College Football Pick on an Unbeaten to Fall

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 5:40 PM GMT

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets may be 4-0, but they may be up against it when they host the stiff defense of the Miami Hurricanes in Atlanta this Saturday night.

 

A currently unbeaten team could be in trouble in the ACC Saturday night when the Miami Hurricanes (3-2, 2-3 ATS) and their stout defense pay a visit to those Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (4-0, 2-2 ATS) at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta, GA at 7:30 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPN2.

The posted line at Pinnacle Sports for this contest is Miami -1½ at current odds of -110.


Undefeated Home Underdog?
Just the fact that the Yellow Jackets are home underdog college football picks should give you an indication of just how unimpressed the oddsmakers are with their gaudy record. After all, Georgia Tech had non-covering wins vs. the likes of Wofford and Georgia Southern and beat a bad Tulane team before having probably its best win in its last game on the road at Virginia Tech, but even the Hokies have been unimpressive besides a win at Ohio State.

Miami may be 3-2, but at least the two losses were vs. good competition on the road at Louisville and at Nebraska, and the Hurricanes hung in well in the 41-31 loss at Lincoln two weeks ago. They then bounced back and quieted a lot of doubters with a 22-10 win over Duke at home last week as scant 3½-point favorites, holding the excellent offense of the Blue Devils to only 288 total yards.


One-Dimensional As Usual
You probably do not need us to tell you that Georgia Tech is a one-dimensional running team, as that has been the profile of the Yellow Jackets since they hired Head Coach Paul Johnson away from Navy in 2008 and he brought the triple option offense with him. The Jackets were actually outgained by a total of 49 yards in the upset win at Blacksburg two weeks ago before a bye, but they were able to maintain possession with 250 rushing yards.

And believe it or not, that was below their overall average this season of 292.0 rushing yards per game on an impressive 5.9 yards per carry, ranking them 11th in the country in rushing offense. Georgia Tech will continue to be dangerous as long as it amasses humongous yardage on the ground, because passing is obviously not the team’s forte. The Yellow Jackets are ranked 116th in passing with quarterback Justin Thomas completing just 49.2 percent of his passes.

In other words, Georgia Tech will be fine as long as it does not face a defense capable of defending its option running game. Well…


Defense Can Stuff the Run
That may be precisely the reason why the Hurricanes are favored on the road in this spot. Miami held Duke to just 85 rushing yards on 3.4 YPC last week, and that average allowed was not an aberration for a Hurricanes’ defense allowing a mere 3.3 yards per carry for the season. The canes rank 52nd nationally in rushing defense allowing 135.2 yards per game, but they would be much higher if not for allowing 343 rushing yards to Nebraska.

The Cornhuskers are a little better balanced offensively than Georgia Tech though, so the Hurricanes can commit to stopping the run here until Thomas proves that he can beat them through the air, which seems unlikely.

On the other side of the ball, Miami running back Duke Johnson has rushed for 525 yards already on a whopping 6.1 yards per carry, and he should have a field day vs. a Georgia Tech run defense that ranks 94th in the land and is allowing a hideous 5.4 yards per carry! In fact, the Yellow Jackets have been below average against the pass also allowing 7.6 yards per attempt, so Johnson doing his thing on the ground could lead to fine passing from Brad Kaaya.

Kaaya completed 20-of-34 passes vs. Duke for 223 yards and two touchdowns without an interception, and he has now completed 61.6 percent of his passes for the season while averaging 8.4 yards per attempt with 12 touchdown passes. Granted he also has seven interceptions, but he protected the ball perfectly last week and is now facing a shaky pass defense that may allow him to do it again.


Miami Five-Year Run in Series
Finally, recent history shows that the option attack has not worked vs. the Hurricanes, as Miami has won the last five head-to-head meetings with four of the five wins being by 15 points or more!

Look for that winning trend to continue for at least one more year with Miami again prevailing at Georgia Tech on Saturday.

College Football Pick: Miami Florida -1½ (-110)

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