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Georgia Tech at Georgia Moneyline – ACC vs SEC

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets(7-4) @ Georgia Bulldogs(7-4)

  • Where: Sanford Stadium. Athens, GA
  • When: November 26, 2016 12:00 am EST
  • Spread: Georgia Tech (+4.5) at Georgia (-4.5)
  • Moneyline: Georgia Tech +168 at Georgia -195
  • Over / Under: Over 48 (-110) vs Under 48 (-110)

Georgia Tech head coach (and former Naval Academy skipper) Paul Johnson was once asked to compare the annual Georgia vs Georgia Tech rivalry to the storied Army/Navy series. For background, Army vs Navy has inspired actual violence between fans from the 2 military branches – even a pistols-at-10-paces duel between a general and an admiral way back in 1893.

“Navy against Army is a tough rivalry,” said Johnson, “but Georgia and Georgia Tech are different. These guys really don’t like each other.”

…and that’s why they call it Clean Old Fashioned Hate.

Wagering on a bitter rivalry is tricky – see the gamblers and sports betting sites who saw their fortunes suddenly reversed when Michigan State beat Michigan on an incredible last-second punt block and return in 2015. Georgia Tech beat favored Georgia in a similarly dramatic and bizarre OT contest in 2014.

But there are definite trend lines. The burly Bulldogs are 8-2 in the previous 10 meetings between the SEC and ACC rivals, and have beaten the spread 7 times in the same span. Due to its academic requirements, Georgia Tech cannot recruit to the talent level of a top-tier program like UGA. Last season, Georgia blew multiple chances to score but still led all 4 quarters in a 13-7 win.

But don’t under-estimate the Ramblin’ Wreck. 2015-16’s disappointing 3-9 finish was an aberration – under Paul Johnson, Tech has been at or near the top of the ACC Coastal race year after year. Johnson’s 2014-15 squad beat Clemson, Virginia Tech, Georgia and Miami, and won a lopsided Orange Bowl over a Dak Prescott-led Mississippi State team.

Bovada Sportsbook has the Bulldogs a modest money line favorite at -195 with an over/under of 48.

Georgia – Discontent for the Dawgs

Former Bulldogs HC Mark Richt engineered a fine 2015-16 campaign and a 9-3 record. And then he was fired, since for many UGA boosters only an SEC championship will do.

With talented Kirby Smart taking over the reins, Georgia has fought through a difficult schedule to emerge bowl-eligible, but not without some episodes. A 3-0 start was followed by a blow-out loss to Ole Miss. A 1-4 mid-season slump culminated in losses to Vanderbilt and Florida, but the ‘Dawgs beat powerful Auburn 13-7 on November 12th with their best defensive performance of the year.

UGA’s offense revolves around junior running back Nick Chubb, who ran for 222 yards in the squad’s opening-day win at North Carolina but has been slowed by injuries since then. 6’5″ QB Jacob Eason is having an excellent year for a freshman – but he is a freshman all the same.

Georgia Tech – Flexing the Muscle

Any discussion of the Yellow Jackets typically begins and ends with Paul Johnson’s deceptive Flexbone offense, a run-heavy combination of the Wishbone and the Run and Shoot. Swift senior QB Justin Thomas has been a big-play machine against big-time competition over the course of his career at Tech.

But the larger story has been the Ramblin’ Wreck defense, a source of hand-wringing and woe in Atlanta. When executed, the Flexbone scheme can score on any defense regardless of a disparity in talent. But on the other side of the ball, there is no such chalkboard equalizer. The Georgia Tech front-7 has been putrid at times this season, lacking a pass rush since Adam Gotsis departed in ’15.

Luckily, the ‘Jackets are reasonably healthy on ‘D, though safeties Christian Campbell and Jalen Johnson will be missing on Saturday due to suspensions.

Value Pick – Revenge of the Jocks

When in doubt, pick the football factory over the academic school. Not only does Georgia enjoy an annual size and team-speed advantage for Clean Old Fashioned Hate, but a defense that can shut down Auburn’s Wing-T has a great opportunity to slow Georgia Tech’s similar ground game.

Justin Thomas is a wonderful talent, but not the best fit for a team with a lousy defense trying to bring down massive prey like Georgia. When things go wrong at the line of scrimmage, the slender Thomas often dances and prances and loses yards. That leads to 3-and-outs. For Georgia Tech, punting the ball usually means giving up points on the subsequent opposing drive.

Thomas will make some breath-taking runs and throw it around a little too, but it won’t be enough. The Bulldogs will likely win on their home field.

Take UGA to win at Bovada Sportsbook.

Kurt BoyerThis article was written by Kurt Boyer

A freelance sportswriter from Missouri, Kurt has covered court, gridiron, rink and ring for 10+ years. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.

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