Clemson got an extra week to let its first lost of the season stew and that should lead to plenty of motivation in its return to the field. But while Georgia Tech already has two losses, this isn’t a team that can be overlooked. With Kelly Bryant good to go for the Tigers, they opened as large -14.5 point favorites on Monday at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
This spread seems fishy, but a lot of that has to do with how Clemson dominated the triple-option when these teams met last year. Throw in an extra week to prepare for it and the Tigers could be set to control the Yellow Jackets yet again after limiting them to 95 rushing yards on 2.5 yards per carry in last year’s 26-7 win. Of course, the difference from that Game is that Clemson doesn’t have Deshaun Watson to throw for 304 yards and put points on the board. Bryant is important to Clemson’s success, but he’s not Watson, made evident in his Four touchdowns and Four picks this season.
Georgia Tech has yet another solid team and it’s a wonder what the spread would look like if it was undefeated as both the Tennessee and Miami losses could’ve easily been wins (lost by one point). But while Clemson dominated this triple option, it can be argued that GT has looked better this season with TaQuon Marshall running the show. The Yellow Jackets are averaging 5.8 yards per, which is slightly better than last year’s mark, although this Game could hurt those numbers. Marshall has picked up where Justin Thomas left off as he leads the team with 704 yards and 11 touchdowns. Top back KirVonte Benson is close behind with 652 yards and five touchdowns.
But after seeing what Clemson did to this offense last year will make the Yellow Jackets hard to back. Then again, Clemson’s offense isn’t the easiest to back either, especially against a Georgia Tech defense that’s near the top of the charts in yardage allowed (20th best in country).
The Tigers aren’t completely blowing out teams, not dissimilar from last season. They couldn’t consistently move the ball against Syracuse and beat Virginia Tech and Wake each by 14 points. Covering this Game may require them to reach around 30 points. Top running back Travis Etienne (8.7 yards per carry) tweaked his hammy against ‘Cuse, but should be good to go after two weeks of rest. The rest of the offense goes through Bryant and Tavien Feaster on the ground as Clemson has ran the ball 80 more times than they’ve passed. Without the ability to open up the Game like Watson did last year, that may be enough for Georgia Tech to cover on the road.
The Yellow Jackets have covered in their last six ACC Games and are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 overall. The Tigers are 5-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record, but 2-6 ATS in their last eight Conference Games.
Our Pick – UNDER 49