It’s the biggest game of the season from the SEC’s East Division on Saturday when unbeaten and 11th-ranked Kentucky visits unbeaten and new No. 1 Georgia. Which way to lean at SBR’s top-rated sportsbooks?
Kentucky Wildcats vs. Georgia Bulldogs
Saturday, October 16, 2021 – 03:30 PM EDT at Sanford Stadium
The SEC East Division game of the year was always expected to feature Georgia as one of the teams, but Florida as the other in the annual Cocktail Party matchup from Jacksonville – this year on Oct. 30. After all, either Georgia or Florida has won the East every year since 2015.
However, Kentucky has joined Georgia as the only SEC team without a conference loss yet as the Gators have disappointed. Thus, the winner of Saturday’s UK-Georgia matchup will have the clear inside edge for the East title.
ESPN GameDay will be in Athens for the matchup, but the game will be televised by CBS. Georgia leads the all-time series 60-12-2 and has won the past 11.
Last year, the Dawgs were ranked No. 5 in the nation and were 17-point favorites at SBR’s top-rated books when they won in Lexington 14-3.
QB Stetson Bennett had a two-yard TD run in the first quarter for UGA and running back Zamir White a 22-yard score on the ground early in the third. He rushed for 136 yards on 26 carries. UK’s lone points came via a 34-yard field goal late in the second. Kentucky was held to 229 yards.
The favorite is 6-2 ATS in the past eight meetings.
Could Be Magical Season for Kentucky
Mark Stoops has done a fantastic job at Kentucky, which is 6-0 for the first time since 1950 and 4-0 in the SEC for the first time since 1977. Stoops started his tenure 12-26 but has gone 43-24 since. Kentucky is already bowl eligible.
The Cats were 2-point favorites this past Saturday vs. mega-disappointing LSU and won 42-21. The UK defense forced a turnover on the game’s first possession, setting up the Wildcats for a lead they never relinquished.
Against a supposedly good defense, Kentucky rushed for a whopping 330 yards. QB Will Levis, a transfer from Penn State, was 14-for-17 for 145 yards and three scores and also rushed for 75 yards and two TDs. Christopher Rodriguez Jr. rushed 16 times for 147 yards and a touchdown while catching a short TD pass, and Kavosiey Smoke had up a career-high 104 rushing yards on 12 attempts.
Levis is the first starting QB at Kentucky since at least 1993 (when lineups became available) to win his first six starts. It marks the first time UK has defeated LSU and Florida in the same season since 1977.
Dating to last season, Kentucky has won eight in a row, the fifth-longest streak in school history. The record is 12 straight from 1909-10. The Wildcats are 130-0 all-time when they score at least 42 points in regulation.
As for this matchup, Kentucky is 3-14 all-time vs. No. 1 ranked teams with the most recent win a triple-overtime upset of LSU in 2007.
Georgia Now Favored to Win It All
Georgia (6-0, 4-0 SEC) is No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time since the preseason poll of 2008 – the Dawgs won their opener that year, but fell out of the No. 1 spot and haven’t gotten back until now thanks to former No. 1 Alabama’s loss at Texas A&M on Saturday.
The Dawgs also are now the +115 betting favorites to win the national title at the top-rated books. They should be favored as they have outscored opponents 239-33, and that defense has been historically good. Those 33 points are the lowest six-game total the team has allowed since 1935. The defense has allowed just two touchdowns and opponents have advanced to the red zone only eight times. That’s just stupid.
UGA was a 14.5-point favorite this past Saturday at No. 18 Auburn and rolled 34-10. Auburn actually took a 3-0 lead – the first team to lead this year against Georgia – but then failed to score on its next six drives of the first half.
Quarterback Stetson Bennett was 14-for-21 for 231 yards and two scores for Georgia. He has started three games this season because usual starter JT Daniels has been banged up, currently dealing with a lat injury.
It’s not yet clear if Daniels can play in this one, but Coach Kirby Smart says he’s the starter if healthy. Safety Chris Smith and offensive tackle Jamaree Salyer both left the UK game injured but might be able to play this week.
Georgia is now 22-11 vs. Top 25 teams under Smart including 3-0 this year. This will be a homecoming for the Dawgs, who are 79-18-2 all-time in those games. Kentucky has been the opponent 18 times and is 2-15-1. Vanderbilt is the last team to beat Georgia on homecoming, doing so in 2016.
For the NCAAF pick, I actually like the total better than the side Saturday because Georgia’s defense is so good.
NCAAF Pick: Under 45 points (-110)
NCAAF Pick Kentucky +23.5 (-110)
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.