Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 7:10 PM EST.
8:00 PM EST. For the second time in three days, college football’s newest palace, the Mercedes Benz Superdome will host a second Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game. The two teams scheduled for this bout were headed in opposite directions by the end of 2016. For Tennessee, 2016 by many accounts was catastrophic. In the pre-season, the Vols were heavily touted as a favorite to win the SEC East, accumulate 10 victories, and perhaps even knock Alabama off the top of the proverbial ant hill. None of these events would come to fruition. Rocky Top, despite starting off 5-0, would come undone done the backstretch after hitting its high water mark when they won in miraculous fashion against Georgia on a Hail Mary in Athens. After that, Smokey would go just 3-4 to end off the regular season but they would finish with a bowl victory against Nebraska to put a halt on the skid. This season, the Volunteers lost a lot of key players in the off-season that helped shape the roster that garnered so much clout and hype last year. Most notably, the Volunteers will have to replace offensive catalysts in quarterback Joshua Dobbs along with running backs Alvin Camara and Jalen Hurd. The offense will have to find its stride against a notoriously stingy and vicious Yellow Jackets defense. Many key contributors and pieces to that defense have returned to The Hive in 2017.
In 2016, Georgia Tech was projected to be about a .500 team if they stayed relatively healthy and got some bounces. However, the Ramblin’ Wreck found ways to win games they were not supposed to win. Tech found ways to stick around or give their vaunted triple action attack the time it needed to get working. This is a football team that went 6-1 to wrap up their 9-4 campaign and they did so winning games in tough environments that included Virginia Tech and their arch rivals, the Georgia Bulldogs. The Jackets would cap off their efforts with another win over a SEC opponent when they slayed Kentucky in the TaxSlayer Bowl by a score of 33-18. Once again, Tech’s defense and the triple option were the catalysts for the Bowl victory.
A popular presumption is that the SEC will dominate in this contest be that both the conference has had extraordinary success since the inception of the venue in 2008. In fact, the SEC has lost just twice in the game’s history and the most recent occurrence was in 2012 when Clemson beat Auburn in a ‘Battle of the Tigers’. With Alabama laying waste to the strongest team in the ACC on Saturday night in prime time, prejudices may be yielded that once again the SEC will have its way even if all hope is placed upon a very mysterious Tennessee team. However, we must remind bettors here that even if Rocky Top’s faithful travels in dwarves down I-75, that the Ramblin’ Wreck are located just across town and so one could regard this game as a home game for the Jackets. With Georgia Tech enjoying a lot of success recently against SEC opponents and Tennessee navigating some choppy waters, the Jackets with points here offer tremendous value. Do not be surprised if Tech wins outright.
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GEORGIA TECH +4 -108 (Risking 2.16 units - To Win: 2.00)