No. 8 Arkansas travels to No. 2 Georgia for the first top-10 SEC showdown of the 2021 college football season.
Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. at Sanford Stadium, and the game will be televised on ESPN.
Arkansas (4-0) was the September surprise of the college football season. The Razorbacks have a potent rushing attack led by quarterback KJ Jefferson, and second-year coach Sam Pittman has instilled a winning culture in Fayetteville, Ark., in a short time. Arkansas is the only school that ranks in the top five in the SEC in total offense and total defense.
Of course, Georgia (4-0) is winning with a defense that allows 5.8 points per game under coach Kirby Smart. The Bulldogs look the part of the best team in the FBS, and JT Daniels continues to lead an efficient high-scoring offense.
The SEC will have other top-10 matchups this season, but this crossover feature will set the tone. Here is everything bettors need to know about the matchup between the Razorbacks and Bulldogs:
Arkansas vs. Georgia odds
- Spread: Georgia -18.5
- Over/under: 48.5
- Moneyline: Georgia -1400, Arkansas +760
Three trends to know
— Georgia is 26-3 S/U as a home favorite under Kirby Smart, but they are 12-17 ATS in that stretch. The Bulldogs are 3-1 ATS this season.
— The Razorbacks are 4-0 ATS this season and 9-3 ATS as an underdog since Pittman took over in 2020.
— Georgia has won eight of the last 10 meetings between the two schools, though the Razorbacks’ two wins are in Athens, Ga.
Three things to watch
— KJ Jefferson going long. Jefferson leads the FBS with 18.5 yards per completion, and Arkansas has a pair of deep-threat receivers in Treylon Burks (19.6 yards per catch) and Tyson Morris (24.1 yards per catch). Jefferson has to connect early to loosen up a Georgia defense that has allowed just one TD pass through four games. Christopher Smith leads Georgia with two of its seven interceptions.
— JT Daniels’ rhythm. Daniels ranks second in the FBS with a 76.1 completion percentage. He’s found a favorite target in tight end Brock Bowers, who will test Arkansas leading tackler Bumper Pool in coverage. Daniels also has two running backs who average 5.6 yards per carry in Zamir White and James Cook. Offensive coordinator Todd Monken has guided an attack that still leans on the run first. Daniels will be the biggest test yet for a Razorbacks’ defense that also has allowed just one passing TD.
— Kendal Briles’ creativity. Arkansas has four offensive players who average five rushing attempts per game. Jefferson and starting running back Trelon Smith have been effective, but Briles must mix in Rahiem Sanders and Dominique Johnson. The Bulldogs rank sixth in the FBS with a run defense that allows 66.0 yards per game.
Stat that matters
Georgia has nine different players with at least one sack. Adam Anderson, Nakobe Dean and Nolan Smith are keys to that furious pass rush. It’s a challenge for Jefferson, who must extend plays without taking sacks on first- and second down. Georgia’s opponents have a 28% conversion rate on third down, and Arkansas cannot afford too many three-and-outs to have a chance at the upset.
Arkansas vs. Georgia prediction
Both teams have stuck to the script in the first quarter. Georgia has dominated in the first half, but Arkansas has, too. The Razorbacks have not allowed a point in the first quarter this season. Arkansas led 7-5 at halftime last season before Georgia pulled away in a 37-10 blowout. Can Pittman make this a four-quarter game? The Razorbacks will keep it close in the first half, but Daniels will lead a pair of TD drives in the second half. That Georgia defense plays up at home, and a few turnovers make the difference.
Final score: Georgia 30, Arkansas 13