The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7-5) will go to battle against the Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-6) in the 2018 Quick Lane Bowl. Kickoff is set for 5:15 EST on Wednesday, December 15th at Ford Field in Detroit, MI. The game will be televised on ESPN.
Oddsmakers opened this game up with the Yellow Jackets at -4, but that’s been put up to -5.5 and even -6 at some places. The total for the matchup is set for 57 points.
Quick Lane Bowl Point Spread & Preview: Georgia Tech vs Minnesota
The Golden Gophers certainly earned a spot in a bowl game this year. Minnesota looked dead in the water after a 0-4 start to Big Ten play (all 4 losses by 16 or more points) left them at 3-4. They got things turned around with a win at home against Indiana. They later upset Purdue at home and then stunned Wisconsin on the road in the finale (double-digit dog) to get their 6th win and become bowl eligible.
While I’m sure some Gopher fans were hoping for more immediate results when they hired P.J. Fleck, it often takes a couple years to see the true results, especially at a school that doesn’t bring in elite recruiting classes. This extra practice time is huge for Fleck to close out his second year on the job. In his 3 bowl games with Western Michigan, he was just 1-2.
The Yellow Jackets were a bit of a surprise contender in the ACC Coastal this year, as most just assume Miami was going to win that side of the conference with ease. Georgia Tech started out 1-3 in league play, but won 4 straight to finish a mere 1-game back of Pitt for the Coastal crown. We didn’t know it at the start, but this season will mark the end of an era in Atlanta.
Head coach Paul Johnson is going to retire from coaching after the bowl game. Johnson has been with the team for 11 years. His track record in bowl games isn’t the greatest, as he’s a mere 3-5. However, the Yellow Jackets have won their last two. They beat Kentucky 33-18 as a 3-point favorite in the 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl and No. 8 Mississippi Stat 49-34 as a 6-point dog in the 2014 Orange Bowl.
2018 Quick Lane Bowl Free Predictions & Betting Line: Georgia Tech -5.5
My early lean here would have to be to lay the points with the Yellow Jackets. I have Georgia Tech rated as the much better team and I just don’t think it’s asking a lot given the circumstances to win by at least a touchdown.
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I know Minnesota is going to be excited about playing in their first bowl game under P.J. Fleck, but the motivational edge has to go to the Yellow Jackets in this one. When Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson announced his retirement, this instantly became a lot more than just another bowl game. Johnson has been outstanding in his 11 years with Georgia Tech and these players are going to give everything they have to make sure he goes out in style.
On top of the motivational edge, I really like this matchup for the Yellow Jackets. No surprise behind the triple-option that Georgia Tech was a good rushing team. However, this was quite a season for them on the ground. The Yellow Jackets led the country in rushing at 334.9 ypg. The next best was Army back at 296.3 and we just saw the Black Knights put up over 500 yards in their bowl game against Houston.
It’s the most yards Georgia Tech has averaged in a season since they put up 342 ypg back in 2014. The year they won 11 games and lost a heartbreaker 37-35 to FSU in the ACC title game.
Minnesota wasn’t exactly great at stopping the run. In fact, they rank 75th in the country, giving up 170.7 rushing yards/game. The more staggering number for me is that they allowed 278 yards/game and 7.8 yards/carry away from home. Add in that they haven’t really faced in triple-option teams in recent years and you have to assume Georgia Tech is going to run wild.
I know the Yellow Jackets defense isn’t top notch, but they will be facing a pretty average Minnesota offense. One that ranked outside the Top 70 in both rushing and passing. Not to mention, averaged a mere 24 ppg on the road. Give me Georgia Tech -5.5!