College Football Picks: Georgia at Clemson Week 1 Predictions
by Dave Schwab - 8/15/2013
In an opening-day battle between two nationally-ranked powers, the Georgia Bulldogs are set to invade Memorial Stadium to square off against the Clemson Tigers on Saturday, Aug.31. Kickoff for this SEC/ACC clash has been set for 8 p.m. (ET), and the game will be broadcast nationally on ABC.
Georgia was just five points away from a possible trip to last season’s BCS title game but came up short in a 32-28 loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship as a nine-point underdog. The Bulldogs finished the year ranked fourth in the nation in the final USA Today Coaches Poll after going 12-2 straight up.
The Tigers are coming off an 11-2 SU run in 2012 that included a 7-1 record in conference play. An early-season loss to Florida State cost them a shot at playing for an ACC title, but they ended the season with a 25-24 victory over LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl as 6.5-point underdogs.
Georgia at Clemson Storylines
The Bulldogs are ranked No. 5 in this year’s preseason coaches’ poll primarily because they return 10 starters from an offense that scored an average of 37.8 points a game last season, including senior quarterback Aaron Murray. He threw for 3,893 yards and 36 touchdowns last year while completing 64.5 percent of his passes. They also have Todd Gurley back to anchor the running game after gaining 1,385 yards on 222 carries while scoring a team-high 17 touchdowns in 2012
Defensively, Georgia has quite a few holes to fill with just four starters back from last year. This squad was ranked 18th in the nation in points allowed in giving up an average of just 19.6 points a game. Head coach Mark Richt has always done a good job at bringing solid defensive talent to Athens, but it also helps that defensive end Garrison Smith and linebacker Amarlo Herrera remain in the lineup to provide some much-needed veteran leadership.
Clemson ended last season ranked ninth in the final coaches’ poll, and they will start this season holding down the No.11 spot in the initial 2013 poll. It returns six starters on offense and will once again have Tajh Boyd under center running the show. Last season he passed for 3,896 yards and 36 touchdowns while adding another 514 yards and 10 scores with his legs. Andre Ellington is gone, so look for Roderick McDowell to get the bulk of the carries at running back. This was one of the most prolific scoring machines in the country last season with an average of 41 points a game.
The Tigers return seven starters on a defense that allowed an average of 24.8 points a game in 2012. The bulk of their front seven remains intact, but they come into this season with some question marks in a secondary that gave up a ton of yards to the better passing teams it faced. Additional pressure up front from defensive end Vic Beasley could go a long way towards keeping Murray in check in this matchup.
Georgia at Clemson College Football Week 1 Betting Tends and Futures Odds
BetOnline has released its opening lines for Week 1 of the college football season and has listed Georgia as a 1.5-point road favorite over the Tigers. The total for this opening day showdown has been set at 68.
The Bulldogs went 8-6 against the spread last season. They are 8-2 SU in their last 10 road games and 7-1 SU in their last eight games overall. The total has stayed “under” in five of their last seven games on the road.
The Tigers are 14-2 SU in their last 16 games at home, but they went just 3-4 ATS there last season. They are 8-1 SU in their last nine games, and the total has stayed under in five of their last seven games.
These two last met in 2003 with Georgia coming away with a 30-0 shutout as a three-point favorite on the road. The total stayed under the 51-point line.
College Football Picks: Georgia at Clemson Betting Week 1 Predictions
Two of the top quarterbacks in college football will be on display in this season opener, so the high total line is justified. In what should remain a back-and-forth shootout until the final gun, the top play in this crucial early season showdown goes to Georgia as the slightly better all-around team. The final spread will not be more than three or four points, but it will be enough to cash in on the Bulldogs minus the current 1.5-point line.
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