|Miami at Georgia Tech Point Spread Odds, Betting Trends & Injuries|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Thursday, 20 November 2008 02:00|
The 23rd-ranked Hurricanes, ranked for the first time in more than two years, can move closer to securing the ACC Coastal Division title as they visit the Yellow Jackets on Thursday night.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Georgia Tech –3.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Thursday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 66% of bets for this game have been placed on Miami +3.5 (View College Football bet percentages).
Miami's five-game winning streak and its spot atop the ACC Coastal Division were enough to push it into the poll released this past Sunday. This is the first time that the Hurricanes (7-3, 4-2) have been in the poll since Sept. 16, 2006, against Louisville, when they were ranked 17th.
After losing that contest 31-7, though, Miami failed to be a part of the next 41 polls.
The Hurricanes have had a tough rebuilding process after last season's five-win, no-bowl debacle. They've been able to bounce back from their worst season in 30 years, but Shannon is focused on trying to beat Georgia Tech (7-3, 4-3).
"It really doesn't matter," Shannon said of Miami's spot in the Top 25.
Winning the division is foremost on Shannon's mind, and the Hurricanes clearly have the easiest path, especially with the Yellow Jackets losing 28-7 to then-No. 19 North Carolina on Nov. 8.
Georgia Tech, which was ranked 22nd prior to that game and then fell out of the poll, concludes the regular season versus No. 13 Georgia on Nov. 29. The Yellow Jackets are one-half game behind the Hurricanes and need to win this game to have any chance of winning the Coastal Division.
In fact, Miami can wrap up the title this weekend in two scenarios: a win and a North Carolina loss to North Carolina State, or a victory coupled with a Virginia win over Clemson and a Virginia Tech win over Duke. The Hurricanes end their regular season on Nov. 29 against the Wolfpack, who are last in the Atlantic Division.
Though Miami seems to have the easiest path to clinching the division, Shannon has kept his team hungry.
"We still feel like it's us against the world," Hurricanes running back Javarris James said. "People will look at us and some at the beginning of the season probably thought we'd have a disappointing season. So we can't worry about what anybody else is thinking. We're just worried about the guys in our locker room and we're going to continue to do the things that got us here."
With Miami facing a Georgia Tech team that has 28 sacks, left tackle Jason Fox's return would certainly be welcome. Fox, who sprained his right ankle Nov. 1 against Virginia and sat out a 16-14 win over Virginia Tech last Thursday, practiced Sunday and is expected to play against the Yellow Jackets.
Georgia Tech's defense, though, is struggling through its worst stretch of the season, allowing a total of 80 points en route to losing two of its last three games. The Yellow Jackets are also coming off their worst offensive showing, committing three turnovers against the Tar Heels.
"We're awful on offense, from my expectation level," Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said. "I promise you, we can be a lot better and we will get a lot better."
Those are harsh words about a team that ranks second in the ACC with 358.2 yards per game and eighth in the nation with 250.7 rushing yards thanks to running the spread option.
But even the Yellow Jackets' rushing attack has had its problems. They rank 118th of 119 FBS teams with 17 fumbles lost.
Two fumbles and an interception didn't help against North Carolina. Johnson has been mostly frustrated with his team's inability to pass out of the run-first attack.
Georgia Tech's offensive line was a concern even before a rash of injuries left the unit unable to give quarterbacks Josh Nesbitt and Jaybo Shaw much time to pass. Yellow Jackets quarterbacks have been sacked once every 7.9 pass attempts.
Nesbitt managed just 97 yards despite a season-high 22 attempts against North Carolina, and has completed only 48.3 percent of his passes.
Georgia Tech completed 37.9 percent (11-for-29) of its passes against Miami last season, but rushed for 264 yards and won 17-14 on Oct. 13, 2007.
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Posted: 11/18/08 1:47 AM ET