Georgia Tech vs. Clemson Betting Odds & Pick: Back the Tigers to Pummel the Yellow Jackets (Saturday, Oct. 17)
Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Travis Etienne.
Georgia Tech vs. Clemson Odds
|Georgia Tech Odds||+27 [BET NOW]|
|Clemson Odds||-27 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+1500/-10000 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||64.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 12 p.m. ET|
After taking care of business against Miami last Saturday, Clemson once again looks unbeatable. It’ll look to continue its path of destruction through the ACC this week as it takes on Georgia Tech.
Tech rebounded from back-to-back losses by beating Louisville at home last Friday night. Freshman quarterback Jeff Sims has been sensational for the Yellow Jackets thus far, but his dazzling run could soon come to a crashing halt against the best defense in the ACC.
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Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
The Yellow Jackets experienced their share of growing pains in 2019 as the program pivoted from its longstanding commitment to the triple-option to a more modern spread offensive scheme. However, this year, things are starting to trend in the right direction behind Sims.
Sims has improved the Yellow Jackets’ passing attack in 2020, throwing for 7.6 yards per attempt. However, Sims has had a lot of issues taking care of the ball. He’s thrown eight interceptions through his first four starts. That could be a major issue against Clemson’s defense that ranks third in Havoc this season.
Even though they’ve transitioned away from the triple option, the Yellow Jackets have run the ball pretty effectively at 5.0 yards per carry. However, much of that was due to facing some of the worst run defenses in the country, including Louisville and Florida State. Now, they’ll face a Tiger defense that has allowed only 2.8 yards per carry this season.
The Yellow Jackets will have some more continuity on defense in 2020, as they return 94% of their production from last season. That continuity has translated to slightly better success. The Yellow Jackets are allowing 5.5 yards per play this season, compared to 5.8 in 2019.
The Yellow Jacket defense has struggled against the run so far, ranking 61st in defensive rushing success. The main reason for that is Georgia Tech lacks the size to compete up front, and that will show against Clemson in this matchup. This year, the Yellow Jackets averaged only 283 pounds on their defensive line. That’s going to be a big issue on Saturday, as Clemson averages 311 pounds on its offensive line.
Georgia Tech has been fairly decent against the pass, allowing 7.3 yards per attempt and ranking 21st nationally in Defensive Passing Success. However, it hasn’t played a quarterback even close to as talented as Trevor Lawrence. For that reason, I think Georgia Tech will struggle to keep the Clemson air attack in check.
Lawrence has the Clemson offense clicking on all cylinders. The Tigers are gaining 6.4 yards per play and rank in the top 20 in both rushing and passing success. Lawrence is throwing for a career-high 9.8 yards per attempt and already has 10 touchdowns without an interception.
The Tigers had to replace four starters on the offensive line heading into the season, but it hasn’t seemed to matter so far; Lawrence has only been sacked seven times through his first four games.
Not only does Clemson have the best quarterback in the country, but it also boasts arguably the best running back in the country in Travis Etienne. Etienne is already rushing the ball for a whopping 7.0 yards per carry with four touchdowns on the season. He ran all over the Yellow Jacket defense last year when these two met, gaining 205 yards on only 12 carries. He should be able to repeat that kind of performance on Saturday, as 94% of Georgia Tech’s defense from last season is back.
This should come as no surprise, but Clemson has one of the best defenses in the country again in 2020. It’s allowing only 4.3 yards per play and ranks inside the top 10 in both Defensive Rushing and Passing Success. The Tigers’ strength, though, is in their front four. They have three former five-star recruits on their line, and it could turn out to be one of the better units in the country. Clemson showed just how talented it is in the trenches by racking up 18 sacks in its first four games.
Clemson has a lot of young talent in its secondary but not a lot of experience. The Tigers returned only two starters in the back seven from last year’s team, but they do get back second-leading tackler James Skalski, who has been a monster this year. So far, Clemson has dominated against the pass, ranking fifth in Defensive Passing Success and 13th in Passing Explosiveness, so it appears losing five starters hasn’t had a big impact.
Where Clemson has really excelled is in creating Havoc. The Tigers boast the third-best Havoc rating right now and are facing a turnover-prone quarterback on the other side of the ball.
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Betting Analysis & Pick
Georgia Tech has improved from the 52-14 blowout against Clemson last year. But it still has major issues that need to be addressed before it takes the next step.
I think Clemson should be able to move the ball with ease while also wreaking havoc on defense. With how turnover-prone Sims has been, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Clemson can force three or more turnovers in this game. I have Clemson projected at -38.23, so I think there’s plenty of value on the Tigers at -27.
Pick: Clemson -27 (up to -32.5)