The SEC is perhaps the most competitive conference in the country, and every week features several entertaining and compelling match-ups. One of the better pairings this week (4:00pm ET) features the 10th ranked Georgia Bulldogs (5-1) led by head coach Mark Richt traveling to War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, AR to take on the host Arkansas Razorbacks (3-3) led by Bret Bielema. Georgia disposed of Missouri 34-0 on the road last week, their 4th straight win following a 38-35 week 3 loss at South Carolina. In conference play they have also defeated Tennessee (35-32) and Vanderbilt (44-17). Arkansas lost a nail-biter 14-13 to Alabama in Tuscaloosa last week, and is still winless in SEC play over the last 15 conference games with losses to Texas A&M (35-28 in OT) and at Auburn (45-21) in week 1, this season.
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The Bulldogs rank 8th among FBS teams in scoring offense with an average of 43.2 points per game and 40th in total offense with 445.7 yards per game. They rank 2nd in the SEC in rushing offense with an average of 275 YPG, but they will be without the services of running back Todd Gurley who ranks as maybe the top back in the nation. Georgia ranks 13th nationally in scoring defense with 18 PPG allowed and 40th in total defense with 445.7 YPG allowed.
Arkansas ranks 19th nationally in scoring offense with an average of 39.3 PPG scored and ranks 33rd in total offense with 459.5 yards per game. The Razorbacks average 278 YPG on the ground, best in the SEC behind the running of their three-headed monster of Alex Collins, Jonathan Williams and Korliss Marshall. The Hogs rank 56th nationally in scoring defense with 23.8 PPG allowed and 33rd in total defense with 459.5 YPG allowed.
Georgia vs. Arkansas Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Georgia Bulldogs -4
@Arkansas Razorbacks +4
Over 55 (-110)
Under 55 (-110)
Betting odds taken from BetOnline.ag
Georgia vs. Arkansas Pick:
The Razorbacks will be tested by a Georgia defense that ranks 2nd in the SEC with only 101 rushing yards allowed per game, and has only allowed one 100 yard rusher this season. This will be the toughest test of the year for the Bulldogs though as Arkansas is committed to running the ball and they have been very successful at it this season. The Razorbacks’ defense is improving as well; they held Alabama to 227 total yards and only 66 yards rushing last week. These are two of the worst passing teams in the country, with Georgia averaging just 170 YPG (110th nationally) through the air and Arkansas averaging 180.8 YPG (105th nationally).
The absence of Gurley really hurts Georgia here in their second straight tough road game; Arkansas is a tough team to play with their physical style of play and the running of Collins and they will not hurt themselves by turning the ball over. Georgia does not have the type of passing game that can offset the loss of probably the premier running back in the country and still cover on the road. Look for Arkansas to control the tempo of the game, and possibly notch their first SEC win in some time but that is by no means a sure thing. . Do not expect to see a lot of offensive fireworks in this game; it will be an old-fashioned slugfest. With both teams relying on the running game and playing tough defense, the play to make here is the UNDER