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Best Bet? Bama-Dawgs in Atlanta for the SEC Title

July 29, 2020

ATHENS - Oddsmakers see the path in front of UGA, and know it is a difficult one. 

Georgia has about an eight percent chance to win the national title, and about a 17% chance to win the SEC according to odds that have been pretty steady during the pandemic. Needless to say, those are not overwhelming odds in favor of something happening. 

But oddsmakers are probably correct when you consider the schedule Georgia is dealing with along the way. 

The Dawgs play two of Vegas’ top three teams in the SEC (the Dawgs are No. 2) as well as No. 6. In other words, the path for Georgia is the most difficult one for an eastern school (Auburn and Alabama being on the schedule will do that). The Gators, who are the No. 2-favored program in the east, have LSU and Ole Miss this fall. 

Cross-division games have always been a critical part in determining champions of the SEC East and West. Remember when South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier used to complain about crossover games? The Coots played Arkansas as its cross-division foe. In a stroke of genius Carolina actively pursued dropping Arkansas for Texas A&M, which stands as one of the dumbest moves in that program’s history. 

Moving along…

The games to circle are pretty basic, and for the Dawgs there are pretty well two levels of games. First, are the clash of the titians: UGA at Alabama (-7.5) and the Cocktail Party (UGA -3.5). Second, higher-level games that the Dawgs should win: Auburn at UGA (-7.5); Georgia (-12.5) at the Coots. And finally the rest of the games, Georgia (-17.5) vs. Virginia; Georgia Tech at Georgia (-24.5). 

The Carolina game could be about the same as the Tennessee game, and considered a “rest of the games” rather than “higher-level game”, but it is on the road. 

When figuring out how to bet the winner of the SEC, the questions are as follows: 

Do you think Georgia is going to end the regular season with two losses? 

Do you think, if that doesn’t happen, that Georgia will win in Atlanta or wherever the SECCG game is played against presumably Alabama?

Do you think that the Gators will beat LSU in the Swamp?

Do you think that A&M or Auburn can beat Alabama?

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Most oddsmakers see Bama and UGA matching up in Atlanta for the third time since the 2017 season. A neutral site game will likely roll the odds towards Georgia more than playing in Tuscaloosa.. That also assumes both teams will be about the same as they were at the start of the year when they play one another at the end of it. Not major injuries. It also assumes that Alabama will get there as much as it assumes the Dawgs will be there, too. 

The Tide (-2.5) is going to have to survive Baton Rouge later in the season, but Auburn comes to Alabama (-13.5) to end the year. Last Alabama lost to both sets of Tigers. 

Needless to say the games both schools need to win are the divisional games against LSU and the Gators. UGA seems to only have one giant test on their side of the conference (same for the Gators), can we say that for sure about the Tide? Again, are Auburn and A&M going to jump up and matter?

This is the one year in recent memory where the alleged four best teams in the league are playing one another all in the same year (actually scheduled to play those two games within four weeks of one another). The Gators are 2.5-point favorites to beat LSU in Gainesville. 

It is always tough to get a good grasp of betting the offseason. I’m not sure how much sense this makes, but Texas A&M is a 14.5-point dog at Alabama, but has a pick ‘em game at home with LSU. 

That’s a big swing. I’m not sure about A&M, either, but Phil Steele seems to be all over them - calling the Aggies his surprise team to watch in 2020. 

Back to the Dawgs. This season will be about what happens in the Cocktail Party (UGA -3.5). You win, and you are almost certainly back in Atlanta. You lose, and you will hear about Dan Mullen’s genius and the Gators turning the corner for 12 months. 

The Dawgs have been 6.5-, 7- and 13-point favorites the last three contests in Jacksonville, and have covered each time. If Mullen’s team doesn’t score more than 17 against Kirby’s Dawgs again this year you know all you need to know on that game.

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