Georgia vs Tennessee Odds, Prediction: Team Total to Play
Chris McDill/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jonas Aidoo
Georgia vs Tennessee Odds
-105o / -115u
-105o / -115u
No. 4 Tennessee welcomes Georgia to Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday night for a SEC matchup ahead of this weekend’s Big 12/SEC Challenge.
The Volunteers bounced back from their loss to Kentucky with convincing wins over Mississippi State and LSU to enter this game at 16-3 on the season and 6-1 in the SEC.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs have fallen in consecutive league games to sit at 3-3 in conference action under new coach Mike White.
As long as the home team can avoid looking ahead to Saturday’s game against No. 10 Texas, I expect Tennessee’s great play to continue with another win here.
Most fans can live with a loss on the road to Kentucky, but the defeat at home to Vanderbilt over the weekend hurt the momentum White was building in his debut season in Athens, Ga.
The Bulldogs got off to a great start in SEC play, winning three of their first four conference games against nationally ranked Auburn and both programs from Mississippi.
The key to the early success has been the effort on the defensive end of the floor, where White’s squad ranks inside the Top 75 in AdjD (67th), EFG% (43rd) and 3-point shooting defense (12th), according to barttorvik.com.
The Bulldogs were also perfect at home before the loss to the Commodores, where they allowed 85 points. Hopefully, White can get his program back on track, but this is going to be a tough test.
If you think Georgia has played great defense, you could argue that Tennessee boasts the best defensive unit in the country. It has been what has carried the team up to this point in the season.
The Volunteers are first in the nation in AdjD, EFG% and defending 3-pointers, while also ranking in the Top 10 in forcing turnovers (9th) and opponents’ 2-point shooting (10th). They have held five of seven SEC foes below 60 points for an average of 57.14 PPG.
The offense is not necessarily anything flashy, but coach Rick Barnes’ team does a great job of crashing the offensive glass. Only Kentucky does a better job securing offensive rebounds in the country.
Barnes has five players who average double figures on the season, with the group led by guard Santiago Vescovi’s 12.5 PPG. The depth on the roster is highlighted by a player like Zakai Zeigler who primarily comes off the bench to average 10.9 PPG and 7.29 APG in conference play.
Georgia vs. Tennessee Betting Pick
I’m always looking for ways to back Tennessee at home, especially when the last game in Thompson-Boling Arena was a rare loss for the Volunteers. However, there is a better way to play the home squad here than needing them to cover 16.5 points.
With that said, my best bet is for Georgia to fall under the team total of 59, which I wouldn’t play any lower than 58.
I laid out above how this has been a profitable bet in Tennessee games this season, but there are key similarities between the Bulldogs and other clubs who have struggled to consistently score against the Vols this year.
For starters, you have to avoid turning the ball over, which is not good for the visitors who rank outside the Top 270 in turnover percentage. Ole Miss (265th), LSU (220th) and South Carolina (239th) combined for an average of 17 turnovers per game against the Volunteers and all failed to reach 60 points.
The other key metric is how well can you shoot the ball, and the Bulldogs are not in the Top 250 in EFG% or 2-point%. Mississippi State and a couple of the turnover-prone squads above fall into this category, and MSU couldn’t top 60 points in two attempts against Tennessee.
With neither Georgia nor Tennessee playing with much pace offensively, I just don’t see the visitors being able to consistently score in this one.