ACC Betting Picks: Clemson Tigers at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

#5 Clemson Tigers at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Bobby Dodd Stadium – Atlanta, Georgia
Saturday, October 29, 2011, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: ABC or ESPN GP
Opening Line: Clemson -4 1/2
Current Line: Clemson -3 1/2 (-105)
Opening Total: 62 1/2
Current Total: 62 1/2
Opening Money Line: Clemson -175 / Georgia Tech +155
Current Money Line: Clemson -165 / Georgia Tech +145

Clemson a surprising double-digit favorite on Saturday afternoon
Clemson is a 3 1/2 point favorite at Georgia Tech in a key ACC clash Saturday night.

Two weeks ago both of these teams were undefeated and looked like they were clearly the class of the ACC, and were on a collision course for the conference Championship game. Clemson is still rolling along at 8-0 under coach Dabo Swinney and are ranked #5 in the BCS standings. However Georgia Tech, coached by Paul Johnson has lost 2 games in a row and is now a half game behind Virginia Tech in the Coastal division  The Tigers are looking for their first 9-0 start since they won the national championship way back in 1981. The last time Clemson was 8-0 in 2000, their winning streak ended in Atlanta against Georgia Tech. Clemson has home wins over Troy 43-19, Wofford 35-27, Auburn 38-24, Florida St 35-30, Boston College 36-14, and last week against North Carolina 59-38. The Tigers have road wins at Virginia Tech 23-3 and Maryland 56-45. Georgia Tech started off the season 6-0 with home wins over Western Carolina 63-21, Kansas 66-24, North Carolina 35-28, and Maryland 21-16, along with road wins at Middle Tennessee 49-21 and NC State 45-35. Georgia Tech has losses at Virginia 24-21 and last week at Miami 24-7. After scoring at least 35 points the first 5 games of the season, Georgia Tech  has scored 21 points or less three games in a row. Georgia Tech leads the series against Clemson 49-25-2, including 42-13-2 in Atlanta. Clemson won last year 27-13 at home to snap a four game losing streak to Tech, including 39-34 in the 2009 ACC Championship game.

Last week, Clemson hosted North Carolina. It was 24-17 Clemson at halftime, but the Tigers exploded for 35 third quarter points to take control of the game, 59-24. North Carolina scored 2 late touchdowns but Clemson easily covered the 9.5 point college football betting line 59-38. Clemson had 450 total yards including 373 passing yards from quarterback Tajh Boyd who had 5 touchdown passes with no picks and also added a rushing touchdown for good measure. DeAndre Hopkins had 9 catches 157 yards, and a touchdown. Sammy Watkins had 8 catches for 91 yards and a touchdown. Clemson forced 6 turnovers and had two defensive touchdowns from DE Kourtnei Brown who had a fumble return and an interception return for a touchdown. North Carolina also had 9 penalties. The Tar Heels had 418 total yards including 316 passing yards. North Carolina had a 100 yard kickoff return in the 3rd quarter.

Clemson is averaging 484 yards, including 303.6 passing yards and 180.4 rushing yards. The Tigers are averaging 40.6 points a game. Clemson has 8 turnovers and has allowed 16 sacks this season. Clemson is 66/138 on third and fourth down conversions, and 28/33 scoring in the red zone with 22 touchdowns. The Tigers are allowing 378 yards including 169.4 rushing yards and 208.6 passing yards a game. Clemson is allowing 25 points a game. The Tigers have forced 17 turnovers and have 16 sacks this season. Tiger opponents are 46/129 on third and fourth down conversions, and 18/21 scoring in the red zone with 8 touchdowns. Clemson has a punt return for a touchdown this season along with the two Brown scores against North Carolina.

Boyd is 172/278 passing for 2,379 yards with 24 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, along with 81 carries, for 165 yards and 4 touchdowns. Boyd leads the ACC in all major passing categories and is a candidate for the Heisman Trophy. Running back Andre Ellington has 146 carries, 745 yards, and 7 touchdowns, along with 12 catches for 55 yards. He is probable with an ankle injury.  Mike Bellamy and D.J. Howard also get significant carries and each has at least one touchdown run. Bellamy has two. Watkins has 54 catches, 819 yards, and 9 touchdowns, along with 21 carries for 126 yards. DeAndre Hopkins has 37 catches, 510 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Both Watkins and Hopkins return kicks and punts for the Tigers. Watkins has almost 1,400 all purpose yards and a punt return for a touchdown this season. Dwayne Allen has 33 catches, 432 yards, and 5 scores. Allen is probable with turf toe. Jaron Brown has 18 catches, 239 yards, and 3 touchdowns.   Kicker Chandler Catanzaro is 36/37 on extra points and 13/16 on field goals with a long of 47 yards.

Have teams in the ACC figured out Georgia Tech’s triple option offense all of a sudden? It appears that might be the case as Georgia Tech has lost two in a row and has struggled to m0ve the ball on the ground for 3 weeks in a row. And let’s face it, Georgia Tech is not going to beat anybody with their passing game. Last week at Miami, the Yellow Jackets rushed for only 134 yards against a team that has one of the worst rush defenses in the country. Georgia Tech had been rushing for over 350 yards a game. By contrast, Virginia, a good, not great running team (186 ypg), rushed for over 200 yards against Miami this past Thursday.

Georgia Tech was never in the game last week at Miami. Miami jumped out to a 14-0 lead early and never looked back in the 24-7 win to easily cover the 2.5 point college football betting line. Georgia Tech was held to 211 total yards and 14 first downs. Three Yellow Jacket turnovers didn’t help matters either.  Georgia tech quarterback Tevin Washington was 6/12 passing for 63 yards and an interception. He also had 20 carries for 36 yards and the only touchdown for Tech. Miami had 262 total yards and 14 first downs along with one turnover.

Georgia Tech is averaging  478.5 total yards a game including 321.1 rushing yards a game.  The Yellow Jackets have the  #17 total offense, #5 rushing attack and #17 scoring offense in the nation with 38.4 points a game. The passing offense is averaging 157.4 yards a game. The Yellow Jackets have 12 turnovers and have allowed 5 sacks. Georgia Tech is 72/123 on third and fourth down conversions, and 30/35 scoring in the red zone with 27 touchdowns. Georgia Tech is allowing 340.8 yards and 24.1 points a game. Teams are running for 170.6 yards a game against Georgia Tech. The pass defense is #8 in the country giving up 170.1 yards per game.  The Yellow Jackets have forced 13 turnovers and 16 sacks. Tech opponents are 56/127 on third and fourth down conversions, and 22/28 scoring in the red zone with 18 touchdowns. The Yellow Jackets have 2 defensive touchdowns this year.

Washington is 45/93 passing for 1,139 yards and 10 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, along with 141 carries for 460 yards and 9 touchdowns. Georgia Tech has 30 rushing touchdowns in 8 games this season. Running back Orwin  Smith has 42 carries for 516 yards and 8 touchdowns, along with 12 catches for 286 yards and a touchdown. David Sims has 87 carries for 496 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with a touchdown catch. Roddy Jones has 30 carries, 270 yards, and 2 touchdowns, along with 4 catches, 116 yards, and 3 touchdowns.  Synjyn Days has 42 carries for 220 yards, and 4 touchdowns.  Receiver Stephen Hill has 18 catches, 561 yards, and 4 touchdown catches. Kicker Justin Moore is 40/40 on extra points and 4/8 on field goals with a long of 40 yards. Five Georgia Tech players are questionable doubtful, or out, including 3 members of the secondary and 2 offensive linemen.

Georgia Tech is 4-3-1 against the spread this season and the total is 5-3 in those games. Clemson is 7-1 ATS and the total is 6-2 this season. Clemson has covered two of the last 3 against Georgia Tech and the over is also 2-1 in those games. Clemson is 7-0 ATS in conference games, 5-0 as a favorite, and following a cover, 6-0 following a straight up win, 4-0 against teams with winning records, in October, and in road games, 6-0 overall and on grass, 6-1 in road games against teams with winning home records, 4-1 as  a road favorite of between 3.5 and 10 points, 7-2 after a straight up win of more than 20 points, and 9-3 as a favorite of between 3.5 and 10 points. Georgia Tech is 7-2-1 ATS after scoring less than 20 points in the previous game,   3-7 as  a home dog, including 2-5 as an underdog of between 3.5 and 10 points, 4-15-2 in home games against teams with winning road records. 0-4 following a straight up loss, 0-3-1 in conference games overall and on grass, and 0-4-1 in October.

Clemson scores a ton of points but their defense isn’t that great. This could be the game where Georgia Tech breaks out of their slump. They had better, or they will get crushed by Clemson. If Georgia Tech can run the ball effectively they have a good shot of pulling off the upset.

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