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At this point, we are still unsure of both of these teams. Is either of them going to be relevant and challenge the best teams in the ACC? It's early in the year, but this game could have some meaning when all is said and done in the Coastal division. Right now, it's a toss-up between these two and Miami (FL) for the division and whoever wins this game could have the heads up.
North Carolina lost in its first game, but that was at South Carolina so you can't fault them too much for that one. Georgia Tech hasn't lost, but its hardest opponent so far was a road game at Duke. The Tar Heels are coming off a bye which helps, but the Yellow Jackets are still -6.5 point home favorites at GTBets sportsbook. GT has won and covered in the past four meetings.
The public is all over Georgia Tech in this one. Taking a glance at the betting trends at sportsbook.com, we see that a whopping 92% of the bets taken in thus far has come in on the Yellow Jackets. When I see a number like that and I'm on that side, it makes me cringe.
Quarterback Vad Lee is the player to know in this game. The Yellow Jackets have been a power-running team for the past few years now, but they may have turned over a new leaf with Lee. Through the first two games, Lee already has six passing touchdowns, which would've been unheard of a year ago for this team. The two quarterbacks totaled 12 passing TDs through all of 2012. Everyone knows Lee can run, but if they add a passing dimension to the offense, it could be that much harder to stop. Lee is joined by a slew of others in the backfield, but most notably senior RB David Sims.
North Carolina's defense is supposed to be better this year, but they'll need to show it in this game if that's the case. Georgia Tech rushed for 380 yards and seven touchdowns in last year's game. That's something you cannot deal with. The Tar Heels had trouble stopping South Carolina on the ground in their first game so that's not a good sign.
Offensively, UNC has most of the same studs as last year, outside of running back Giovani Bernard. Bryn Renner is in his senior season, but hasn't shown he's better than a year ago with only two touchdowns in two games. If he is, then this will be the game to show it. Renner spreads the ball around a lot, which helps as five different receivers have at least five receptions. Romar Morris and A.J. Blue will have to come up big in the backfield, not only rushing the ball, but also receiving. WR Quinshad Davis has two touchdowns, but only six receptions this year and needs to be a bigger part of this offense.
The Tar Heels are coming off a bye so there's no reason they won't be ready to make a game of this. Unfortunately, they are 1-6 ATS in their last seven road games. As for the Yellow Jackets, they have covered four straight at home. They are also 6-2 in the last eight games these teams have met in Georgia Tech. The over is 5-1 in the last six matchups in Georgia.
We only have two games of data to work with in this one, but our score prediction model says Georgia Tech wins this one going away. So we'll lay the small spot here. Ga Tech -6
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