Arkansas vs. Georgia Odds & Pick for Week 5 of College Football: Can Razorbacks Remain in Game vs. Bulldogs?
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Treylon Burks.
Arkansas vs. Georgia Odds
|Arkansas Odds||+17 (-110)|
|Georgia Odds||-17 (-110)|
|Moneyline||+650 / -1000|
|Over/Under||48.5 (-110 / -110)|
|Time||12 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.|
Another chapter will be written in the history of Sam Pittman and Kirby Smart.
Once upon a time, Pittman was the prized offensive line coach and lead recruiter for the University of Arkansas under Bret Bielema. Pittman was known not just for turning around trench play, but acting as a recruiting whisperer to hundreds of high school kids.
Pittman became an SEC focal point after a job offer from Alabama. To the public displeasure of Bielema, Pittman would later take the same role at Georgia under Smart.
Fast forward five years, and Pittman returns to Athens to take on a bevy of Bulldogs he helped recruit, including all five starters on the offensive line.
While plenty of SEC teams aim to hang their opponent out to dry, there is a heavy amount of respect between these two head coaches.
Smart mentioned that it’s a culture built within the program that gets the players to play as hard as possible, evidenced by Pittman’s 11-3 mark against the spread mark since arriving in Fayetteville.
Arkansas vs. Georgia Betting Preview
Diet of Run, Run, Run, Explosive Pass
The success of Arkansas over the first month of play can be attributed to a rush-heavy offensive attack, with a bit of explosive passing from quarterback KJ Jefferson.
The Razorbacks have one of the top run-blocking trenches in FBS, with five players in the top 130 of all FBS offensive linemen. While the Hogs lack a big-time explosive option, a caravan of running backs consists mostly of freshmen.
🗣 YOU CAN’T TACKLE AJ GREEN #CFB
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 25, 2021
Freshman Dominique Johnson leads all running backs with 4.3 yards after contact, but it’s Jefferson who has been the heartbeat of the Razorbacks winning streak.
Arkansas has an overall yards per play mark of 7.1 on offense, led by a Success Rate 9% higher than the national average on standard downs. When Kendal Briles’ offense falls off schedule, Jefferson has had plenty of success throwing the deep ball.
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) September 25, 2021
Georgia is the most athletic defense Arkansas will face the entire season, but leaving Treylon Burks in single coverage did Texas A&M no favors. Jefferson has four big-time throws on the season, all on passing over 20 yards.
The key to attacking Arkansas is generating pressure from a standard four-man rush, as Jefferson’s adjusted completion rate falls from 79% to 56% in a crowded pocket.
Tre Williams the Havoc-Maker
When Barry Odom stepped into the defensive coordinator position after being fired from Missouri, the changes to the Razorback scheme were clear. Arkansas would run nickel and dime schemes to allow yards but prevent explosive plays.
While Arkansas was gifted with a solid linebacking unit in 2020, it’s the infusion of transfers on the defensive line that led to victories over Texas and Texas A&M.
— SEConCBS (@SEConCBS) September 25, 2021
Eastern Illinois transfer John Ridgeway ranks 23rd of all FBS defensive interior linemen in stops, per PFF. Alongside Ridgeway is Missouri transfer Tre Williams, a former Odom recruit from half a decade ago.
From the edge position, Williams ranks as one of the highest individual contributors from a sacks and tackles for loss perspective.
The new-look three-man defensive front of Arkansas has allowed returning linebacker Bumper Pool and defensive back Jalen Catalon to fill the national leaderboard in tackles.
The effort of the Arkansas defense shows in the advanced numbers with a rank of second in Passing Downs Success Rate and 12th in Line Yards.
One of the biggest indicators of covering the spread is Finishing Drives, an area the Razorback defense ranks fifth in nationally.
Odom is well on his way to winning the Broyles Award with his defensive scheme of complex zone, eliminating explosiveness and terrorizing offensive lines in the trench.
Attacking the Edge Position
Todd Monken’s offense has yet to produce the explosiveness that national contenders tend to field. The Bulldogs currently rank 30th in big-play rate but come in at an astounding 123rd in passing downs explosiveness.
While the Clemson offensive game plan was a low-risk balance of rush and short-yardage passing, the Tigers still managed an interception against JT Daniels.
Daniels has attempted only three passes over 20 yards thus far this season.
Maybe it all worked out like it was supposed to for J.T. Daniels 🤷🏽♂️ pic.twitter.com/sQZAA1BgdN
— Tommy Mo (@2on1FFB) September 19, 2021
Monken threw everything on film for Arkansas to digest, from wide receivers and tight ends getting rush attempts at the edge to multiple screen and swing passes.
While the full health of Daniels is unknown, Monken attacked Vanderbilt’s edges in preparation for Arkansas or as a decoy for a vertical passing attack.
All-Time Standard Downs Defense
Georgia’s defensive numbers are almost unfathomable after a four-game set against Clemson, South Carolina, UAB and Vanderbilt.
An antagonist would call out those four offenses for ineptitude, but the Georgia defense ranks best in the nation in standard downs Success Rate and explosiveness.
Not only are the Bulldogs knocking teams off schedule, but they also own the top overall rank in Finishing Drives, coverage and tackling grades, per PFF.
Through 231 defensive snaps, Georgia has just one player with more than two missed tackles. The depth of the defense is also a factor to behold, as 21 players have logged at least 50 defensive snaps through September.
The Bulldogs’ worst statistical category is Havoc with a national rank of 14th.
The biggest one-on-one matchup may be the return of Tykee Smith from injury to guard Burks in the slot. Smith ranked fifth among all slot coverage cornerbacks in 2020 at West Virginia before transferring to Georgia.
Smart said Smith was on a pitch count, and there is an expectation he will play, a boost against Burks, who lines up in the slot on 80% of Razorback snaps.
Arkansas vs. Georgia Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Arkansas and Georgia match up statistically:
Arkansas Offense vs. Georgia Defense
Georgia Offense vs. Arkansas Defense
Pace of Play / Other
Arkansas vs. Georgia Betting Pick
There are a number of factors to consider when handicapping both the side and total.
This is Arkansas’ first true road game of the season, and it comes between the hedges in what could see more than 90,000 in attendance. This is also the earliest kickoff of the season for the Razorbacks, as Pittman ran a full week of morning practices to get the Razorbacks ready for an 11 a.m. CT kickoff.
Despite boasting an uptempo offense in 2020, the Hogs are now 73rd in plays per minute, which is faster than the Bulldogs’ rank of 107th.
Considering both teams’ slow tempo, commitment to the run and defensive excellence in preventing explosive plays, an under is certainly a valid investment. Keep in mind both defenses are top-five in the nation in Finishing Drives, a strong factor in a market that has a total trending down.
As for the side, the Action Network projection makes the game Georgia -16.5.
The relationship between Smart and Pittman suggests this game is prime for a backdoor cover from the underdog if the Razorbacks are not outright winning in the second half.
This will be smash-mouth football at its highest level when Arkansas has an offensive possession. Considering KJ Jefferson has efficiency drop-offs in passing downs and pressured pockets, Georgia’s top overall rank in defensive standard downs is paramount.
The big question is the health of Daniels and his ability to get the ball downfield when the 3-2-6 scheme allows. If the Monken game plan of stretching the field sideline to sideline is called upon, Arkansas has the talent on the edge and linebacker positions to keep up with Georgia’s skill players.
No running back on the Georgia roster has averaged four yards after contact or gone for more than two rushing gains over 15 yards. The elusiveness and breakaway speed have not been there for Zamir White, Kendall Milton or James Cook.
Without the explosive targets downfield and a questionable status for Daniels’ oblique injury, Georgia’s game plan may be to go sideline to sideline. If so, covering a spread of this size can be challenging with one of the slowest tempos in college football.