Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (4-2 SU, 6-0 ATS) vs. No. 7 Clemson Tigers (6-1 SU, 4-3 ATS)
College Football Week 9
Date/Time: Saturday October 28th, 2017. 8:00PM (ET)
Where: Memorial Stadium Clemson, S.C.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: GT +14.5/CLEM -14.5
Over/Under Total: 49.5
Just two weeks ago, the Clemson Tigers suffered a surprising upset loss at the hands of Syracuse 27-24 at the Carrier Dome. After a week off, the defending National Champions return to action this Saturday when they host the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets inside Memorial Stadium. For Clemson, they proved last year that a midseason loss could be overcome in route to a championship. Therefore, they are hoping for another similar path to this years College Football Playoffs. If Clemson can survive this weeks matchup with Georgia Tech, the stage will be set for a showdown with NC State for the ACC Atlantic Division and right to play for their 3rd straight ACC Championship.
Of course the Yellow Jackets could spoil Clemsons plan for redemption this Saturday. The Yellow Jackets rugged triple option is nearly impossible to prepare for even with the added week of preparation for the Tigers. Paul Johnsons Yellow Jackets are 4-2 SU with both of their losses coming by a single point. This is a team that has played extremely well covering the spread in all 6 games. I think some people accredit Georgia Techs success with the surprise factor because defenses are not accustomed to defending the triple options especially in the ACC. However, Johnson has been around Georgia Tech for a long time meaning this is nothing new. The thing that makes this offense works, especially this year, is they have good football players executing this style of play which means they are capable of contending with anyone.
For me this game will be decided by Clemsons defensive line. The Clemson defense as a unit is one of the best groups in the ACC and better units in the entire country. However, the Tigers offense is not nearly as good as they were a year ago. While still very talented and effective, they are mostly a running football team. Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant has tossed just 4 touchdowns and thrown 4 picks in the first 6 games. Meanwhile, most focus has been put towards Bryant running the football along with tailbacks Travis Etienne and Tavien Feaster. Etienne has emerged as the explosive playmakers but overall the Tigers still lack the explosiveness in the passing game that took them to the championship a year ago.
In recent meetings with Georgia Tech, Clemson has dominated winning the last two games by scores of 43-24 and 26-7. In both of those games, Clemsons offense was able to move the football and stay on the field. I am concerned that Clemsons offense will not be able to stay on the field as much this Saturday because Georgia Techs defensive defends the run relatively well holding opponents to just 116 yards per game (20th in the FBS). If that happens, Clemsons defense will be on the field a lot more which has negative benefits from a triple option offense that is designed to wear down opponents over the course of 4 quarters.
Collectively, Georgia Tech ranks 2nd in the FBS averaging a lucrative 372 yards per game. They rarely have to throw the football and rarely do effectively. However, quarterback TaQuon Marshall has yet to turn over the football and has tossed 5 touchdowns. Ball security this year has been much better for this Yellow Jackets offense. More importantly, Marshall leads the team in rushing with 704 yards with 11 touchdowns while running back KirVonte Benson has been equally impressive with 652 yards and 5 touchdowns on less carries. Therefore, the skill level coming out of the backfield has been greatly improved this season and I believe that will continue to show as it has through the first 6 games.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I know this line has some historical value built into it. However, I just do not see much reason why Clemson is a 14.5 point favorite. Clemson is a good football team but Georgia Tech is also very good. I believe circumstances will play out as described above and this game will be a fight. Take Georgia Tech +14.5. - Move the line on this game up to 20 points by inserting it into a 20 point football teaser at the web’s best sportsbook: 5dimes!