Oregon Vs. Georgia – Who You Should Bet On

College football is back, and potentially no ranked team has a tougher opening assignment than the Oregon Ducks. First-year Head Coach Dan Lanning will make his coaching debut for the Ducks 2,608 miles away from the friendly confines of Autzen Stadium to Atlanta against the defending national champion, and 3rd ranked Georgia Bulldogs.

So what’s the play? The spread currently sits at UGA -17.5, and while that’s a pretty large number at first glance, the Bulldogs have the bite to back it up. Ride Georgia in Week One. The reasons for this vary, but we will explain a few.

First, this is the defending national champs we are talking about here. Yes, Georgia lost 14 starters as well as 33 lettermen from the 2021 team. But UGA is returning plenty of talent, including quarterback Stetson Bennett, wide receiver Ladd McConkey, tight end Brock Bowers, defensive tackle Jalen Carter, outside linebacker Nolan Smith and cornerback Kelee Ringo. Now that’s a solid list and let’s not forget that their newcomers are still almost all former four- or five-star recruits that happen to be playing under one of the best head coaches in the nation. 

This game shines differently, however, because Oregon now has two of their most key roles filled with people very familiar with the dominance of Georgia, from the inside and out. Dan Lanning making his Ducks coaching debut against his former team is a storyline too good to pass up. Lanning led the Dogs’ historically good defense last season and had coached under Kirby Smart in Athens since 2018. That is a factor that certainly will be under the microscope, but if anything, that will be an advantage for Georgia.

Next, the Ducks’ new quarterback Bo Nix has not had success against UGA in his career. He’s played the Bulldogs thrice at Auburn and went 0-3 in the meetings. The offenses led by Nix scored an average of 10 points per game and lost by an average margin of 17.3 points per game, ironically nearly the exact current spread of 17.5. As for his individual stats against UGA, Nix has thrown only one career TD in three starts compared to 2 interceptions and an average QBR of a lowly 46.6. 

The next and final reason to bet the Dogs to cover? A little bit of home cooking and a whole lot of recent memory to read from. To say Georgia and Oregon are playing in a “neutral site” would be a massive lie. Saturday’s season opener is at Mercedes Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta, about 90 minutes away from Georgia’s campus. So the Ducks will be walking into a hornet’s nest full of Bulldog fans ready to welcome their squad as defending national champions for the time since 1980. 

To put a cherry on top, Georgia has owned non-conference opponents under Smart, losing just one game outside of SEC play since he took the job back in 2016. That includes the Bulldogs taking care of then No. 3 Clemson last season in the opener. 

Oregon and Georgia kick off their seasons on Saturday at 12:30 PST in Atlanta. The game can be seen on ABC.