ACC Thursday Night Football Betting Picks: Virginia Tech Hokies at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Virginia Tech Hokies at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Bobby Dodd Stadium – Atlanta, Georgia

Thursday, September 26, 2013, 7:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Georgia Tech -7 1/2
Current Line: Georgia Tech -7
Opening Total: 41
Current Total: 41 1/2
Opening Money Line: Georgia Tech -290 / Virginia Tech +245
Current Money Line: Georgia Tech -280 / Virginia Tech +235

Georgia Tech is a 7 point favorite over ACC rival Virginia tech Thursday night in Atlanta.

Georgia Tech is a 7 point favorite over ACC rival Virginia tech Thursday night in Atlanta.

The Virginia Tech Hokies travel to the rival Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in a key early season ACC Coastal match-up Thursday in Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets are 3-0 and already 2-0 in conference play, while Virginia Tech is 3-1 and playing their first conference game of the season. The Hokies lead the series 7-3 and have won 5 of the last 6 against the Yellow Jackets including 20-17 in overtime last year in Blacksburg.

Virginia Tech is coached by Frank Beamer. The Hokies opened the season in Atlanta against The #1 Alabama Crimson Tide, and Virginia Tech lost that game 35-10. That game was in the Georgia Dome instead of Dodd Stadium where Georgia Tech plays its’ home games. Since the loss to Alabama, Virginia Tech has won three straight games at home versus Western Carolina 45-3, at East Carolina 15-10, and last week at home against Marshall 29-21 in triple overtime. The Hokies are 0-3-1 ATS so far this season and the total is 1-2-1. Virginia Tech was an 8.5 point favorite against Marshall and the total went over 48.5 points.

The two teams alternated touchdowns in the first quarter with Virginia Tech taking a 14-7 lead. Marshall scored 2 second quarter touchdowns to take a 21-14 lead into halftime. Neither team would score again until Virginia tech tied it up with just over 3 minutes to go in the fourth. Marshall drove all the way down to the Hokie 39, but the Thundering Herd threw an interception in the end zone. It was one of 3 Marshall turnovers on the day. The Hokies took over at their 20 with 56 seconds left but went 3 and out and had to punt.

In the first overtime both teams missed field goals. In the second overtime Marshall fumbled and it was recovered by the Hokies. Virginia Tech back-up kicker Ethan Keyserling missed a 32 yard field goal that would have won the game, but instead the game went to triple overtime. It was his third miss of the game. He was only playing because Hokies’ kicker Cody Journell was suspended last week, but will play against Georgia Tech.

In the third overtime,Virginia Tech took the ball down to the Marshall two and quarterback Logan Thomas scored on a touchdown run, and also ran in for the two point conversion to put the Hokies up 29-21. Marshall didn’t score in their OT possession giving the Hokies the win. Virginia Tech had 382 total yards including 201 rushing yards. Marshall had 361 total yards. The Hokies had 2 turnovers of their own, and Marshall also had 11 penalties for 66 yards.

Virginia Tech is outscoring teams 25-17 this season. The Hokies are averaging 341.8 total yards per game including 161 rushing yards. Virginia Tech is 76th or worse in all offensive categories including #102 in passing and #104 in total yards nationally out of 125 teams.  On defense, the Hokies are allowing 233.2 total yards per game, including 136.8 passing and 96.5 rushing yards. The Hokies are #15 or better in all three categories. Despite forcing 10 turnovers this season, the Hokies are only +1 in turnovers as they have 9 of their own. Virginia tech is 26/73 on third and fourth down conversions. The Hokies have forced 16 sacks which is tied with USC for second nationally. Virginia Tech is 10/16 scoring in the red zone with 8 touchdowns. The Hokies have one defensive touchdown but have given up a kickoff return and a punt return for touchdowns.

 

Hokie quarterback Logan Thomas has completed 48.5% of his passes for 698 yards with 4 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, and also has 36 carries, 70 yards and 2 touchdowns. Running back Trey Edmunds has 78 carries, 352 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 4 catches for 35 yards. He is probable with a hip injury. If he can’t go, then Chris Mangus will get most of the carries. Mangus has 18 carries, 117 yards and a touchdown, along with 5 catches for 62 yards. Receiver Demitri Knowles has 15 catches, 143 yards and a touchdown. Willie Byrn has 13 catches, 136 yards and a touchdown. D.J. Coles has 7 catches for 124 yards and 2 touchdowns. Joshua Stanford and the stylishly named Kalvin Cline each will get significant targets as well. Four defenders, 3 running backs, and two tight ends are listed as questionable to out for Thursday’s game.

Georgia Tech is coached by Paul Johnson. The Yellow Jackets opened the season with wins at home over Elon 70-0, at Duke 38-14, and last week at home against North Carolina 28-20. Georgia Tech is 3-0 ATS and the total is 1-2. The Yellow Jackets were 6.5 point favorites against UNC and the total was 59.

North Carolina took an early 13-0 lead with two first quarter touchdowns, but missed the extra point on the first. Georgia Tech would outscore them 14-7 in the second, but still trailed 20-14 at halftime. The Yellow Jackets scored with 5:52 left in the third to take a 21-20 lead. Georgia Tech would score again early in the fourth to make it 28-20. North Carolina drove down to the Yellow Jacket 39 but threw an interception. The Tar Heels would get one more possession but went 3 and out. Georgia Tech took over with 6:27 to go and ran out the clock with their triple option offense to secure the 8 point victory. Georgia Tech had 428 total yards including 324 rushing yards. North Carolina had 319 total yards and just 17 first downs. Each team had a turnover but UNC had 8 penalties for 57 yards, and Georgia tech had 5 for 40.

Georgia Tech is outscoring teams 43-11 this season. The Yellow Jackets are #10 in scoring nationally and #12 in points allowed. Georgia Tech is averaging 484.7 yards per game including the nation’s fourth leading rushing attack at 345.3 yards per game. The passing game is an after thought at best and Georgia Tech is #117 in passing at 139.3 yards per game. On defense, the Yellow Jackets are allowing 275.3 yards per game (#11 nationally), including 168 passing yards (#21) and 107.3 rushing yards (#22). Georgia Tech is +3 in turnovers with 5 takeaways. The Yellow Jackets are 29/43 on third and fourth down conversions. Georgia Tech is 11/14 scoring in the red zone with 11 touchdowns. The Yellow Jackets have two pick sixes this season.

Quarterback Vad Lee has completed 56.4% of his passes for 418 yards with 7 touchdowns and an interception. He also has 52 carries, 180 yards and 3 touchdowns. Running back David Sims has 38 carries for 211 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with a 59 yard touchdown catch for his only reception of the year. Robert Godhigh has 14 carries for 174 yards and 5 catches, 83 yards and  2 touchdowns. Zach Laskey has 13 carries, 93 yards and a touchdown, along with a 19 yard touchdown grab. Justin Thomas, Charles Perkins, and Deon Hill also have a rushing touchdown, but Hill is questionable with an illness. Receiver DeAndre Smelter has 6 catches, 100 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Virginia Tech is 19-8 ATS in Thursday games, 8-20-1 in September, 7-21-2 overall, 6-19-1 on grass, 5-16 after a straight up win, 1-4 in ACC games, 2-8 after rushing for 200 yards or more, 0-5 against teams with winning home records, and 0-8 in road games. Five of the last six games in this series have gone under the total. The road team and underdog are 6-1 ATS in the last 7 in the series.

Georgia Tech is 7-0 ATS in ACC games, 5-0 at home and overall, 4-0 after rushing for 200 yards or more, on grass, and after passing for less than 170 yards, 5-1 after a cover and against teams with winning records, 9-2 in September, 4-1 after a straight up win, and 6-18-2 against teams with winning road records. The Yellow Jackets have covered 4 of the last 5  against the Hokies.

With both teams playing on short rest, and with these two defenses, this should be a low scoring game. I also think 7 points is a little too many for a game that will likely be decided by a field goal. I see Georgia tech winning on a late field goal something like 13-10 or 16-13.

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