Clemson vs. Georgia Tech | College football odds, picks and predictions (Monday, September 5)

Clemson vs. Georgia Tech Odds

Clemson, by his standards, had a very disappointing 2021 season, as he finished 9-3 in the regular season, failed to make the ACC Championship Game and was nowhere near talks about the college football playoffs.

Expectations are always very high for Dabo Swinney’s program, and this season is no different. There’s also a lot of turnover, as Clemson has lost both of its coordinators to other coaching jobs.

The Tigers travel to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech in what should be a routine win, but Clemson has a lot to prove offensively after all the struggles he’s had last year.

The Yellow Jackets almost won this game last year when the Tigers offense could barely move the ball. However, it will be an even bigger challenge for Georgia Tech this season as the Yellow Jackets have lost a ton of talent through graduation and the transfer portal.

The Tigers’ strength will remain their defense, and Georgia Tech will likely struggle to score on Monday night.

For the first time in college football’s playoff era, the Tigers weren’t even in the conversation last season.

This was largely due to the underperformance of quarterback DJ Uiagalelei. He averaged six yards per attempt, the offensive line struggled to consistently move defenses off the line of scrimmage, and Uiagalelei finished with nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

He could jump into second year as a starter, but I’m skeptical that will happen right away. Uiagalelei has slimmed down and Swinney says he wants to play faster, but there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding this offense.

The Tigers finished last season outside the top 50 in rushing completion rate, the top 100 in passing completion rate and the top 90 in big plays made. The explosive plays of years past from players like Justyn Ross (pre-injury), Travis Etienne and Amari Rodgers are gone.

While questions about the offense remain, there’s little doubt about how dominant Clemson’s defense should be. The defensive line has been compared to the 2018 defensive line — which topped everyone, including Alabama.

The Tigers finished in the top 10 in rushing percentage allowed and defensive yards last season. And they return almost all of the production of this unit.

Georgia Tech has lost as much on the transfer portal as any program in the country, and the Yellow Jackets have already had plenty of trouble last year.

Georgia Tech was in the bottom 20 in the nation for turning drives into points based on its finishing drive rankings. Now the Yellow Jackets face a defense that used to be part of the national elite to defend its own red zone.

The Yellow Jackets are returning less than half of their offensive line snaps, which means there will be plenty of players playing their college opener against arguably the best defensive line in the country.

Georgia Tech ran the ball at an above-average pace last season, but leading running back and star running back Jahmyr Gibbs was traded to Alabama. The second runner for the Yellow Jackets last season is now in professional football.

Receiving-wise, two of the Yellow Jackets’ top three receivers are gone. They’ve lost a ton of production and are in the midst of an offensive rebuild. There’s not a long way to attacking success in this game.

Clemson vs. Georgia Tech Pick

When those two teams played a competitive 14-8 game last September, the Yellow Jackets passed just 298 yards, 98 of which were rushing. Georgia Tech couldn’t generate a push along the offensive line, and that was before they lost more than half the line (and their running back).

Considering all of Georgia Tech’s offense turnover and the uncertainty surrounding Clemson, that total is a little too high.

This game’s total has been rising throughout the week, but we’ve reached the point where it’s too high and I’m jumping on the underside. Finding a path to offensive success is too difficult for Georgia Tech and while Clemson needs improvement offensively, the Tigers need to prove it before I buy.

51 is a key number in college football and because of that, I wouldn’t bet the least at a price lower than the current market offer.

Take: Under 51 (51 or over)

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