Georgia Tech vs. Clemson Pick Against the Spread 9/18/21
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. Clemson Tigers (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS)
When: Saturday, September 18, 3:30 p.m.
Where: Memorial Stadium, Clemson, S.C.
Point Spread: GT +28.5/CLEM -28.5 (Intertops)
Total: O/U 52
Boy, life be a lot better for Georgia Tech if it didn’t have to play Clemson every season. The Yellow Jackets and the Tigers got paired together as nearby opponents when divisional football first came to the ACC, but since that occurred, Clemson has built a national power while Georgia Tech has floundered. The Tigers have now won six straight in this series, and the Jackets don’t have a win in the Upstate since 2008 when their previous coach Paul Johnson was in his first year in Atlanta.
Here’s how one-sided this series is: Not only has Dabo Swinney has never lost to Georgia Tech in Clemson, he hasn’t even had to sweat against the Jackets. In six matchups against Tech in Clemson, Swinney has never failed to beat the Jackets by at least 14 points. The last time Tech was here, Clemson scored a 38-point victory, and it only got worse last year in Atlanta, as Clemson throttled the Jackets 73-7. With the Jackets already having lost to Northern Illinois, this could be another overwhelming rout in Clemson’s favor. How the Public is Betting the Georgia Tech/Clemson Game
The public is expecting points in this game, as the total has been bumped up from 51 to 52. However, the public is leaning toward the Yellow Jackets at this spread, as the number has held at -28.5 despite 57 percent of tickets coming in on Georgia Tech.
Georgia Tech: Quarterback Jeff Sims (arm) is questionable. Wide receiver Leo Blackburn (knee) is out for the season.
Clemson: Offensive lineman Mason Trotter (hand) and safety Nolan Turner (undisclosed) are questionable. Offensive lineman John Williams (undisclosed) and safety Lannden Zanders (shoulder) are out for the season.
When Georgia Tech Has the Ball
The ground game remains a big strength for Georgia Tech as Geoff Collins continues to transition away from the triple option, but the air is a problem that only got worse when Jeff Sims injured his arm and had to come out in the loss to Northern Illinois. Jordan Yates played well after taking over, but the Jackets clearly were not on the same page in the loss to the Huskies, a game that the Jackets never should have lost.
Georgia Tech does have two capable pass catchers in Malachi Carter and Kyric McGowan, but with Sims potentially on the shelf for a third straight game and likely to be at less than 100 percent anyway, it’s clear that Tech doesn’t have its timing down through the air. That could lead to Dontae Smith and Jahmyr Gibbs getting a good chunk of work, especially in a game in which Tech is likely to try to slow things down to keep the Clemson offense off the field.
When Clemson Has the Ball
The Tigers have got to stop getting out of their own way. That’s a weird thing to say about a team that won its most recent game 49-3 and was ahead 28-0 after 15 minutes, but Clemson turned it over three times and had another five fumbles that a better team than South Carolina State might have recovered.
The good news was that D.J. Uiagalelei was able to move the ball after doing next to nothing against Georgia, which could lead to the Tigers starting to build their offense in a positive direction. But he’s clearly going to struggle with completing passes this season as he learns how to play on the college level, which means the ground game has to get the job done.
The big questions are which back will Clemson opt to use and whether they’ll give them the commitment they need in order to get in game flow. Will Shipley and Kobe Pace both gashed South Carolina State for over nine yards per carry, but neither got more than eight touches for the entire contest. That could be because Swinney didn’t want to embarrass a clearly overmatched opponent, but switching backs that often can make things difficult for an offense as it faces better teams. Clemson did manage five scores on the ground, but the Tigers currently have too many backs in the backfield.
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Consistency, thy name is not Georgia Tech. One of the hardest things to do when building a program is teaching players how to have consistent success, and Tech has been completely unable to do that under Collins. The Jackets are 0-8 ATS in their past eight contests after a straight-up win, and they’re just 8-19 ATS in their past 27 games overall, which dates back to the Johnson era. They’ve been just as unsuccessful against Clemson, failing to cover in five of their past six meetings with one push. As part of that, the teams have produced a lot of points, as the over is 4-1 in the teams’ past five meetings in South Carolina.
Clemson in September has actually been a great way to light your money on fire as of late, as the Tigers lately get such exorbitant spreads that taking them often leads you backing a spread that’s just too high for Clemson to cover unless Swinney decides never to take his foot off the gas. The Tigers are 0-5 ATS in their past five games in September and a mere 1-5 ATS in their past six home games. The problem has been the offense most of all, as the under is 4-0 in Clemson’s past four games on grass, and the defense has been nasty as always under Brent Venables.
Humid with a thunderstorm isn’t really good football weather, but that’s what we’re looking at in this one. Temperatures will sit in the low to mid-70s, with about 0.4 inches of rain possible during the day.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
Georgia Tech going into Clemson has been a wasted trip for the Jackets over and over, and I don’t see this one being any different. The Tigers are by far the more talented of the two teams, and Georgia Tech still has a ways to go before it’s ready to join the upper echelon of the ACC. This is a large spread, but Clemson can certainly cover this number. Give me the Tigers to continue the dominance against Tech.