The SEC Championship is the gateway to the College Football Playoffs. The Louisiana State Tigers bring an undefeated record and likely playoff spot into Saturday’s conference title matchup with the one-loss Georgia Bulldogs.
Oddsmakers have set LSU as a 5.5-point favorite for this neutral-site game in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, in Atlanta Georgia. If you’re betting on the college football odds for the SEC Championship, here are some sports handicapping picks to factor into your handicapping.
Georgia would be right in the CFP mix if not for an upset overtime loss to South Carolina back in Week 7. The Bulldogs have done their best to mute that mistake over the six games since, winning each and going 4-2 against the spread.
Georgia was far from dominant in some of those displays, especially on offense where the Bulldogs scored well under their season average in points in five of those outing before blowing away Georgia Tech with 52 points in the regular season finale.
The Bulldogs can’t bring a knife to a gun fight in this conference title game – not with Louisiana State blasting opponents for almost 49 points per game. The Tigers have won three of the last four meetings with UGA, going 3-0-1 ATS in those games, dating back to 2009.
No average Joes
Tigers quarterback Joe Burrow is a shoo-in to win the Heisman Trophy after a magical season in Baton Rouge.
Burrow, who opened the Heisman futures as big as 200/1, entered the season finale with a -2,000 price tag to win the Heisman versus the field (+1,000), and finished the game with three touchdowns, no interceptions and 352 total yards passing. That Week 14 effort – a 50-7 victory over Texas A&M – was the sixth time this season Burrow has thrown for 350 or more yards and his 10th game with three or more touchdown passes.
The LSU offense hasn’t just leaned on the sure arm of Burrow either. The Tigers rushing attack has really stepped up in recent weeks, averaging almost 209 yards per game on the ground over their last three contests. Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been a handful for opposing defenses, rumbling for 686 yards and nine touchdowns over LSU’s last five games.
That high-octane LSU offense runs into its bigges challenge yet, in a UGA stop unit ranked fourth in yards allowing and second in points against, budging for only 10.4 points per game on the season. The Bulldogs have been on a war path defensively since allowing 20 points in that overtime loss to South Carolina, giving up a grand total of just 51 points over their last six games, including two shutout efforts.
Georgia is second in the nation at stopping the run, giving up only 71.3 yards on the ground per game. The Bulldogs will look to take away that hot LSU rushing game and put the pressure on Burrow to move the chains. The Bulldogs pass rush has 25 sacks on the season with 10 of those coming over the last five games. The Georgia defense has held opposing quarterbacks to an average rating of 103.6 – third lowest in the country.