In all likelihood, this will be the end of four difficult years at Georgia for coach Tom Crean, who is expected to be fired as soon as the Bulldogs’ season is over. Of course, Georgia has been in this position once before in 2008 and won four games in three days to reach the NCAA tournament and save then-coach Dennis Felton’s job for one more year.
But that doesn’t seem likely to repeat itself this time, as Georgia has just one win in the SEC this season and hasn’t shown any signs of being able to get another one. The Bulldogs are still playing hard and staying in games, but they’re losing by two or three possessions, which is why this line got to nine points. But while Vanderbilt has been a solid ATS bet all season, the Commodores haven’t covered against anyone when giving nine or more points. Vanderbilt tends to win closer games, as it beat Georgia by nine in one meeting and by four in another. The Commodores are much more comfortable in tight games; nine of Vanderbilt’s last 10 games were decided by nine points or less.
Georgia Bulldogs vs. Vanderbilt Commodores Odds, Trends, and Picks
Opening Betting Odds and Lines
|(6-25 SU, 10-20-1 ATS)
||(15-15 SU, 17-12-1 ATS)
When: 7 pm, Tuesday, March 8
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Betting the Total
Georgia’s defense just is not good enough to slow teams down, as the Bulldogs have allowed every SEC opponent to get to 72 points or more. So that’s what we should consider as the Vanderbilt floor in this one. Given that Georgia’s offense is actually somewhat decent and this is a tournament setting, which triggers desperation near the end, I think this is going to be played at a fairly high pace.
Vanderbilt will likely get itself into the low 80s, so as long as Georgia does anything close to its share of the scoring, this game has a good chance to push past the total.
I recommend backing Over 144 points.
Backing the Spread
The big question here is whether Georgia feels like winning one for the coach or would rather get the season over with. That makes this game difficult to pick, because Georgia could easily give a fantastic performance that gives Crean one last positive memory to take from his time in Athens. The Bulldogs could also go out and decide that they just want to get this over with as quickly as possible.
I think it will be the former, as Georgia has at least fought hard in its past few games. Plus, Vanderbilt hasn’t been the type of team that blows opponents out. Granted, that’s also because Vanderbilt usually isn’t the better team, but the Commodores seem comfortable playing to the level of their competition, regardless of the opponent’s quality.
Based on Vanderbilt’s history and the fact that Georgia probably wants to come out strong for Crean in what could be his swan song, I think this game will at least stay close to the end.
I recommend taking an extra half-point and playing Georgia +9.5.