The Georgia Bulldogs may have lost last year’s season opener 38-35 to the Clemson Tigers, but they had won the previous five meetings—going 4-1 against the spread.
And they will have the benefit of home-field advantage this time around, even though it wasn’t very advantageous last season when the Bulldogs were just 1-4-1 ATS in home games.
Point spread: The Bulldogs opened as 9.5-point favorites; the total was 57 at Sanford Stadium, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)
Odds Shark computer prediction: 46.3-36.7 Tigers
Why the Clemson Tigers can cover the spread
Georgia struggled mightily against the spread overall at the sportsbooks last season, even before quarterback Aaron Murray went down with a torn ACL. The Bulldogs were just 2-8-1 vs. the line after splitting their first two games, including the season-opening setback at Clemson, and don't have Murray around to take the team's snaps at quarterback.
With Murray off to the NFL, Georgia will have to turn to fifth-year senior Hutson Mason, which could give Clemson enough of an edge for them to get the payout on the road. They face a team that has won 24 of 28 games as home chalk over the past few seasons.
Why the Georgia Bulldogs can cover the spread
The Bulldogs will be facing a new quarterback for the Tigers in senior Cole Stoudt, who replaces departed three-year starter Tajh Boyd, also in the NFL after setting nearly every passing record at the school. Stoudt saw limited action last year, completing 47 of 59 passes with eight career touchdown passes against only one interception.
So the Tigers may appear to have a slight edge under center, but they are also without star wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who was selected with the No. 4 overall pick in the NFL draft.
Without Watkins, it remains to be seen if Clemson can air it out and cover the number at the sportsbooks. Georgia has dominated ACC teams against the number over the past decade, according to the Week 1 trends report at Odds Shark.
Even though these teams have faced each other only once in the last decade, the Bulldogs have won two of the last three home meetings by more than two touchdowns, which bodes well for them as favorites of little more than a TD here.
While both QBs have been in their respective systems for a while, Mason has more potential to become a star with better talent around him, led by junior running back Todd Gurley.
This is a huge Top 25 matchup between two highly ranked AP teams in No. 12 Georgia and No. 16 Clemson, and the host Bulldogs simply can’t risk keeping it close and will not take an early loss in this spot. Play Georgia.
- UNDER is 8-2 past 10 Clemson games vs. SEC teams
- Georgia 12-4 ATS vs. ACC since 2002
Note: All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark; all quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury updates and line-move updates and get the free odds tracker app.