Pick Georgia Tech +3.5 Over Florida State in ACC Championship

Kevin Stott

Tuesday, December 2, 2014 4:11 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014 4:11 PM UTC

Florida State remains undefeated heading into this ACC Championship game in Charlotte on Saturday night but all good things must come to an end and Georgia Tech and the 3½ points looks like a good bet.

Odds Overview
#2 Florida State vs. #12 Georgia Tech: (Florida State -3½, Pinnacle)
ACC Atlantic Division champions Florida State and ACC Coastal Division champions Georgia Tech meet in the ACC Championship game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina on Saturday night in a showdown much more important to the unbeaten Seminoles who are on path to be one of the first four teams participating in the first-ever CFP (College Football Playoff) next month. Odds makers have Florida State as 3½-point Favorites over Georgia Tech (Pinnacle) on the college football odds with the Seminoles priced at -160 and the Yellow Jackets at +142 in the Money Line (Winner) marketplace (Pinnacle) on Monday evening.
The last time these two teams met was two years ago in this same game—the ACC Championship—where the Seminoles held off Georgia Tech, 21-15 but failed to cover the point spread as big 15½-point Favorites. Although it always finds a way to win and has been in the title talk all season, Florida State will really be up against it here against the Rambling Wreck who have one of the best Rushing attacks in the entire country and a Money Line bet on Georgia Tech with the decent plus is definitely worth consideration here this weekend.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Georgia Tech (6-2 ACC) and head coach Paul Johnson (44-37-3 ATS) don’t have much to play for but winning this ACC Championship game and spoiling FSU’s dream season is something so the Yellow Jackets can call this their Super Bowl or whatever and leave everything on the field knowing the upset here would be the jewel of their season, no matter whom they might face and potentially beat in a bowl game. Georgia Tech is led by dynamic QB Justin Thomas (81 completions, 1,460 yards, 7 TDs, 4 INTs) who is more dangerous offensively running the ball (165 rushes, 861 yards, 5 TDs) than he is throwing it. But that’s this team’s style—run, run, run, run, run.

The #12 (AP) Yellow Jackets rank #4 in the nation Rushing (333.8 ypg) behind Thomas, RBs Zach Laskey (150 rushes, 748 yards, 8 TDs) and Synjyn Davis (117 rushes, 686 yards, 3 TDs) and a nice little cast of others and Georgia Tech actually just picked up 8 yards while you were reading this sentence. But the Yellow Jackets are an anemic 122nd Passing (135.3 ypg), so it will be important here on Saturday night for them not to get too far behind the Seminoles at any point. WR DeAndre Smelter (35 receptions, 715 yards, 7 TDs) and Darren Waller (4 TDs) are Thomas’s favorite targets when he does put the pigskin in the air, but expect Georgia Tech to run 3 out of every 4 plays in this one and stick with what’s worked this year, and throughout past seasons.

On defense, the Yellow Jackets allow 24.1 ppg and rank 43rd, but against talented QB Jameis Winston, that unit will have to play the way it did three weeks ago at Home in their 28-6 win over then-ranked #19 Clemson. Defense will decide this.

Florida State Seminoles
Florida State (8-0 ACC) just finds a way to get it done week-in and week-out but a close look at the Seminoles schedule doesn’t exactly reveal a team in contention to win a national championship: Oklahoma State, Citadel, Clemson, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Louisville, Virginia, Miami (Fla), Boston College and last weekend, Florida. But that ‘0’ is golden and most schools would have probably lost at least once against that slate of games. If Florida State does roll Georgia Tech here, it most certainly deserves to be in that first-ever CFP (College Football Playoff) system final four; and if victorious here will hopefully be in the opposite bracket as Alabama, should the Crimson Tide beat Missouri in Saturday’s SEC Championship game in Atlanta.

The Seminoles are led on offense by stud QB Jameis “All He Does Is Win Win Win” Winston (255 completions, 3,250 yards, 21 TDs, 17 INTs) and Florida State is the polar opposite of Georgia Tech with the ball in that the Seminoles excel Passing (#13, 299.1 ypg) but have some serious issues Rushing (#104, 131.2 ypg). FSU averages 37.2 ppg (#17) but may not get the ball as much as it likes here if the Yellow Jackets can establish the run and keep the ball out of Winston’s hands.

When the Seminoles do try to run, RBs Dalvin Cook (124 rushes, 728 yards, 7 TDs) and Karlos Williams (138 rushes, 609 yards, 10 TDs) get the bulk of the carries. Probably the most dangerous skill position player for FSU is WR Rashad Greene (86 receptions, 1,183 yards, 5 TDs, 13.8 ypc) and along with Nick O’Leary (44 receptions, 517 yards, 5 TDs) and Jesus Wilson (37 receptions, 455 yards, 4 TDs), provide a nice little receiving corps in Tallahassee. So expect Florida State to pass the majority of the time while Georgia Tech is running it on most of its plays from scrimmage.

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Best Betting Approach and Trends
Georgia Tech is just 2-9 SU in its L11 against FSU but the Yellow Jackets are an impressive 7-3 ATS L10 against the Seminoles and Georgia Tech is a spotless 5-0 ATS in their L5 against Florida State. So the recent trends say the Seminoles (3-10 L13 ATS) win but the Rambling Wreck of Georgia Tech cover. As far as trends and the Total Points—which was unreleased at publishing time—the Under is 6-3 in the L9 Georgia Tech games, 4-1 in FSU’s L5 games and is 4-2 in the L6 in this series.

As talked about, Georgia Tech will try to rush the ball like there’s no tomorrow and keep the ball out of Winston’s hands so the Seminoles defense will be the big issue here for bettors of both the side and the Total. With Winston prone to throw the more-than-occasional pick (17 INTs), expect the Yellow Jackets to get the edge in the TO battle and convert those into valuable FGs or TDs. Georgia Tech (W5 SU) has a remarkable 37 Rushing TDs and averages 6.0 ypc. They are also confident enough and knows this opponent well enough to pull off the upset here on Saturday night, in what could end up being a really thrilling ACC championship game and quite possibly, mean a little bit more for Florida State in this evolutionary and exciting College Football season where every game seems to matter in The Big Picture.

College Football Pick: Georgia Tech +3½ Bookmaker

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