The clash that SEC and college football fans alike have been waiting for, the SEC Championship, with LSU taking on Georgia, finally happens this weekend. The title game will essentially be a home game for the Bulldogs, as the game is set to be played in Atlanta at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, about an hour from Georgia’s campus in Athens. Kickoff is set for 3 pm ET Saturday.
It’ll be LSU’s powerhouse of an offense trying to outduel Georgia’s stout defense. Both teams are favorites for the upcoming College Football Playoff, with LSU ranked No. 2 in the nation, while Georgia comes in at No. 4. The title game is familiar territory for the Bulldogs, as this is their third straight appearance and eighth appearance overall. They’re 3-4 in previous games, as their last win in the title game was in 2017.
LSU is making its first appearance in the title game since 2011. The Tigers went on to win a national championship after beating, coincidentally, Georgia in the SEC title game that year. LSU is making its sixth overall appearance in the game and is 4-1 in previous attempts. LSU is favored by seven points in this contest, with the over/under at 54.5.
We Want the Ball
The Tigers offense ranks second in the nation in points per game at 47.2, trailing only Ohio State, which averages 49.9. Georgia comes in at 47, averaging 30.2. LSU is ranked 48th in rushing yards per game, but its passing attack ranks second, putting up 381.1 yards per game. The Tigers put up over 420 yards per game on the road, and they average 13.7 yards per completion, 15.4 in their last three games.
This lethal attack is led by the Heisman Trophy favorite, quarterback Joe Burrow. With all of the Trevor Lawrence and Tua Tagovailoa talk in the last year, Burrow’s name was lost in the shuffle for a while, but he remains one of the top-ranked quarterbacks in the game. Burrow is completing a totally unrealistic 78.3 percent of his passes, and he’s thrown 401 of them. He’s racked up 4,366 yards and has thrown 44 touchdowns to only six picks. Those are video game numbers that sound completely made up.
The Bulldogs will attempt to cancel out Burrow and the Tigers’ passing efforts by putting a passing defense that ranks seventh in the country on the field. The defense only gives up 179.2 yards through the air per game. The Bulldogs only allow 9.6 yards per completion, which ranks first in college football, and they only allow an average of 14.7 first downs per game, good for fourth in the country.
On the other side of the ball is the often overlooked Georgia offense. Led by quarterback Jake Fromm, the Bulldogs offense, while not as explosive as LSU’s, has gotten by just fine. Fromm has thrown 21 touchdowns and only three interceptions. Running back D’Andre Swift is having an excellent year with 1,401 yards from scrimmage and eight touchdowns. Swift needs to put the team on his back to bring a trophy home Saturday.
What’s The Line Say?
When it comes to covering the spread, it looks like we have a couple of average betting teams here. Both teams are 7-5 against the spread this season. Both are 2-2 against the spread when facing ranked teams. This will be the first time this season that Georgia is an underdog at home. I know, it’s neutral, but it’s also not at all neutral. People commute to work farther than they are from Athens. A home away from home if you will.
The Bulldogs also have way more at stake in this massive title game. It also has playoff implications. LSU is likely in, win or lose. If Georgia wins, it’s most definitely in. If the Bulldogs lose and add a second loss to their resume, no Playoff. That being said, and despite LSU being 3-1 against the spread as road favorites, the pick is for Georgia to cover. A championship game at “home” with playoff implications will likely stay close and extremely competitive. Lay it on the Bulldogs.
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