Occasionally, non-conference college football matchups can draw the attention of even the most casual observer, and one such clash takes place on Saturday. On the first full weekend of action in the sport this season, the No. 3 Clemson Tigers face the No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs in a game featuring a pair of top-five programs. Clemson begins life without Trevor Lawrence, as Dabo Swinney leads a team with national title aspirations. Georgia is also aiming high in 2021, with Kirby Smart leading a group that has an intriguing returning quarterback in JT Daniels.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET in Charlotte. The latest Georgia vs. Clemson odds from Caesars Sportsbook list the Tigers as 2.5-point favorites, down half a point from the opening line. The over-under for total points is set at 51.5. Before finalizing any Clemson vs. Georgia picks, check out the college football predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every FBS game 10,000 times. Over the past five-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated a stunning profit of more than $3,600 for $100 players on its top-rated college football picks against the spread. It also enters Week 1 of the 2021 season on a 57-37 run on all top-rated college football picks. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- Georgia vs. Clemson spread: Clemson -2.5
- Georgia vs. Clemson over-under: 51.5 points
- Georgia vs. Clemson money line: Clemson -140, Georgia +120
- UGA: The Bulldogs were 4-6 against the spread in 2020
- CLEM: The Tigers were 5-7 against the spread last season
Why Georgia can cover
Georgia has leaned heavily on an elite defense in recent years, and that has been a successful formula. The Bulldogs gave up only 20 points and fewer than 330 yards per game last season, leading the SEC in rushing defense and generally dominating the competition. However, Georgia's offense projects to raise the team's overall ceiling, and the centerpiece is Daniels. The Bulldogs were very good on the ground last season, averaging 4.6 yards per game with 18 touchdowns and 174.2 yards per game, but the passing game was less than stellar until Daniels took the reins.
The former USC standout was recovering from injury for most of the campaign, but he made four starts and flashed tremendous upside. Daniels threw for 1,231 yards with 10 touchdowns and just two interceptions, and his efficiency was stellar with 10.3 yards per pass attempt. Wide receiver is a bit of an unknown, but veteran Kearis Jackson returns as a safety valve, and Daniels is one of the best returning quarterbacks in the country.
Why Clemson can cover
In addition to a lights-out defense that helped to carry them to elite-level performance in the aggregate, Clemson's offense was tremendous in 2020. Lawrence is gone, but the Tigers can take solace in having a blue-chip prospect in D.J. Uiagalelei taking over. Uiagalelei is a former five-star recruit that made two starts in 2020, and he generated 914 passing yards and five touchdowns through the air, in addition to four rushing scores. His talent is off the charts, and Clemson led the ACC in both scoring offense (43.5 points per game) and passing offense (348.5 yards per game) last season.
Clemson also has a returning standout at wide receiver in Justyn Ross, who missed the 2020 season with injury. Ross has more than 1,800 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns in two seasons of action. The Tigers also should protect Uiagalelei at a fantastic level, as they yielded only 20 sacks in 2020, leading the ACC. On the ground, Clemson loses Travis Etienne, but the offensive line and a talented stable of running backs should pave the way to success.
How to make Clemson vs. Georgia picks
SportsLine's model is leaning under on the total, projecting the teams to combine for 47 points. The model also says one side of the spread hits in well over 50 percent of simulations. You can only get the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Georgia vs. Clemson? And which side of the spread hits in well over 50 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the spread you need to jump on, all from the model that has crushed its college football picks, and find out.