College Football Picks: North Texas vs. Georgia

Ross Benjamin

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 8:06 PM GMT

Tuesday, Sep. 17, 2013 8:06 PM GMT

The nationally ranked Georgia Bulldogs come in as 32.5 point favorites in this week's matchup against North Texas. When it comes to placing our college football picks, should we expect the Bulldogs to cover the large number?

The Point-spread and Total

The Mean Green of North Texas travel to Athens to take on the 9th ranked Georgia Bulldogs with kickoff set for 12:21 PM ET. According to college football odds, Georgia opened up as a 32.0-point favorite and has quickly moved to 32.5. My personal football odds service shows 66% of the early money has been wagered the home side thus far. In addition the total has opened at 67.0.

Take a look at my College Football Picks: Opening Odds Report for Week 4.

Why North Texas Can Cover

North Texas comes off a 34-27 home upset win versus Ball St. as a 3.0-point underdog. The win improved the Mean Green to 2-1 on the season. They opened the season with a 40-6 home win versus Idaho and covered easily as a 16.5-point favorite. Sandwiched between their 2 wins was their lone loss at Ohio 27-21 in a contest they failed to cover as a 3.5-point underdog. The visitors may be catching the nationally ranked Bulldogs at the right time in terms of their ability to cover this big number.

Georgia opened the season versus #3 Clemson and #12 South Carolina. It would certainly be easy for the home team to look past North Texas with #6 LSU next on the schedule. The Mean Green offense has been balanced and averages 31.7 points per game as well as 465 yards per contest (224.5 rushing/316 passing). Senior quarterback Derek Thompson has been terrific so far completing 70.9% of his pass attempts for 818 yards and 5 touchdowns. They will be facing a Georgia defense which has been vulnerable in their first 2 games allowing 34 points per game in addition to 460.5 yards per contest.

Why Georgia Can Cover

The potential of being flat against an inferior opponent sandwich between three nationally ranked teams is certainly a concern. However, after an opening game loss at Clemson the Bulldogs have no room for error if they’re going to keep their national title hopes alive. They also enter this contest following an off week, and playing at home, which are two huge pluses aiding in avoiding a possible emotional letdown. Statistically the Georgia defense looks to be a major concern but we have to put things into proper perspective in that regard. Their first 2 opponents Clemson and South Carolina were hardly lightweights. Senior quarterback Aaron Murray is off to a terrific start to the season completing 71.2% of his pass attempts for 632 yards and 4 touchdowns. Sophomore running back 232 pound Todd Gurley has been a runaway freight train in the first 2 games. Gurley has run for 286 yards, averaged 6.8 yards per carry, and has 9 receptions while scoring 4 touchdowns.

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The Final Analysis

The Georgia offense will be unstoppable versus a defense that’s allowed a lot of yards in their first 3 games versus nowhere near as explosive an offense as the one they will encounter on Saturday. Unfortunately in the current BCS system schools are encouraged to run up the score whenever possible to improve their standing. With a loss already on their resume the Bulldogs not only have to run the table, but they have to do it in impressive fashion if they hope to be in the BCS Title Game. North Texas is a potential bowl team this season but they will be going into a hornet’s nest on Saturday. It could be late into the 4th quarter before the Georgia coaching staff calls off the Bulldogs in this one. 

The Blowout Angle 

Any non-conference home favorite of 25.0 or more (Georgia) that comes off a conference home favorite ATS win, and they’ll be facing conference opponent in their next game, versus a team (North Texas) that comes off a win by 35-points or less is 8-0 straight up and against the spread since the start of the 1980 season. The home favorite has won those 8 games by 45.1 points per game. 

Free Selection: Georgia -32.5 versus North Texas
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