The pundits are already having their say about how they expect the Bulldogs to fare this football season; now the boys in Vegas, as they always do, are getting in on the action.
As Senator Blutarsky reported on Friday, the bookmakers at the Golden Nugget Las Vegas -- evidently an enterprising bunch -- have already laid down lines for the 2010 season's biggest games, and the Dawgs figure into more than a few of them. Georgia's games against Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida, Auburn, and Georgia Tech were deemed important enough to merit early spreads, and the results are interesting: The Nugget apparently expects the Dawgs to be favored against the Razorbacks, Vols, and Yellow Jackets, and underdogs against the Gators and Tigers.
Whenever you're talking about betting lines, it's important to remember that these aren't the bookmakers' prediction of who's actually going to win the game in question, they're only trying to predict where the money will go so that the people on the winning side don't vastly outnumber the people who are going to have to pony up. So these numbers are really more gauges of hype and public opinion more than anything else, but with that in mind, there are some interesting kernels of info to be found. Georgia giving three against Arkansas, for example, seems to push back a bit against the preseason speculation that has Arkansas pegged as a potential dark-horse in the SEC West -- and a notch or two above Georgia. Knock off two and a half or three points for home-field advantage and you've still got the Dawgs and Hogs basically even, which is rather more Dawg-favorable than the unofficial preseason polls that have Arkansas ranked anywhere from five to 10 spots higher than Georgia.
Georgia giving four against Tech is a bit of a surprise, too -- Tech is being pegged as a potential ACC Atlantic Division hopeful yet again, though their switch to a 3-4 defense means they're kind of in the same boat the Dawgs are. (Here's my way-too-early betting advice: When the quote-unquote "official" lines are released for this game in November, bet the over.)
Georgia being an underdog to Auburn and Florida shouldn't come as too much of a shock, though after two consecutive blowout losses in Jacksonville, being only a six-point 'dog to the Gators is a pleasant surprise. Again, none of this should be interpreted as Vegas's actual prediction of how the games are going to break this season, but it is a faint (but hopeful) sign that preseason public opinion may be slowly swinging the Dawgs' way. The always-dangerous early-season matchup with South Carolina and the long-distance road trip to Colorado remain tossups, but at this rate, Georgia could be favored in as many as nine games this season.
(All this is just for the sake of speculation, of course. We know SBN's readers are as pure as the driven snow and would never do anything as dastardly as actually putting money on a college game.)