Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#109 UCF -7.5 vs.
#110 Georgia Tech 62
Saturday, September 19, 2020 at 4:30pm EDT
Written by Blake V.

Georgia Tech will be hoping to pull off a second consecutive upset when it faces No. 14 UCF on Saturday afternoon. The Yellow Jackets are coming off a win against Florida State, whereas the Knights are kicking off their season in this game.

Line Movements

The line has stayed true at Central Florida -7.5, despite Georgia Tech grabbing 58% of the bets.

The OU Line has gone from 62 up to 63, despite the Under getting 56% of the bets.

Gametime Weather: Cloudy with temps in the upper 60s

Knights seeking strong start to 2020 campaign

No. 14 UCF was only favored by less than eight points twice during the entire 2019 season. This season the Knights are opening the year as a 7.5-point favorite. They got off to a hot start last season and were ranked as high as No. 15 in the country, but losses to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati derailed the season. UCF finished with three losses and was unable to win a third consecutive conference championship. However, the three losses came by a combined seven points. The Knights went 6-2 in the American Athletic Conference, which earned them a berth to the Gasparilla Bowl. They picked up a 48-25 win in that bowl game against Marshall to finish the season with a 10-3 record.

Standout quarterback Dillon Gabriel is back to lead an offense that was the second-best in the country in yards per game last year with 541. He will have several of his best wide receivers back in the mix with Tre Nixon and Marlon Williams. The running back room is overflowing with productivity, as Otis Anderson, Bentavious Thompson and Greg McRae are all returning. They combined for 1,859 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2019. UCF has had at least 10 players opt out of the season due to COVID-19 concerns, including cornerback Tay Gowan and defensive tackle Kalia Davis. Backup quarterback Darriel Mack Jr. also chose to sit out this season. The Knights return 67 percent of their offensive production and 75 percent of their defensive production.

Central Florida’s Injury Report

Out: QB McKenzie Milton, OL Allan Adams, DB Tay Gowan, OL Adrian Medley, QB Darriel Mack Jr., LB Kalia Davis, OL Lamarius Benson, and DL Mason Cholewa

Georgia Tech coming off upset win

Georgia Tech returned 84 percent of its overall production this season, which was second-most in college football. The experience showed in week one, where the Yellow Jackets picked up a surprising 16-13 win against Florida State on the road. They were able to tally more than 400 yards of total offense against the Seminoles, including 277 through the air. Third down conversions were a key component of the win, as they went 8 of 16 in those plays. Florida State jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter after a lengthy weather delay, but Georgia Tech scored a touchdown in the third quarter and added nine more points in the fourth quarter to grab the win.

Starting quarterback Jeff Sims completed 24 of 35 passes for one touchdown and two interceptions. The mobile signal-caller added 13 carries for 64 yards on the ground. He will be looking for a more efficient outing against a team that will make you pay for turning the ball over. Running back Jordan Mason added 14 rushes for 55 yards and a touchdown. Malachi Carter was the leading receiver, hauling in six receptions for 66 yards and a score. Jalen Camp added five catches for 57 yards and Marquez Ezzard had one grab for 45 yards. Linebacker Quez Jackson led the defense with seven total tackles and an interception.

In terms of injuries, Georgia Tech is expected to be without starting cornerback Tre Swilling and defensive end Antonneus Clayton, who missed the opener. Swilling suffered a foot injury before the season. He was an honorable All-ACC selection as a sophomore last season. Clayton was an expected starter at defensive end as a senior. The Yellow Jackets will also be playing without starting defensive tackle T.K. Chimedza (undisclosed), who is out for the season.

Georgia Tech’s Injury Report

Out: DL T.K. Chimedza

Best Bets for this Game

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Full-Game Side Bet

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UCF has an offense that relies on everything to be operating smoothly. The Knights need precision in the passing game and limited preparation this season will make that a tricky proposition in the season-opener. Georgia Tech will be leaning heavily on its defense all season and that unit will be looking forward to this opportunity on Saturday. The Yellow Jackets should be brimming with confidence after an upset to open the season and I expect them to do enough to grab a cover in this game. UCF has gone 3-7 against-the-spread in its last 10 games and has only won three times in its last 13 tries against an ACC opponent.

Prediction: Georgia Tech +7.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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I like the under in this game for many of the same reasons that I like Georgia Tech to cover. The Yellow Jackets play an ugly style of football that is anchored on the defensive side of the ball. UCF needs the game to be played in a more aesthetically pleasing manner, which could be difficult to achieve with players opting out and limited practices. The total has gone under in four of Georgia Tech’s last five games played in September. I think the Yellow Jackets will be looking to control the pace of this game and the total is just too high here.

Prediction: Under 60.5
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Written By Blake V.

Blake is a lifelong sports fan and hoops junkie. Prior to joining our team at Winners & Whiners and StatSalt, Blake worked for several newspapers and websites. He enjoys combining his beat writing expertise with the knack for finding the winning edge in a matchup. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.