A new era of Georgia Football begins on Saturday in Atlanta.
For the first time since 2001, Mark Richt won’t be on the sidelines when the Bulldogs take the field. Richt and the school parted ways after last season and he is now the head coach at Miami.
Kirby Smart, the former Alabama defensive coordinator and Georgia alum, will be calling the shots for the 18th-ranked Bulldogs when they meet No. 22 North Carolina in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in the Georgia Dome.
The game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Eastern and it will be televised by ESPN.
Georgia is currently a 3-point favorite, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The Over/Under is set at 57.
Keep reading to see all the important game details, including betting information and prediction:
Georgia-North Carolina Game Details
When: Saturday, September 3, 2016
Where: Georgia Dome — Atlanta, Georgia
Time: 5:30 p.m. Eastern
TV Channel: ESPN
Georgia-North Carolina Betting Preview
Betting information provided by OddsSharks.com
Opening Line: Georgia (-3.5)
Current Point Spread: Georgia (-3)
Money Line: North Carolina +130 … Georgia -150
— Georgia is 4-1 against the spread in its last 5 games
— North Carolina is 11-2 straight up in its last 13 games
— The total has gone UNDER in Georgia’s last 5 games
— The total has gone OVER in 5 of North Carolina’s last 6 games
Georgia-North Carolina Prediction
The Georgia offense is happy to welcome back stud running back Nick Chubb, who missed more than half of last season with a knee injury. Chubb rushed for 1,500 yards as a freshman filling in for Todd Gurley and was off to an even better season as a sophomore before his injury. Chubb is ready to go Saturday and Smart said he’ll have no limitations in the game. That could spell bad news for UNC, a team which allowed 216 rushing yards per game in 2015. The Heels expect to improve on that number as their defense is more experienced. Also, Georgia’s leading rusher from last year, Sony Michel, has a forearm injury and might sit this one out. Greyson Lambert gets the call at quarterback for Georgia, but the ‘Dawgs are run first and not putting it on the senior to win them games.
In Smart’s first game as a head coach, the defensive guru faces a new starting quarterback in Mitch Trubisky. Trubisky was highly-effective in limited duty last year completing 40 of 47 passes (85.1 percent!) for 555 yards and 6 touchdowns. He also added 3 rushing scores. But now the offense is his and he’ll be facing an experienced Georgia secondary. Tailback Elijah Hood, coming off a 1,463-yard, 17-TD campaign, will be featured heavily in UNC’s offensive attack. North Carolina is looking to join the ACC elite, but I’m giving the edge to Smart, Chubb and the ‘Dawgs in Week 1. Look for UGA to cover with the UNDER coming in.