ACC Week 2 Overview: Young Ds Comprise Georgia Tech-USF Showdown

Tuesday, September 4, 2018 1:52 PM UTC

Tuesday, Sep. 4, 2018 1:52 PM UTC

Georgia Tech and South Florida clash for the first time in program history, each sporting inexperienced defenses. The one that makes the fewest mistakes wins in our ACC spotlight game of the week. Other conference action sees No. 2 Clemson a heavy betting favorite at Texas A&M, Pitt a dog hosting Penn State in the Keystone Classic, and a slew of lopsided FCS tune-ups.

ACC Spotlight: Georgia Tech (-3) at South FloridaSaturday, noon ET, ESPN2
Free NCAAF Pick: South Florida ML
Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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Georgia Tech (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) romped 41-0 over FCS Alcorn State in the season opener, but the offense was far from impressive. Senior QB TaQuon Marshall, in his second year captaining the Yellow Jackets’ flexbone triple option, finished just 9-for-18 in the passing department. Stretching the field occasionally allows the rushing scheme to operate with greater effectiveness. Head coach Paul Johnson expects better execution against much tougher South Florida (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS).

The Bulls topped Elon 34-14 with junior QB Blake Barnett tossing for 305 yards and 3 TDs on 24-of-34 passes. The run game sputtered to just 3.9 yards per carry (38-148). South Florida will have to do better to keep Georgia Tech honest. The Yellow Jackets run a new 3-4 scheme, allowing the FCS Braves to cross midfield twice on a paltry 146 total yards.

The Bulls defense will have to find ways to force Georgia Tech off the field. They allowed Elon 33:12 minutes of possession, which will wear down the front seven against much stronger opponents. Keeping assignments while guarding the option attack is vital.

This is the first ever meeting between the Bulls and Yellow Jackets. Past ACC teams to take on AAC opponents on the road have faired so-so. The visitors are 10-9 SU and ATS, despite kicking off favorites in all but six (-5.8 avg. line). If the AAC program compiled more wins the prior season, the ACC mark moves to 2-8 SU and 3-7 ATS.

The Bulls return just 11 starters to a 10-win team from a year ago, but new head coach Charlie Strong will find ways to exploit Georgia Tech’s young defense. The wrong team is favored. South Florida wins 33-27 via the air. Take the Bulls straight-up.

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543 yards of total offense + shutout defense + our fans = VICTORY 🐝🏈💪#TogetherWeSwarm pic.twitter.com/aQxJM0bVni

— Georgia Tech Football (@GeorgiaTechFB) 2 de setembro de 2018
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Around the ACC:

Northwestern (-3) at Duke, noon ET, ESPNU: Duke (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) is 5-0 SU and ATS catching less than 4 points as a road underdog during head coach David Cutlcliffe’s tenure. Northwestern has more upset wins (30) than any program in the nation since Pat Fitzgerald took over coaching duties in 2006. Neither team wants the points.

Towson at Wake Forest (OFF), noon ET: Wake Forest (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) will have few issues against FCS Towson (1-0, 1-0 ATS). The Tigers have squared off against four Power 5 teams since 2011. They own a -35.3 point differential with a 45.8-10.5 average score.

Georgia State at N.C. State (-24.5), 12:30 ET: Head coach Dave Doeren has guided N.C. State (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) to 40.4 points per game in 10 laying more than 20 points on the college football oddsboard. Georgia State (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS), meanwhile, is 10-4 ATS all-time catching more than three touchdowns.

Holy Cross at Boston College (OFF), 1 ET: Separated by just 41 miles, the Boston College (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)-Holy Cross (0-1 SU, 1-0 ATS) rivalry renews after sitting dormant since 1986. The Eagles won the last four meetings by 30, 31, 35, and 40 points. The talent gap between the two is just as great today.

William & Mary at Virginia Tech (OFF), 2 ET: Virginia Tech (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) has won the last seven matchups against FCS William & Mary (1-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) by a 262-64 combined score.

Wagner at Syracuse (OFF), 3:30 ET: This is just the fourth time head coach Dino Babers will lead Syracuse (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) in a game laying double digits on the oddsboard. His team averages 382.3 passing yards and 41.3 points in the prior three. Wagner (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) has lost six of its last seven to FBS foes by 31 points or more.

North Carolina (-16.5) at East Carolina, 3:30 ET, ESPNU: East Carolina (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) is 4-19 SU and ATS since Week 3 of the 2016 season, losing to FCS North Carolina AT&T 28-23 as a 7.5-point favorite last Saturday. The defense yields 41.9 points per game in this span. North Carolina (0-1 SU, 0-0-1 ATS) needs and gets a confidence boost here.

Savannah St. at Miami (OFF), 6 ET: Going 10-0 SU to begin 2017 inflated Miami’s (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) value. The program is 6-4 SU and 2-8 ATS in its last 10 games, failing to cover a -5.9 average line by 4.9 points per game. The Hurricanes, in fact, have covered just one double-digit spread as the betting favorites since 2016 (Duke, Week 13).

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Not the start we wanted but we still got a whole lotta season and a whole lotta fight. See 🙌 at Hard Rock Canes! #ItsAllAboutTheU pic.twitter.com/c38ln9WM5Z

— Sebastian The Ibis (@UM_Sebastian) 3 de setembro de 2018
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Indiana State at Louisville (OFF), 7 ET: Louisville’s (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) 51-14 defeat to Alabama in the opener was its worst since dropping a 63-14 tilt to Rutgers in 2008. Will the Cardinals rebound hosting Indiana State? Of course, but be careful in the betting market. Since 1980, Louisville is 32-54-1 ATS (37.2 percent) when losing by 10 points or more last time out. The mark is 6-10 ATS in the last decade.

Clemson (-12.5) at Texas A&M, 7 ET, ESPN: Our SEC spotlight game of the week sees Clemson (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) laying 12.5 points at Texas A&M (1-0 SU, 10 ATS). The ACC is 27-7 SU and 22-11-1 ATS (66.7 percent) in its last 34 road SEC tests going off the betting favorite.

Samford at Florida State (OFF), 7:20 ET: Samford’s (1-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) average line against Power 5 competition is 32.4 over the last decade. Anything less is an automatic play for FSU (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS).

Virginia at Indiana (-7), 7:30 ET, BTN: Since 2012, Virginia (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) is 3-26 SU (16-13 ATS) catching points on the road. The ‘under’ has hit in 12 of 17 when kicking off with a line under two touchdowns. The Cavaliers’ offense limps to just 17.6 points per game under these betting conditions.

Penn State (-8.5) at Pittsburgh, 8 ET, ABC: Oddsmakers made Penn State (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) a 14-point favorite back in their Game of the Year lines. It’s dropped nearly a touchdown after the Nittany Lions needed overtime to dispose of App State (45-38) last Saturday. Too much adjustment? Pitt (1-0 SU, 0-0-1 ATS) caught 20.5 on the board in its 33-14 defeat at Happy Valley in 2017.

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