ACC Championship Betting Preview: #13 Florida St Seminoles vs Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

2012 ACC Championship Game
#13 Florida State Seminoles vs Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Saturday, December 1, 2012, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Bank of America Stadium – Charlotte, North Carolina
Opening Line: Florida St -13
Current Line: Florida St -14
Opening Total: 63 1/2
Current Total: 61
Opening Money Line: FSU -550 / Georgia Tech +450
Current Money Line; FSU -550 / Georgia Tech +450

Florida St is a 14 point favorite against Georgia Tech in Saturday’s ACC Championship game in Charlotte.

There are 2 great teams in the ACC, #13 Florida St and #14 Clemson. Both are 10-2 this season, but unfortunately they are both in the Atlantic Division and can’t play against each other in the ACC Championship game.The Seminoles beat the Tigers 49-37 at home earlier in the season and won the tiebreaker as both teams were 7-1 in the ACC.

No other team in the conference had more than 8 wins, and that was North Carolina who is ineligible for a bowl game or the ACC Championship because of NCAA sanctions. The Tar Heels tied with Miami and Georgia Tech for the Coastal Division title with a 5-3 record. Miami removed itself from eligibility as a presumptive strike against potential NCAA of their own.

That leaves 6-6 Georgia Tech as the Coastal representative in the ACC Championship game. The winner of Florida St and Georgia Tech will go to the Orange Bowl. For Georgia Tech, a loss would mean they would drop to 6-7 and technically wouldn’t be bowl eligible. However, a similar situation arose last year when 6-6 UCLA lost the Pac 12 Championship game to Oregon and was granted a special waiver by the NCAA to be allowed to go to a bowl. Georgia Tech has played in 15 straight bowl games.

Florida St leads the series against Georgia Tech 12-9-1, but they haven’t played since 2009. Georgia Tech has won 2 straight games in the series including 49-44 in Tallahassee in the 2009 game. Before 2008, Florida St had won 12 straight against Georgia Tech.

Both teams are making their third appearance in the ACC Championship Game in the seven year history of the game, but they have never played each other. Both teams are 1-1 in ACC Championship games. Florida St has 13 ACC titles in history and Georgia Tech has won 3.

Florida St is coached by Jimbo Fisher. The Seminoles have losses at North Carolina St 17-16 and last week at home against Florida 37-26. Other than the Clemson win, FSU has home wins over Murray St 69-3, Savannah St 55-0, Wake Forest 52-0, Boston College 51-7, and Duke 48-7, along with road wins at South Florida 30-17, Miami 33-20, Virginia Tech 28-22, and Maryland 41-14. The Seminoles are 3-8 ATS and the total is 6-3-1 this season. Florida St was a 7 point favorite against Florida and the total was 41.

Florida St is averaging 477.5 yards per game on offense, including 273.7 passing yards and 203.8 rushing yards. The Seminoles are outscoring teams 42-15 this season. FSU is 34th or better in all offensive categories including #8 in scoring. The Seminoles are -6 in turnovers with 23 giveaways. FSU averages 56.2 penalty yards per game and has allowed 23 sacks this season. The Seminoles are 64/145 on third and fourth down conversions, and 59/64 scoring in the red zone with 45 touchdowns. On defense, FSU is allowing 249.4 yards per game including 164.3 passing yards and 85.1 rushing yards. The Seminoles are 7th or better in all defensive categories, including #2 in total defense. FSU has forced 17 turnovers and 32 sacks this season. Seminole opponents are 62/206 on third and fourth down conversions and 22/26 scoring in the red zone with 14 touchdowns. Florida St has 4 defensive/special teams touchdowns this season.

FSU quarterback E.J. Manuel has completed 221 of 328 passes (67.4%) for 2,967 yards with 22 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, along with 87 carries, 235 yards and 3 touchdowns. Manuel is probable with a head injury. If Manuel can’t go, back-up Clint Trickett will get the start. Trickett has thrown 34 passes this season, mostly in mop-up duty. Leading rusher Chris Thompson is out for the season with a torn ACL. He had almost a 1,000 combined rushing and receiving yards with 5 rushing touchdowns. Devonta Freeman has 84 carries, 571 yards and 7 touchdowns, along with 7 catches fro 43 yards. James Wilder, Jr. has 89 carries, 514 yards and 9 touchdowns, along with 19 catches, 136 yards and 2 touchdowns. Lonnie Pryor has 41 carries, 238 yards, and 6 touchdowns, along with 8 catches fro 75 yards. Fullback Debrale Smiley is out indefinitely with an ankle injury. He has 3 rushing touchdowns.

Including the running backs, eight FSU receivers have at least 17 catches. Receiver Rashad Greene has 43 catches, 614 yards and 5 touchdowns. He also has 2 punt returns for touchdowns and a rushing touchdown. Kelvin Benjamin has 28 catches, 479 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Rodney Smith has 34 catches, 471 yards and 3 touchdowns. Kenny Shaw, Greg Dent, and Nick O’Leary will also get significant targets. Shaw and O’Leary have 3 touchdown catches, and Dent has 2. Eighteen Seminoles are listed as questionable or out Saturday including 9 defensive players.

Georgia Tech is coached by Paul Johnson. The Yellow Jackets have home wins over Presbyterian 59-3, Virginia 56-20, Boston College 37-17, and Duke 42-24, along with road wins at Maryland 33-13 and North Carolina 68-50. Georgia Tech has road losses at Virginia Tech 20-17 in overtime, Clemson 47-31, and last week at Georgia 42-10, along with home losses to Miami 42-36 in overtime, Middle Tennessee 49-28, and BYU 41-17. The Yellow Jackets are 7-5 ATS and the total is 7-4 this season. Georgia Tech was a 14.5 point underdog at Georgia last week and the total was 64.

Georgia Tech is averaging 458.8 yards per game on offense, including 135.4 passing yards and 323.3 rushing yards. The Yellow Jackets are #119 nationally in passing, but #3 in rushing. This isn’t really surprising with Johnson’s triple option offense. Georgia Tech is outscoring teams 36-31 this season. The Yellow Jackets are +3 in turnovers with 16 giveaways. Georgia Tech averages 37 penalty yards per game and has allowed 11 sacks this season. The Yellow Jackets are 98/199 on third and fourth down conversions and 46/59 scoring in the red zone with 39 touchdowns. On defense, Georgia Tech is allowing 391.9 yards per game including 248 passing yards and 143.9 rushing yards. The Yellow Jackets have forced 19 turnovers and 25 sacks. Georgia Tech opponents are 79/181 on third and fourth down conversions and 40/49 scoring in the red zone with 31 touchdowns. The Yellow Jackets have 3 defensive/special teams touchdowns.

Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington has completed 68 of 114 passes (59.6%) for 1,097 yards with 7 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, along with 151 carries, 618 yards, and 18 touchdowns. Washington is probable with a wrist injury. Back-up quarterback Vad Lee has completed 24 of 50 passes (48%) for 528 yards with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, along with 82 carries, 489 yards and 9 touchdowns.

Running back Orwin Smith has 75 carries, 673 yards, and 5 touchdowns, along with 17 catches and 271 yards. He is doubtful with an ankle injury. Zach Laskey has 124 carries, 623 yards and a touchdown, along with 6 catches, 122 yards and 2 touchdowns. David Sims has 99 carries, 422 ayrds and 4 touchdowns. Robert Godhigh has 46 carries, 381 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 15 catches, 227 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Receiver Jeff Greene has 18 catches, 284 yards and 2 touchdowns. Defensive back Jamal Golden has 2 punt returns for touchdowns. Seven Yellow Jackets are listed as questionable to out Saturday.

Florida St is 10-1-1 ATS in neutral site games, 6-1-1 in December, 2-5 in ACC games, 1-4 overall and on grass, and 0-5 after allowing 170 passing yards or less.

Georgia Tech is 4-0 ATS in ACC games, 4-1 after scoring less than 20 points, 5-12-1 after rushing for 200 yards or more, 2-5 after failing to cover, 1-5 in neutral site games, and 1-6 in December. The Yellow Jackets are 2-0-2 ATS in the last 4 against Florida St, and were the underdog in each of those games.

Both of these teams were beaten handily last week by top five in-state SEC rivals last week. Florida St has a ton of injuries, but they are still a much stronger team than mediocre Georgia Tech. The Seminoles should roll into the Orange Bowl as ACC Champs.

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