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Free Pick Breakdown, Odds & Prediction: Tennessee vs. Georgia (11/5/2022)

By Michael Savio
November 3, 2022
Photo by: Scott Cunningham - Getty Images

#1 Tennessee Volunteers vs #3 Georgia Bulldogs (11/5 @ 3:30 PM EST)

Spread: Georgia -8
Money Line: Tennessee +230 / Georgia -290
Total: 66

Overview and Betting Info

Saturday afternoon will bring a battle between two of the country’s top teams as the #1 Tennessee Volunteers (8-0) visit the #3 Georgia Bulldogs (8-0) in Athens. Georgia is again undefeated, with their last loss coming back in November 2020. The Volunteers will be looking for their first win over the Bulldogs since 2016.

Tennessee is 7-1 against the spread this year, covering both road games. They’ve hit the over in three of their last five.

Georgia is 4-4 against the spread this year, going 2-2 at home. They’ve only hit the over three times this season.

Tennessee Volunteers

The Vol’s offense has propelled them to this incredible 8-0 start, averaging a whopping 553 yards per game. The unit is led by quarterback and Heisman favorite Hendon Hooker. In his senior season, he has 2,338 yards through the air, a combined 25 touchdowns, and a career-best 71% completion rate. He’s helped by one of the country’s top receivers, Jalin Hyatt. The junior broke out this season and leads the SEC in yards (907) and touchdowns (14). This includes an absolute monster game against Alabama, where he went for over 200 yards and five touchdowns.

The Vol’s run game has done a great job supporting their elite passing offense, thanks to a trio of talented rushers. Jaylen Wright and Jabari Smith each have over 90 carries and 470 yards and a combined 13 touchdowns on the ground. They’re helped by Hooker, who has run the ball 73 times for 338 yards and four touchdowns. Georgia has one of the best run defenses in the country but will be without Nolan Smith. His absence could free up running lanes and help this group find holes.

While they are giving up almost 400 yards per game, this is an aggressive Tennessee defense. What they lack in efficiency, they make up for with turnovers. Their secondary leads the SEC with nine interceptions, with seven players registering at least one. They’ve been led by the play of senior defensive back Trevon Flowers, who leads the team in tackles (46) and interceptions (2). The Tennessee defensive line has also been active against the pass, with 21 sacks. That unit is led by linebacker Byron Young, who has five sacks on the season. The Vols won’t shut down this Dawgs offense, but if they can generate sacks and turnovers, it may be enough to get the win.

Georgia Bulldogs

The Bulldog’s offense averages 530 yards per game and is once again led by quarterback Stetson Bennett. Despite having the second-most passing yards in the SEC, Bennett has managed just nine touchdowns. While some of this can be chalked up to Georgia’s many lopsided victories, it’s shocking given that he posted 29 just last year. Bennett’s completion percentage is up this year, thanks partly to tight-end Brock Bowers. They’ve connected for a team-high 547 yards and three touchdowns. Bennett has yet to connect much with his wide receivers this year, with Ladd McConkey (team-high 33 receptions) the only one with more than 15 receptions. Tennessee has an aggressive secondary, so plan on seeing Bennett continue to lean on his backs and tight ends in the passing game Saturday.

The Bulldogs have had a ton of success on the ground, with four running backs registering at least 40 carries, 200 yards, and a touchdown. They are led by Daijun Edwards and Kenny McIntosh, who have a combined 13 touchdowns on the ground. Edwards has been the more talented rusher (6.2 yards per carry), but McIntosh has been excellent in the passing game as he finds himself third in receptions. We will keep a close eye on McIntosh Saturday, as his pass-caching ability could exploit some weaknesses in the Volunteer defense.

The Bulldogs lost a ton of talent on defense to the NFL, but they’ve remained elite this season. They’re allowing 262.6 yards to opposing teams, including a measly 85.5 rushing. While they aren’t generating a lot of turnovers or sacks, they have been shutting offenses down all season. Malaki Starks has been incredible with 30 tackles and leads the team in interceptions (2) and pass deflections (5). He’s had to help from Nolan Smith (3 sacks) and Jamon Dumas-Johnson (40 tackles, two sacks), though the former is out for the year after suffering a torn pectoral muscle. It’s a brutal loss that could affect the Dawg’s ability to get pressure on Hooker. As good as the secondary is, the Hooker-Hyatt connection will eat them alive if the offensive line can keep the pocket clean.

Free Pick: Tennessee +8

Georgia hasn’t played a ranked opponent since their opening-week blowout of Oregon. Conversely, Tennessee has played four ranked teams in the last five weeks. This run includes an impressive win against Alabama, which saw them score 52 points against the Tide. It also includes beating a good LSU team in Death Valley, which shows they can handle playing in hostile environments. This pedigree speaks for itself, and the Dawgs will take time to adjust to the loss of Smith and its first tough challenge since week one. We’ll gladly accept the points to roll with the Volunteers Saturday. 

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