Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs. Virginia Cavaliers Pick
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (12-16 SU, 17-11 ATS) vs. Virginia Cavaliers (24-2 SU, 19-7 ATS)
When: Wednesday, February 27, 2019 – 7 p.m. ET
Where: John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, Virginia
By: Matt Lowry, College Basketball Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: GT +21 / UVA -21 (MyBookie Sportsbook)
Total: O/U 118.5
Last Time Out: Georgia Tech lost 80-65 to Miami / Virginia won 64-52 against Louisville
Scouting the Yellow Jackets:
The Yellow Jackets are obviously struggling this year and find them themselves at 12th in the ACC with a conference record of 4-11. GT had a chance at winning two games in a row for the first time since Jan 5th in a game they lost to Miami. Prior to the the Miami loss they dropped 7 straight games and fall to 2-8 in the last ten games. During this stretch, the Yellow Jackets offense has been almost non-existent as they are averaging just 57.3 points per game. To make matters worse they must go up against the best defense in the country, and do so on the road, making this matchup an uphill climb.
Scouting the Cavaliers:
The Cavaliers are clearly one of the best teams in the country and it all starts with their defense. When you allow an average of 54.5 points per game you are going to win a lot of games. The quality of their defense was evident recently when they held the Louisville Cardinals to 15 points in the second half. This allowed their offense which had been struggling to make a furious comeback and keep pace with Duke and North Carolina for a potential regular season ACC title.
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Head to Head:
Overall, the Cavaliers have dominated the Yellow Jackets over the past seven years. Virginia is 8-2 against Georgia Tech in the last ten meetings dating back to 2012, and when they play the Yellow Jackets at home they are 5-0 during this span.
One of the biggest question marks for the Yellow Jackets coming into this game is who is going to step up and provide a solid scoring performance? Part of the reason the Yellow Jackets are so bad this season is their leading scorer, Jose Alvarado, is only averaging 12.6 points per game. After Alvarado, the next highest scorer is James Banks III. Banks III is averaging 9.9 points per game and was held to a big fat 0 against the Hurricanes. So, whether it is Alvarado or Banks III or someone else, the Yellow Jackets are going to need several scorers in double-digits to keep pace with the Cavaliers.
Notable Betting Trends:
Georgia Tech may not be winning a lot of games outright, but surprisingly they have been able to cover the spread often this season. When the Yellow Jackets come off a loss they are 10-5 against the spread, with a record of 4-1 in away games. Bettors like to bet against sorry teams and this likely plays into the bookmaker’s spread until the pro gamblers suck the value out and the line sharpens. Getting at this line early may be important here.
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Georgia Tech will Cover if:
They can speed up the game and get buckets in transition. With the style of the Cavaliers, this is likely going to be a very low scoring game. With that in mind, Georgia Tech will need to counter this by forcing turnovers, getting fast break points, and taking the crowd out of the game. Georgia Tech will also need to run the Cavalier shooters off the three-point line. The Yellow Jackets allow teams to shoot 29.2% from behind the arc (8th in the country). And considering the Cavaliers are shooting the three ball at 39.2% (11th in the country), this will be a huge key for the Yellow Jackets to avoid getting blown out.
Virginia will Cover if:
Their “big three” each have a productive game. By “big three” I am referring to the trio of Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome and De’Andre Hunter. Any three of these guys have shown they can go off at any point, but if Virginia wants to avoid a massive upset, all three guys will need to contribute. Both Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome were completely shut down against Louisville, which is why the Cavs found themselves in a huge hole. Luckily their defense made up for this in the second half as mentioned earlier and the struggles from Guy and Jerome were not the narrative for a Viriginia backers loss.
Matt’s Pick to Cover the Spread:
When looking at this game, it just feels like a trap for Virginia. MyBookie has Virginia giving up 21 points, and with both teams being low scoring offenses, I just do not think they will score enough to be anywhere close to covering. Georgia Tech also has nothing to lose and will be looking to play a spoiler role in terms of handing the Cavs a bad loss and potentially knocking them off the one seed line. We have seen much crazier things happen in college basketball, so the Yellow Jackets and the points are my best play.
Matt’s College Basketball Pick: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets +21
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