ATHENS — Georgia football opened as a 3-point favorite over Auburn in Saturday’s rivalry showdown at Jordan-Hare Stadium, according to Vegasinsider.com
It will be the second week in a row and fifth time this season the No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (8-1, 5-1 SEC) face a team coming off a bye.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for their program,” UGA coach Kirby Smart said Saturday night after handing Missouri a 27-0 defeat. “I know they’ll be ready to play coming off an off week.”
The No. 13-ranked Tigers (7-2, 4-2) opened the season with a neutral site win over No. 6 Oregon and have losses at No. 1-ranked LSU (23-20) and at No. 11-ranked Florida (24-13).
Auburn is 5-0 at home, including a 20-14 win over Ole Miss in its most recent game on Nov. 2.
Georgia lost on its most recent trip to The Plains in 2017. It was a 40-17 drubbing that temporarily sidetracked what appeared to be a national championship season in the making.
The Bulldogs, then ranked No. 2, saw their powerful run game bottled up by the Tigers, wth Nick Chubb held to 27 yards on 11 carries and Sony Michel netting just 21 yards on 9 carries.
Gus Malzahn’s Auburn team, meanwhile, was rolling, generating 488 total yards to Georgia’s 230 behind Kerryon Johnson’s 167 yards rushing.
The Bulldogs won a rematch against the Tigers in the SEC Championship Game, 28-7, propelling UGA into a Rose Bowl matchup against Oklahoma that it would win en route to facing Alabama in the CFP Championship Game.
Auburn is still fighting for a spot in a New Year’s Six Bowl, and Malzahn desperately needs another marquee win to help secure his job.
“Gus does a tremendous job, (and) I’ve got a lot of respect for the way they play,” Smart said. “They’re a physical football team. Great defense. Really good young quarterback. Really hard offense to prepare for. Gus and I have seen a lot of each other over the years.”