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NCAA Football Tennessee at Georgia Tech – Odds and Best O/U Pick

Tennessee Volunteers(0-0) @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets(0-0)

  • Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Atlanta, GA
  • When: September 4, 2017 8:00 pm EST
  • Spread: Tennessee (-3) at Georgia Tech (+3)
  • Moneyline: Tennessee (-150) at Georgia Tech (+130)
  • Over / Under: Over 56 (-120) vs Under 56 (+100)

The Tennessee Volunteers have not lost a season-opening game since 2008. We are telling you that not because it has any real bearing on Monday night’s Georgia Tech vs Tennessee match-up but because it’s the type of thing touts and bettors are supposed to care deeply about.

Never mind that the Vols’ opening-game opponents have included the likes of Montana, Tennessee-Martin…and just a few actual FBS teams sprinkled in.

Tennessee is ranked #25th going into the 2017-18 campaign, but preseason rankings aren’t worth the paper – or the bits and bytes – they’re printed on. Georgia Tech, however, is saddled with a QB quandary. That could do a lot more actual damage to their chances than the Vols’ ceremonial placement in the top 25.

Odds have been moving throughout the week. The point spread began at (-6) for the visitors, but has shrunk to only (-3). The O/U total has been getting so much under-action that the number has gone from 63 to 56 points. Clearly, bettors think that the game will be a tight defensive battle with Georgia Tech out-playing expectations.

Are they seeing a mirage? Let’s look at the particulars.

Will the quarterbacks play a quarter each?

Tennessee is not completely settled at QB, but they at least have their starter. Quinten Dormady is reported as likely to take the first snap, though there may be packages for dual-threat Jarrett Guarantano. We could actually see 4 or 5 QBs play in this contest without so much as a minor injury.

The trick to scoring on Georgia Tech is to get to the Red Zone. Under HC Paul Johnson, the ‘Jackets have been an opportunistic but otherwise average (or below average) defense year after year, lacking the power and 4/5 star athletes to control the LOS near their own goal-line. GT will offer a much more experienced ‘D than usual this season, and Johnson hopes it will gobble up turnovers to give the offense extra chances.

Running back John Kelly rushed for 630 yards on 98 carries as a sophomore and will start alongside Dormady on Monday night. But Tennessee’s offensive backfield has been cleaned out by graduation and the NFL draft. Without a dynamic running threat at QB (Dormady is more of a West Coast offense/execution type guy), it may be difficult for the Vols to generate a big-time attack on the ground.

Tennessee ranked 11th in rush defense in the SEC in 2016, but bookies probably made a mistake by factoring that into the opening lines. Defending the Georgia Tech offense takes a different skill-set than playing against a simple power or read-option scheme. You might as well say a team will miss field goals due to a bad punter.

A hell of an engineer

Johnson has worked miracles at times on the Flats, bringing a left-for-dead team back to win 9 games in 2016-17. But he can’t overcome the old adage that a QB controversy between unproven up-and-comers often means that there is simply no quality starter the squad can rely on.

The coach is still being coy. Matthew Jordan, a junior, is the signal-caller thought to have the best chance to get the nod on Monday night. Jordan is a great power-runner and reads triple-option plays very well, but to date he has been an inconsistent and wayward passer at best.

Dedrick Mills, a star RB, was also dismissed from the team for disciplinary reasons. That could be affecting the O/U as well, as Mills was an explosive player with a nose for the end zone.

Trying to pick a winner? Get over it – or under it

Click here to wager under (56) points on Georgia Tech vs Tennessee and get a 50% sign-up bonus.

Playing cash on a Monday night game in the week before the NFL slate begins seems like a fun warm-up for the season. But where should your units go? Not enough is known about these teams – or their QB situations – to put value on either category of bet.

Bet Online is trying to steer bettors toward the under with an increased payoff on the wager, hoping that Tech and Tennessee will put up big points. But MSB thinks that even the current O/U is a little hefty.

A little macro-analysis: Georgia Tech’s scheme is superior but the team’s talent is not. For the GT offense to work, a QB must be finely-adjusted mentally as well as physically. That’s unlikely to happen with a brand-new starter…whoever it may be.

Opposing OCs make in-game decisions based on how well the Flexbone is working for Georgia Tech. If the ‘Jacket offense is cranked up, they’ll go all-out to score. If it’s sluggish, they’ll call plays conservatively and avoid turnovers, reasoning that Tech cannot go 75+ yards to score if punted deep. That’s why when Georgia Tech doesn’t score many points, their opponents tend also to not light up the scoreboard quite as much.

Expect a grudging, choppy game with a batch of inexperienced QBs…and take the under.

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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