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Defying the Odds as Double-Digit Dawgs

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This Saturday, Georgia will attempt to repeat what it achieved versus Auburn in (L to R) 1986--which brought out the Jordan-Hare hoses; 1970, when the Dogs brought down Auburn QB Pat Sullivan; a decade ago in 2006, and on two other occasions: defeat the Tigers when double-digit underdogs.

POINT SPREAD TUESDAY by Patrick Garbin—Twitter @PGarbinDT

It’s Tuesday, meaning it’s “Point Spread Tuesday” on The Daily Dawg Caller, which is posted each week Georgia faces an opponent whereby there’s an extended “point-spread history” between the schools. As far as Georgia-Auburn before there was an official Vegas spread/line, I discovered reliable odds for the game beginning as far back as 1950.

CURRENTLY: Georgia is a staggering 10-point underdog to Auburn this Saturday in Athens, which is somewhat higher than this game’s average point spread of roughly 6½ points in 66 meetings from 1950 through 2015.

Bulldogs, A Big Dog! Notably, as a 10-point underdog, not only does it rank amongst the most Georgia has been an underdog at home since the 1950s, but a victory Saturday would signify the biggest upset pulled by the Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium during at least the last 65 years. Currently, the most Georgia has been an underdog at home resulting in a victory was when the Bulldogs upset Alabama 18-17 in 1965 as a 9-point underdog.

Although the Dogs have never won outright at home as a double-digit underdog—and there have been a half-dozen times or so when they were home underdogs by 10-plus points—they have excelled against Auburn when a double-digit underdog. Entering the upcoming game, Georgia has faced the Tigers 10 times as a double-digit underdog, whereby not only are the Bulldogs 9-1 against the spread, but remarkably have a winning straight-up record of 5-4-1. In comparison, Auburn has been a double-digit underdog in this series seven times, and has performed like one would expect: 1-6 straight up, 4-3 against the spread.

Georgia’s five upset victories over Auburn when a double-digit underdog:

UGA's Victories Over Auburn as a Double-Digit Underdog (1950-2015)
Auburn favored by ? Season Site Georgia's Result

11 points

1962

Auburn, AL

Won, 30-21

20 points

1970

Auburn, AL

Won, 31-17

10.5 points

1986

Auburn, AL

Won, 20-16

10 points

1996

Auburn, AL

Won, 56-49 (4 OT)

11.5 points

2006

Auburn, AL

Won, 37-15

HISTORICALLY: The first 53 games of the Georgia-Auburn series, where there were no reliable point spreads, the Bulldogs held a slight advantage over the Tigers with a 26-21-6 record. Beginning in 1950 and entering Saturday, although favored for 36 of the 66 meetings, Georgia is 30-34-2 straight up in this rivalry and a similar 30-35-1 against the spread.

A Streaky Series: Notably, beginning when head coach Vince Dooley—an Auburn quarterback in the early 1950s—recorded his first victory over his alma mater in 1966 through Georgia’s SEC championship season of 1976, the Bulldogs were 7-4 straight up and 7-3-1 against the number versus the Tigers. However, Auburn then turned the tables, as Georgia recorded marks of only 8-13-2 straight up and 7-18 against the spread over the next quarter-century. Still, beginning in 2002 through last season, the Bulldogs regained the advantage in the rivalry, achieving a 10-4 straight-up record and 9-5 against the number.

Somewhat of an Inaccurate Notion: There once was the notion that this series favored the visiting team—Georgia routinely played Auburn well at Auburn, and the Tigers seemed to always do well against the Bulldogs in Athens. The idea was partly true from 1976 through 2002. During that period, Auburn was a remarkable 11-2 straight up and against the spread in Athens. And, although Georgia was 8-4-2 at Auburn during that time, the Dogs were an even 7-7 against the number, indicating that although Georgia usually outplayed the Tigers at Auburn, perhaps the Bulldogs were, for the most part, supposed to outplay their hosts.

Georgia's records against Auburn at Auburn, and the Tigers' records versus the Bulldogs in Athens since the series was moved from neutral Columbus beginning in 1959:


Article Continues Below
UGA vs. Auburn at Auburn; Auburn vs. UGA in Athens (1959-2015)
Seasons UGA vs. Auburn at Auburn (ATS record) Auburn vs. UGA in Athens (ATS record)

1959-1975

3-5 record (5-2-1 ATS)

5-4 record (4-5 ATS)

1976-2002

8-4-2 record (7-7 ATS)

11-2 record (11-2 ATS)

2003-2015

4-3 record (3-4 ATS)

1-5 record (1-5 ATS)

TOTAL

15-12-2 record (15-13-1 ATS)

17-11 record (16-12 ATS)

Enough of history and trends, who is going to cover this Saturday?

For a little deeper analysis, checkout my selection in the staff predictions which will be posted in a couple of days. But, until then, I’ll be brief... I don’t like the way Georgia matches up with Auburn and, when hosting the Tigers, there’s evidently very little home-field advantage—just ask Mississippi State and Ole Miss. Not only will the Bulldogs’ upset over Alabama in 1965 likely remain their biggest upset at home, but Georgia will probably fail to cover, as well. My early gut feeling sides with the Tigers laying the points. Auburn by 14.

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