OPEN: GEORGIA -7 | CURRENT: GEORGIA -7.5 | O/U: 57
The Georgia Bulldogs and the Clemson Tigers both have high hopes this season of being teams which could ultimately contend for spots in the first ever college football playoff. The loser of this opening game between these two though, probably will already see those goals dashed, as we don’t see either one getting through their conference slate unscathed.
The Bulldogs are 7.5-point chalks on the college football lines at home in this opening game of the season, while the ‘total’ chimes in at 57.5.
1. Why Georgia will cover the spread: Clemson just isn’t nearly as talented of a team as it has been the last few seasons. QB Cole Stoudt could end up being a stud of a quarterback, but he isn’t QB Tajh Boyd, and he doesn’t have any receivers like WR DeAndre Hopkins or WR Sammy Watkins, both of which are now expected to be top-notch receivers in the NFL.
The Bulldogs are returning nine starters from a defense which was torched by the Tigers last season in Death Valley, and you can bet that Head Coach Mark Richt is reminding these guys of the 38-35 beating which they took last year that sent them on a bit of a tailspin before the meat and potatoes of the campaign even started.
2. Why Clemson will cover the spread: Stoudt is being billed as the next big thing at Clemson, and Head Coach Dabo Swinney has a knack of bringing in recruiting classes which can be high impact right away. That’s something that the Tigers need, as they have just 11 starters back from last year’s club, four of which are on the offensive side of the ball.
If the Tigers are going to win this one, they’re going to need to do so long their defensive line, where all four of their starters return, including DE Vic Beasley, who is one of the most feared pass rushers in the land.
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3. Total Talk: Last season, these two teams opened up with a ‘total’ of 70.5 in Week 1, and not shockingly with a pair of senior quarterbacks and heavy senior-laden offensive units, the game did eke past the number with 73 points. However, this is a much different situation that we are talking about now. There are 16 total starters out of 22 between these two teams on the defensive side of the ball, and that could really end up posing a big problem for two offenses which are breaking in entirely new units, more or less.
4. Betting Trends for the game: There actually is a bunch of history between these two teams, though the only recent game of note was the 38-35 win last year for the Tigers at Memorial Stadium. Georgia had covered four of the previous five duels of these two, but those games date all the way back to 1991. The ‘over’ and the ‘under’ have been relatively split at 3-3 in the last six meetings.
Georgia 27 – Clemson 21