The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (5-3, 3-2 in the ACC) ramble into Blacksburg VA this Thursday night (7:30 pm ET) to face the number 20-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies (6-2, 4-0) in an ACC matchup. The winner of this game has gone on to win the ACC championship in each of the last three seasons, so this will be a pivotal contest in terms of the conference race. Georgia Tech faces a must-win if they hope to have an opportunity to defend their ACC championship from last season in the conference title game. Virginia Tech is on a roll coming into this matchup, winning six straight after suffering defeats to Boise St., and shockingly to James Madison to open the campaign. They last played on October, 23 when they thrashed Duke 44-7, scoring 40 points for the 4th consecutive game. Georgia Tech last played on October 23 as well, dropping the contest against Clemson 27-13 on the road.
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The Hokies have been on fire offensively during their winning streak, led by dynamic dual-threat quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Taylor leads the conference with a 171.1 passer rating and has accumulates 1,602 yards passing to go with 15 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions on the year; he is also their top rushing threat with 527 yards on the ground. Sophomore Jarrett Boykin is Taylor’s top receiving target with 517 yards through the air this season. The Yellow Jacket’s defense will certainly have its hands full on Thursday night and will have to defend all aspects of this explosive offensive attack.
In contrast to the high-octane Hokie attack that comes in firing on all cylinders, Georgia Tech’s triple-option base offensive unit comes into the game sputtering after quarterback Joshua Nesbitt, who averages 156.6 yards per game of total offense, netted only 85 yards against Clemson. Nesbitt, as is common to the option-based system, is not much of a threat to throw the football with only a 38.2% completion percentage and 674 yards passing on the season. Georgia Tech is outstanding on the ground though, with an average of 317.4 yards rushing per game, the best in FBS and 102.6 yards per game better than Virginia Tech the second best rushing team in the ACC. The Hokies defense has been stout against the run this season allowing 136 yards per game, good for fourth in the ACC. They will need to bring their “A” game on Thursday night, as there will be no surprises from the Yellow Jackets offensively.
Georgia Tech is 13-5 ATS in their last 18 road games, and Virginia Tech is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 home games. The under is 21-9 in the Yellow Jackets last 30 games as a road underdog, and the under is 7-1 in Virginia Tech’s last 8 games in November.
Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Tech Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets +13
@ Virginia Tech Hokies -13
Over 56 (110)
Under 56 (110)
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Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Tech Betting Predictions:
Over/Under Prediction (Top Play) – Take the under in this game, the running game of Georgia Tech will eat up yard sand clock and keep the total down. Virginia Tech has been running up some huge offensive numbers lately, but the style of play of their opponent here will bring their streak of 40+ point performances to an end. It may be close, but the under is the play of the day here.
Spread Prediction – Georgia Tech’s triple option offense is always tough to defend for teams that rarely see that style of play and it is particularly effective against an opponent with superior talent, which Virginia Tech clearly is here. Take the 13 points on the road even with the way the Virginia Tech offense has been playing because Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson’s option offense will control the clock and eat up yards, keeping the Hokie offense off the field. The option cannot be truly stopped, it can only be contained and that bodes well for a road underdog. If Virginia Tech gets out to an early lead look out, because Nesbitt is not capable of throwing the ball well enough to lead a comeback in the tough environment in Blacksburg.
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