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Georgia Bulldogs at Vanderbilt Commodores Betting Preview

No. 3 Georgia gets its season started against a conference rival when it travels to face Vanderbilt in a Southeastern Conference contest Saturday night. The Bulldogs are coming off an 11-3 season that was a bit of a disappointment due to losses in their final two contests. Georgia had a shot at advancing to the College Football Playoff but lost the SEC Championship Game to Alabama, then looked like a disappointed team in dropping the Sugar Bowl to Texas.

Vanderbilt, on the other hand, is coming off a 6-7 season which was capped by a shootout loss to Baylor in the Texas Bowl. Coach Derek Mason now must replace school-record holder Kyle Shurmur at quarterback as he looks to get the Commodores to their third bowl game in four seasons.

The moneyline for this contest has the Georgia Bulldogs -3000 and the Vanderbilt Commodores +1200. Georgia is favored by 23.5 points, and the over/under for the game has been set at 57.5.

Something To Prove

While all the talk this preseason is about Alabama and Clemson and their highly-touted quarterbacks, Georgia feels like it has the best signal-caller in the country in junior Jake Fromm (2,749 passing yards, 30 TDs). But in order to be considered the best, Fromm is going to have to do the job in the big games, especially against the Crimson Tide. He’ll have to do that without the top three receivers from a year ago as well, as running back D’Andre Swift is the leading returning pass-catcher with 32 receptions a year ago.

Speaking of Swift, the Bulldogs are hoping he will take the next step towards becoming the latest great back in the program. Swift split time with Elijah Holyfield in the backfield last season, but most of the carries will belong to Swift this season after he rushed for 1,049 yards and 10 scores as a sophomore.

New Leader

Vanderbilt isn’t going to give away who will be under center for the season opener, though the options are Riley Neal, Deuce Wallace, or a combination of the two. Neal is a transfer from Ball State¬†who threw for 7,393 yards and 46 touchdowns while with the Cardinals, while Wallace was the backup to Shurmur but didn’t see the field last season.

With the quarterback situation uncertain, the Commodores will likely turn to Ke’Shawn Vaughn often in the early going. Vaughn led the SEC with 7.9 yards per carry as he rushed 157 times for 1,244 yards and 12 touchdowns a season ago. Whoever starts at quarterback will have a pair of solid targets in wide receiver Kalija Lipscomb (SEC-best 87 receptions, 916 yards, nine TDs) and tight end Jared Pinkney (50 catches, 774 yards, seven TDs).

Bulldogs Romp In Nashville

Georgia knows it needs to play well every week to stay near the top of the national rankings and in contention for the College Football Playoff. Fromm is likely to have a big game against the Commodores, who gave up 244.2 yards passing per game last season. Despite the large point spread, I like the Bulldogs -23.5 to win and cover against their SEC rival.

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