We don’t have to wait long to get our first look at the defending champs. The No. 1 ranked Clemson Tigers will open up the 2019 season at home against the new-look Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Kickoff at Memorial Stadium is set for 8:00 EST and the game will be televised on the ACC Network.
The books have made it pretty clear out of the gate that betting Clemson this year will come at a price. The Tigers are a massive 36.5 point favorite. The total opened up at 59.5 and while it’s still there at a number of books, you can get 59 at some places.
Click here for a look at all the Week 1 betting odds and for more links to our game previews.
Georgia Tech vs Clemson Vegas Game Odds & Betting Preview
The triple-option that has defined Georgia Tech over the last decade is no more. Also gone is head coach Paul Johnson, who retired after 11-years on the job. The Yellow Jackets will be making the rare transition from an option based offense to a more traditional pro style attack.
The rebuilding phase will take place under former Temple head coach Geoff Collins. Last year the Yellow Jackets went 7-6 with a bit of a surprising 5-3 mark (2nd in ACC Coastal) in league play. Coming anywhere close to bowl eligibility would be a shocker.
Not only does Georgia Tech only bring back 9 starters, they are trying to make an offense work with guys who were recruited to Atlanta to play in the triple-option. The word is they had as many as 20 players who were practicing on both offense and defense in spring practices. I trust Collins and his staff. He did better than people thought in his short two-years at Temple. This just isn’t an overnight fix and it could get really ugly in 2019.
I think it’s pretty safe to say that we won’t see too many people doubting Dabo Swinney and the Tigers in the near future. After demolishing Notre Dame 30-3 in the semifinals and embarrassing Alabama 44-16 in the national title, Clemson is officially in Alabama territory, in that it doesn’t matter who or how many starters they got coming back.
With that said, the defending champs are absolutely loaded in 2019, at least offensively. Trevor Lawrence set the bar pretty high as a true freshman and everything is set up for a monster sophomore campaign. Lawrence has two future NFL wide outs he will be throwing two in Justyn Ross and Tee Higgins. The other guys in that group are pretty damn good too. Teams also must respect the run game with Travis Etienne back (1,658 rushing yards, 24 rushing TDs).
Last year the Tigers averaged 44.3 ppg and 527 ypg. There’s no reason to think it will be worse. If anything, they might score even more with a defense that doesn’t figure to be quite as stingy after losing all those NFL picks along the defensive line. Needless to say, Clemson is the overwhelming favorite to win the ACC and most are calling for them to get back to the title game.
Last year Clemson won at Georgia Tech 49-21, easily covering as a 16-point road favorite. Tigers had a massive 480-203 edge in total yards and were up 42-7 late in the 3rd quarter. Clemson has won 5 straight overall (3-1-1 ATS) and have won by 20 ppg during this stretch.
College Football Predictions & Free ATS Pick: Georgia Tech +36.5
I’m going to start off that this not a game I’m super excited about betting. On paper you could make a pretty strong argument that Clemson is more than capable of not just covering, but winning here by 50+. Keep in mind they were a 39-point home favorite against Louisville last year and won 77-16 (covered by 22-points!).
Not to mention with the way this team can score and the Yellow Jackets running a whole new offense, a lopsided final score seems likely.
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I just can’t lay 5+ touchdowns in Week 1. Especially given the magnitude of their Week 2 game at home against a highly ranked Texas A&M team that arguably played Clemson tougher than any team in the country last year (Aggies lost 26-28 at home).
It’s not like the players are oblivious to what’s taking place at Georgia Tech. Even with College Gameday on Campus and this being a night game at home, it wouldn’t shock me if the Tigers played a bit sloppy.
Another thing that has to be accounted for is Clemson really doesn’t have a clue what to prepare for. No one outside of the Georgia Tech coaching staff really knows what this team is going to look like. Maybe they will be able to put up some points against that young Tigers defense that brings back just 4 starters.
You also have to assume that Swinney is going to be quick to pull the trigger on his starters with that game against Texas A&M looming. Not to mention they got a tough road game at Syracuse the week after that. The backdoor is going to be swinging wide open.