As noted not long ago, the sharp-eyed folks in Vegas set the over/under on wins for Georgia at 9 1/2. For a team playing under a new coach that went 9-3 in its regular season last season, that might have sounded high.
As also noted, I’m on record — here and, more recently and in greater detail, here as well — as picking Georgia to go 10-2, which means I’m taking the “over.” (Or would be if I actually bet, which I never ever do.) This week, courtesy of faithful correspondent Jimmy Shapiro, I find that I’m not alone.
According to Mr. Shapiro, the heaviest bets coming into the sports book Bovada on the “over” are for Alabama at 9 1/2, Michigan at 10 1/2 and — pause for effect — Georgia at 9 1/2. By way of contrast, the heaviest bets on the “under” are for Boise State at 11, Ole Miss at 9 1/2 and Auburn at 7 1/2. At last check, Georgia is scheduled to play the latter two.
A word or two about the above: Nearly a month ago, I circled Alabama as an “over” and Auburn as an “under.” When’s the last time Bama didn’t win 10 regular-season games? (Answer: 2010, when it won nine.) Given the Tigers’ schedule, I’m not sure they win more than six.
As for Ole Miss: It could lose three games — to Florida State, Alabama and Georgia — in September and would still have to play at LSU and Texas A&M. As for Boise: If it can beat Washington State, it has a real chance of going undefeated. As for Michigan: If it splits with Michigan State and Ohio State, it should hit its “over.” (FWIW, I have the Wolverines in the College Football Playoff, along with Clemson, Alabama and Oklahoma.)
Back to Georgia: Even with a new coach, this cannot be seen as a classic Rebuilding Season. There’s too much talent on hand, and the schedule is too inviting. Maybe that’s why Kirby Smart seems wrapped extra tight — if he doesn’t break double figures in Year 1, it will be viewed in some circles (Las Vegas included) as a disappointment.