Georgia, the No. 2-ranked team in the nation, will be at home under the lights taking on SEC rival Vanderbilt this Saturday night. But could this be a trap game for the Dawgs with LSU looming next week?
Georgia is now 5-0 after their 38-12 victory over Tennessee this past Saturday and in theory should have an easy time of it again this week against another overmatched SEC rival in Vanderbilt. The Vols and Commodores are teams are of a similar caliber, so it will be like playing Tennessee all over again only with a swankier name and different uniforms. The results should be about the same as well, but some suspect that the Dawgs could fall victim to looking ahead to the following week with a date against undefeated (as of now) LSU, making this the proverbial “trap game” from a betting perspective at Sportsbook Review’s top-rated books.
Last week Georgia’s victory was more notable for its dual quarterback approach, which saw highly-touted freshman Justin Fields take the field and rush for a pair of touchdowns while sophomore starter Jake Fromm had an uneventful day as he connected on 16 of 22 passing for 185 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. The emphasis was on a ground-and-pound attack that included five Georgia rushing touchdowns (from three players) and a workmanlike performance from the defense that limited the Volunteers to 66 yards rushing.
The Commodores are coming off a surprisingly close contest over FCS entry Tennessee State in which they were down by three at the half to ultimately edge their scrappy opponents by the score of 31-27 as 28½ point home chalk. If we are talking about “trap games” then perhaps that was Vanderbilt’s as they took on a lightly regarded opponent with a heavy hitter due up the following week in Georgia. That’s how trap games work, and Vandy could be the Bulldogs’ Tennessee State this week.
Vanderbilt senior QB Kyle Shurmur was 22 of 29 for 297 yards and three touchdown strikes but his two interceptions blemished his otherwise stellar passing performance. Junior tailback Ke’Shawn Vaughn rushed for 146 yards and a trip into the end zone. Offensively, it was an impressive day but their pass defense left much to be desired after Tigers signal caller Demry Croft burned the Commodores for 269 yards and three passing TDs.
Last season, the Bulldogs traveled to Vanderbilt and drew away to a 45-14 victory and easily covered the 16½ point spread. However, in 2016 it was the Commodores who visited the Bulldogs and pulled off a stunning 17-16 win as 14-point road dogs. This could be a case of Georgia head coach Kirby Smart keeping his horses healthy for the big showdown with LSU and continuing his two-quarterback system, which means less throwing by Fromm and more running from Fields. Whenever a team focuses on the run, it chews up the clock and is nothing but good news for those who are backing a big underdog like Vanderbilt.
A quick check over to Sportsbook Review, the very best resource for all things sports betting including up to the minute lines from all the best online sportsbooks tell us that the Bulldogs are 26½ point favorites over Vandy. It should be noted that last week Georgia won their game by double digits but failed to cover the 31-point impost over Tennessee. Speaking of which, Vanderbilt will be the fourth team hailing from the great state of Tennessee that Georgia has played in their first six games of the season.
There isn’t much doubt as to which team will emerge victorious on Saturday night, but there are a couple of moving parts that seem to favor the Commodores for wagering purposes. First, Vanderbilt will be smarting from a poor defensive performance and will get a chance to redeem themselves against a punishing Georgia squad. Second, is the overlook factor we discussed earlier with LSU lying in wait for the Bulldogs and coach Smart possibly resting his starters after Georgia stretches their lead. Lastly, the Commodores are 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings with Georgia, and with all those points be handed to them on Saturday night it could be five covers over their last six.