No. 3 Clemson Tigers at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (+9.5, 58)
Third-ranked Clemson survived two weeks of underachieving before returning to its dominant ways last week, and the Tigers can’t afford another subpar effort when they travel to Georgia Tech for an ACC showdown Thursday night. The Tigers put their 18-game regular-season winning streak on the line as they aim for their first victory at Georgia Tech since 2003.
No coach relishes a short week – Clemson coach Dabo Swinney and Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson lamented the lost days of preparation – but it could be especially tough on the Tigers as they prepare to face the Yellow Jackets’ option attack. “It’s a difficult turnaround for us – and them. It’s hard for both teams to get ready really in three days,” Swinney told reporters. “Georgia Tech is always an incredibly difficult team to prepare for, but even more so when you’ve got a short week to get ready.” Clemson rolled up 537 total yards in a 43-24 home victory over Georgia Tech a year ago, a game the Yellow Jackets would like to forget. “We don’t talk about last year, other than the fact that they beat the fool out of us,” Johnson told reporters. “We just have to play better. I think we’re a little better than we were a year ago. We’ll see if they’re better or the same.”
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE HISTORY: Clemson opened this game as double digit road faves at -10, but early action came in on Georgia Tech, moving the line to Clemson -8.5. Since then the line has bounced back to the Tigers, sitting currently at Clemson -9.5.
Meanwhile, the total opened at 57 and has been bet up one point to sit at the current number of 58. Check out the complete line history here.
Clemson – DE A. Bryant (questionable Thursday, foot), LB B. Boulware (questionable Thursday, ankle), CB A. Baker (questionable Thursday, knee), DB B. Dawkins (questionable Thursday, knee), OL C. Reeves (questionable Thursday, knee), WR H. Renfrow (out Thursday, hand).
Georgia Tech – DL J. Woods (questionable Thursday, upper body), OL T. Klock (questionable Thursday, ankle), OL J. Stickler (questionable Thursday, undisclosed).
WEATHER REPORT: Weather shouldn’t be much of a factor for this ACC showdown. The forecast is calling for partly cloudy skies, with a very slight 12 percent chane of rain and a five to six mile per hour wind blowing across the field from east to west.
WHAT SHARPS SAY: “Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney will have his hands full trying to keep his Tigers focused on Georgia Tech Thursday night with a showdown with Louisville on tap next week. Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets hope to improve on a dismal 1-3 SU and ATS record in their last four games in this series. Swinney will remind his team that Clemson’s last road loss was here in a 28-6 defeat in 2014.” – Coves Expert Marc Lawrence.
ABOUT CLEMSON (3-0, 1-2 ATS, 0-3 O/U): After squeaking out six-point wins in their first two games, the Tigers routed South Carolina State 59-0 last week and put up predictably impressive numbers in the process, outgaining the Bulldogs 555-102. Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Deshaun Watson (692 passing yards, seven touchdowns, three interceptions) hasn’t done much damage on the ground thus far, and running back Wayne Gallman (197 rushing yards, two TDs) has managed 74 yards over the past two games after rushing for 123 in the opener against Auburn. Clemson’s defense has picked up where it left off last year and ranks eighth nationally in total defense (250 yards per game) and 11th in scoring defense (12.3 points per game).
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH (3-0, 1-0-1 ATS, 0-1-1 O/U): Following a defensive struggle in a 17-14 victory over Boston College to open the season, the Yellow Jackets’ option attack has been in high gear the past two games, rolling up 955 yards in lopsided wins over Mercer and Vanderbilt. Quarterback Justin Thomas (169 rushing yards, one touchdown; 335 passing yards, one TD) is the catalyst for the offense, though running back Dedrick Mills (126 yards, four TDs) also has done some damage and Clinton Lynch (116 yards on nine carries) is a big-play threat. The Yellow Jackets have allowed 305 total yards per game but have been a bend-don’t-break unit, giving up only 10.3 points per game – seventh-fewest in the nation.
* Home team is 6-0 ATS in their last six meetings.
* Georgia Tech is 1-7 ATS in its last eight games versus a team with a winning record.
* Under is 5-0 in Clemson’s last five games in September.
* Under is 4-1-1 in the last six meetings at Georgia Tech.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Bettors are laying the chalk in this ACC matchup, with 62 percent of wagers on Clemson. When it comes to the total, 59 percent of wagers are on the Over.