Georgia Tech vs North Carolina Odds & Predictions: Offenses to Shine
Lance King/Getty Images. Pictured: North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye.
Georgia Tech vs North Carolina Odds
Last week, Georgia Tech suffered a 35-14 loss at home to Miami. Apologies to anyone who had the under, as the score was 14-7 entering the fourth quarter. The teams combined to score 28 points in the final frame, sending the total over 43.5 in the process.
The loss dropped the Yellow Jackets to 4-6 and 3-4 in the ACC. The team is 3-3 under interim coach Brent Key and bowl eligibility is still on the table, but it will be a tough task. Georgia Tech closes the year at arch-rival No. 1 Georgia, but will first need to knock off No. 13 North Carolina.
The Tar Heels defeated Wake Forest 36-34 last week in a high-scoring affair.
North Carolina is 9-1, 6-0 in the ACC, and has already clinched the ACC Coastal. North Carolina knows it will be taking on Clemson in the ACC Championship, but it has a chance to secure a 10-win season this week.
Georgia Tech leads the all-time series 31-22-3 and won 45-22 last season. This year, UNC is favored by more than three touchdowns and the total is set at 63 points.
Turnovers played a role in the fourth-quarter scoring explosion last week. The Yellow Jackets threw three of four interceptions in the fourth quarter, which led to 14 points for Miami.
Zach Gibson was responsible for two of those interceptions, and the offense will be his to run for the rest of the season. Georgia Tech will be without its top two quarterbacks, Jeff Sims and Zach Pyron, for the remainder of the season.
Gibson will be tasked with providing a boost to an anemic Georgia Tech offense. Georgia Tech averages 17.1 points (125th in the FBS) and 4.9 yards per play (114th in the FBS). The Yellow Jackets rank 122nd in finishing drives and 118th in Passing Success Rate.
Georgia Tech also ranks 127th in Rushing Success Rate, but it does have two capable backs. Hassan Hall leads the team with 473 rushing yards on 4.7 yards per carry. Dontae Smith has 370 yards, but a higher yards-per-carry average and a team-leading four touchdowns.
Wide receiver Nate McCollum leads the team with 54 receptions for 590 yards and three touchdowns.
When Georgia Tech does put points on the board, it is usually through the help of its defense. Georgia Tech ranks fifth in the FBS with 22 turnovers forced. Despite losing the turnover battle by four last week, Georgia Tech is still +11 and fifth in the FBS in turnover margin.
Linebacker Charles Thomas and defensive back LaMiles Brooks are tied for the team lead with two interceptions. Thomas is also part of the nation's top linebacker duos with Ayinde Eley. Thomas has 97 tackles, two sacks, the aforementioned two interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Eley has 98 tackles, 3.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Despite the talent in the back end, Georgia Tech is going to have a hard time slowing down North Carolina. The Tar Heels are going to control the line of scrimmage as Georgia Tech ranks 115th in Rushing Success Rate, 123rd in Line Yards and 85th in Havoc.
North Carolina should have a big day running the football and that is before we even get into its biggest strength.
Quarterback Sam Howell set many school records and left as one of the most accomplished passers in school history. However, when Howell declared for the NFL Draft, I don't think head coach Mack Brown anticipated he would be upgrading the position. That is exactly what Drake Maye has done.
Maye has thrown for 3,412 yards, 34 touchdowns, just three interceptions and has also added a team-leading 584 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
He leads the nation in total offense per game (399.6), is tied in passing touchdowns and total touchdowns, second in passing yards per game and fourth in QBR. Maye was recently named a semifinalist for the Davey O'Brien, Walter Camp and Maxwell awards.
Maye leads a UNC offense that is 10th in the FBS in scoring offense (40.1), ninth in yards per play and Passing Success Rate and second in Finishing Drives.
His top target is standout wide receiver Josh Downs, who leads the ACC with 74 catches and 11 touchdowns, and ranks third with 847 receiving yards. Downs does most of his damage underneath, while Antoine Green is the big-play threat. Green has 678 receiving yards on 22.6 yards per catch (leads the ACC) and six touchdowns.
North Carolina has three capable backs in Omarion Hampton, Elijah Green and Caleb Hood, each of which have run for over 250 yards. Hampton leads the group with 358 yards and six touchdowns. Hood leads the team with 5.8 yards per carry.
It is truly remarkable that UNC is 9-1 with the defense it has fielded this season. It ranks 110th in scoring defense, 125th in total defense and 117th in yards per play allowed.
The Tar Heels are also 127th in Rushing Success Rate, 126th in Finishing Drives, 124th in Line Yards and 123rd in Line Yards. Against the Georgia Tech offense, something will have to give.
Georgia Tech vs North Carolina Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Georgia Tech and North Carolina match up statistically:
Georgia Tech Offense vs. North Carolina Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
North Carolina Offense vs. Georgia Tech Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||85||8|
|Seconds per Play||24.9 (35)||23.8 (20)|
|Rush Rate||52.0% (75)||49.7% (91)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
Georgia Tech vs North Carolina Betting Pick
By far, the best unit on the field in this game is the North Carolina offense. The Tar Heels should find success on the ground, and the Yellow Jackets will not put much pressure on Drake Maye.
I expect North Carolina to put a lot of points on the board, but there's not much value on its team total. The line is 42.5, and the Tar Heels have scored 43 points just twice this season in the first two games of the year. There's also the potential to be hooked if UNC scores 42 points like it did a few weeks ago against Pitt.
Instead, I will target the full game over because it also invokes UNC's defense. North Carolina has given up at least 24 points in nine of its 10 games. It has allowed 400 yards in seven games this season. Georgia Tech doesn't have the greatest offense, but UNC is a week removed from giving up 28 points and 418 yards to Virginia.
Both of these teams are also ranked in the top 35 in seconds per play, so this is going to be a fast-paced game. Recent history leans toward the over as well.
The over is 7-2-1 in the past 10 meetings and seven of those meetings had at least 63 points. I anticipate this will be another high-scoring battle in Chapel Hill.
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