anchored by quarterback Jake Fromm, who, along with the defense, gets much of the glory, but they also average 210.7 yards per game on the ground, good for 23rd in the country. The Bulldogs average an even healthier 226 yards per game on the road.
The ground attack is led by junior running back D’Andre Swift, who has tallied 1,109 all-purpose yards on the season, averaging over 102 yards per game rushing.
Some Tough Breaks
Auburn, as it does every season, had another extremely difficult schedule this season, as does every other team in the SEC West. The Tigers couldn’t quite keep pace with LSU, dropping their meeting two weeks ago, 23-20. Last week, Auburn put together a much better offensive game, as freshman quarterback Bo Nix threw for 340 yards as the Tigers took down Ole Miss.
Auburn has a very strong front seven, although its defense isn’t as stout as Georgia’s. The Tigers’ running game, however, has been statistically better than the Bulldogs. Auburn averages 220 yards per game and an amazing 256 at home.
Since the rushing attack was led by sophomore JaTavarious Whitlow, and he has been sidelined for several weeks with a knee injury, the attack has been taken over by freshman D.J. Williams and senior Kam Martin. It is unknown if Whitlow will make his return against the Bulldogs on Saturday.
Auburn is 7-2 against the spread this season, and 4-1 at home. Georgia is only 5-4 against the spread this season, but oddly, is 3-0 against the spread on the road. Just as the Bulldogs’ running game gets better on the road, so does their record against the spread.
The Tigers need the Bulldogs defense to crumble and give Nix and the running game a chance to do some damage. With a bit larger spread, I’d be more comfortable taking Auburn, but with it only being 3, the pick here is the favorite. Georgia wins and covers.