Sportsbooks Will Be Rooting Heavily For One Team In The Monster Tennessee-Georgia Game

If the No. 2 Tennessee Volunteers (8-0) go into Athens and upset or even cover the spread against the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs (8-0) Saturday then sportsbooks will “take a bath”.

In most cases, oddsmakers are rooting for the underdog because usually the public bets favorites. But, for Tennessee-Georgia, the Vols are a public underdog that’s getting the vast majority of the betting action.

Per VSIN, DraftKings Sportsbook is reporting that roughly 80% of the cash and more than 80% of the bets placed are on UT. According to Pregame.com, nearly three-fourths of the money in the consensus market is on Tennessee.

Despite Georgia being 8-point favorites against an undefeated Tennessee, it’s hard to not back the favorite here. If your only strategy for betting on sports was to get on the same side as the “House” then you’d be a long-term winner in this racket.

The bottom line is eight out of 10 sports bettors don’t win money. That’s the rate of Vols backers compared to the Bulldogs. This is the biggest game of the college football season so this result matters to sportsbook operators.

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Personally, I cannot pick the right side in Tennessee-Georgia. Here’s how the two teams stack up in my key performance indicators:

  • Net yards per play (nYPP)
    • Tennessee: +2.2 nYPP
    • Georgia: +2.6 nYPP
  • Net expected points added per play (EPA/play)
    • Tennessee: +0.264 EPA/play (ranked 5th)
    • Georgia: +0.416 EPA/play (ranked 2nd)
  • Net success rate
    • Tennessee: +13.0% (ranked 8th)
    • Georgia: +25.3% (ranked 1st)
  • Point differential
    • Tennessee: +28.4 points per game (PPG)
    • Georgia: +31.3 PPG
  • Strength of schedule (via Sports Reference)
    • Tennessee: ranked 50th
    • Georgia: ranked 59th

That said, it’s either Georgia or pass for me. In a toss-up matchup, you have to defer to the oddsmakers’ projection, especially when the public is fading them. There’s so much “backdoor cover” potential for UT at +8 but that’s “baked into the line” already.

Also, Tennessee-Georgia’s betting splits are similar to last year’s national title game. Alabama was a 3-point underdog to Georgia despite beating the Bulldogs in the SEC championship games a few weeks prior.

The market lined up to bet Nick Saban and an Alabama team that beat the Bulldogs by 17 in the conference title game and fell for the trap. As per usual, the sportsbooks got over on the sucker public. UT-UGA is giving off those same vibes.


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Written by Geoff Clark

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