Georgia Tech should be in an ornery mood after losing to Notre Dame, so look for the Rambling Wreck to take out some frustrations on Duke in the ACC opener Saturday.
The road favorites may be on a mission in the ACC opener for both teams Saturday when those 20th ranked Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (2-1, 2-1 ATS) pay a visit to the Duke Blue Devils (2-1, 2-1 ATS) at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, NC at 12:00 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPN2.
The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Georgia Tech as a decided road favorite for this contest with the current line at -9½ with odds of -103.
Lost as Favorites at Notre Dame
Georgia Tech was actually cast as a small favorite at Notre Dame last week and was upset by the Irish 30-22 in a game that was not quite that close as Notre Dame was up 30-7 before the Yellow Jackets scored two touchdowns in the final 48 seconds. The encouraging news was that the Rambling Wreck did rush for 216 yards in the loss and they can top that here vs. an offense that probably will not get off to as quick a start as the Irish did.
Duke began this season with two blowout wins over weak competition, winning 37-7 at Tulane and 55-0 here at home over North Carolina Central of the FCS. However, the Blue Devils failed with a rise in competition last week being the losing college football picks 19-10 to Northwestern also here at Wallace Wade Stadium.
Seeking Revenge for Last Year
Georgia Tech also had things very easy to begin the season, opening with a 69-6 romp over Alcorn State of the FCS and then crushing Tulane 65-10 at home, the same Tulane team that Duke defeated but not quite as handily. And the Yellow Jackets also failed the first time they stepped up in competition at South Bend, but at least they were able to do what they do best, which is run the football well, before the Irish took them out of their element with the big lead.
Remember that Georgia Tech has almost always been in the top five in the country in rushing since Paul Johnson took over as head coach and there they are again right now, second in the nation this early season with 377.0 rushing yards per game on an impressive 7.3 yards per carry.
And as if the loss at Notre Dame was not enough reason to motivate the Rambling Wreck to a better performance this week, consider also that this is a big revenge spot after Duke went down to Atlanta last season upset the Yellow Jackets 31-25. Georgia Tech knows that it deserved to win that game winning the yardage battle 483-373 with 282 of those yards coming on the ground, but three Tech turnovers made all the difference.
Blue Devils Exposed with Step Up
Now, we admit that we were a bit fooled by the first two Duke performances vs. weak teams this year as we unsuccessfully backed the Blue Devils as favorites over Northwestern, and they failed miserably due to their inability to get off of the field. You see, the Wildcats only passed for 70 yards in the entire contest, but they were still able to rush for 201 yards even with Duke knowing the run was coming.
That is certainly a bad omen for the Blue Devils in regards to this contest vs. one of the nation’s premier rushing teams, especially with the triple option creating a look Duke is not accustomed to facing. Remember that Georgia Tech averaged 6.1 yards per rush in its unlucky loss to Duke last year, and the run defense for the Blue Devils appears to have taken a step back since 2014 based on its first true test last week.
Still on a 9-1 ATS Run
Finally, the loss by Georgia Tech in South Bend snapped a 9-0 ATS run by the Yellow Jackets although their 5-0 ATS run inside the ACC remains very much in tact with this being the conference opener. Meanwhile, Duke is 0-4 ATS in its last four games after allowing less than 170 passing yards in its previous game.
If Northwestern can win by nine points in Durham while basically just running the ball exclusively last week, there is no reason why one of the very best rushing teams in the nation in Georgia Tech cannot win by double-digits while in both revenge mode and bounce-back mode visiting Duke on Saturday.
College Football Pick: Georgia Tech -9½ (-103)