Quick Lane Bowl 2018 Betting Guide: One Key Weakness For Both Georgia Tech, Minnesota
Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Malachi Carter (81)
2018 Quick Lane Bowl Betting Odds: Georgia Tech-Minnesota
- Odds: Georgia Tech -5.5
- Over/Under: 56.5
- Date: Wednesday, Dec. 26
- Location: Detroit, Mich.
- Time: 5:15 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
>> All odds as of Tuesday afternoon. Download The Action Network App to get real-time bowl odds and win probabilities on your bets.
Georgia Tech is looking to send coach Paul Johnson to retirement on a high note when it meets Minnesota in the Quick Lane Bowl.
The Gophers earned their bowl eligibility in the final game of the season by beating rival Wisconsin, so P.J. Fleck’s team should be motivated in Detroit.
Odds Movement for Georgia Tech-Minnesota
By Danny Donahue
Georgia Tech has been among the more popular picks this bowl season. After opening at -3.5, the Jackets are now listed as a 5.5-point favorite behind 78% of bets. That movement doesn’t quite tell the whole story, though.
Georgia Tech had moved to as much as -6.5 due to some Minnesota suspensions before bettors — perhaps sharper ones — decided that the line had gotten out of hand, and returned it inside the key number of -6. The 22% of bets behind Minnesota have accounted for 33% of dollars wagered.
The total has also seen some interesting line movement. Despite only 59% of bets on the over, the number has fallen from 61 to 56.5 thanks to 57% of dollars on the under.
Trends to Know for Quick Lane Bowl
By John Ewing
Minnesota is an unpopular underdog, getting just 23% of bets. In bowl games, dogs getting 35% or less of bets have gone 89-58-2 (61%) against the spread (ATS) since 2005.
By Evan Abrams
Minnesota faces a Georgia Tech team that is averaging 335 yards per game on the ground and is the top rushing team in the country. Since 2005, when a non-service academy team rushes for at least 300 yards per game and is listed as a favorite in bowl season, that team is 4-6 straight up (SU), but 1-9 ATS, failing to cover the spread by 8.6 points per game. Georgia Tech has accounted for two of those ten occurrences, and is 0-2 SU and ATS in this spot.
Georgia Tech Should Run All Day
Minnesota allows 5.2 yards per rush attempt, which ranks 118th in the country. Only Virginia Tech allows more among teams that qualified for a bowl this season.
That’s not ideal against a Georgia Tech triple-option attack that runs the ball at the third-highest rate in FBS. And Georgia Tech doesn’t just run it frequently — it runs it very effectively. The Yellow Jackets average 5.7 yards per carry, which ranks in the top 10 nationally.
You won’t find anything different if you glance at the advanced metrics. Georgia Tech ranks in the top 20 in rushing S&P+ offense — and also sits in the top five in rushing efficiency, opportunity rate and stuff rate.
If you’re looking for reasons for optimism on the Minnesota side, the Gophers closed the season in dominant fashion on the road against Wisconsin’s elite rushing attack, holding the Badgers to only 15 points. They also held an explosive Purdue offense to only 10 points two weeks prior, both pointing to the success that’s come since firing their defensive coordinator.
- 6 Big Ten games with Robb Smith as DC: Allowed 43 points per game
- 3 Big Ten games since he was fired: 16.3
And those last three games came against three bowl teams, while four of the first six came against teams that didn’t qualify for bowls in 2018. So maybe the mismatch isn’t as great as it appears on paper, especially since Minnesota ranked top 10 in stuff rate on defense.
That’s important against a Georgia Tech offense that predictably ranks in the top five in the same category, and could lead to a few stuffs on 3rd- or 4th-and-short that might swing the game.
It’s also worth noting that Minnesota ranks in the top five in stuff rate on offense, while Georgia Tech’s defense ranks a horrid 110th. The Gophers should have a much easier time converting on those critical short yardage situations.
The extra preparation for the triple option certainly won’t hurt their cause, either, although Fleck recently hinted at completely transforming the entire defense. That could introduce a lot of variance when trying to project this matchup.
Can Minnesota Offensive Exploit GT Passing Defense?
Minnesota received inconsistent play from the quarterback position all year, but still ultimately posted respectable numbers (7.8 yards per attempt; 47th in nation). Those numbers came despite an offensive line that struggled mightily in pass protection (91st in adjusted sack rate).
Well, Georgia Tech gets almost no pressure on the quarterback, ranking 128th in the country in that same category, including 127th on passing downs, per S&P+. Overall, the Yellow Jackets allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 65.1% of passes — that’s 123rd in the nation.
Minnesota star wide receiver Tyler Johnson, who finished with 74 catches and over 1,100 yards this season, could have a big day against one of the most inefficient pass defenses in the country.
Who’s More Motivated?
I don’t see a motivational edge for either of these teams that failed to qualify for a bowl in 2017. I think both will ultimately want to be in Detroit.
While Georgia Tech did have some gripes about going to this bowl, this is the final game for legendary coach Paul Johnson, who began his coaching career in the North Carolina high school ranks back in the 1970s. The Yellow Jackets should have some extra motivation to send off their coach on top.
On the other side, P.J. Fleck is one of the best motivators in all of college football, and Minnesota should be happy to be here after it took a huge road upset over Wisconsin in its season finale to simply become bowl eligible.
Bet to Watch
By Collin Wilson
If you are looking for a bowl with plenty of moving pieces, look no further.
While Johnson’s send off should provide motivation, the Georgia Tech players felt slightly disrespected by being placed in a bowl below some other ACC teams with worse records. As for the coaching staff, Geoff Collins is taking over the roster immediately after this game, and Collins has made it clear that the current staff of Georgia Tech assistants will not be retained.
The handicap from the statistical side favors Minnesota. Specifically, the Gophers fired their defensive coordinator and promoted Joe Rossi as interim, which has made a huge difference. Minnesota is ninth in stuff rate and 39th in opportunity rate, indicating it can cause some disruption in that Georgia Tech triple option offense.
On the flip side of the ball, the Yellow Jackets are 125th in opponent third down conversion percentage, and with a sack rate of 119th on defense, Minnesota freshman quarterback Tanner Morgan could have plenty of time to make plays. Take the Gophers to cover, but keep an eye on the floating news of potential player suspensions.
Collin’s Pick: Minnesota +5.5