Typically, Week 1 matchups are lopsided non-conference matchups. What makes the game between the Georgia Bulldogs and Clemson Tigers unique is that both teams are evenly matched.
Last year, Clemson ended the season ranked as the No. 3 team in the country while Georgia came in at No. 7. Although the preseason AP poll has yet to be released, both programs are expected to place near the top of the rankings ahead of the 2021 season. The odds for the game reflect this, as Clemson is only a 3.5-point favorite in a neutral field game.
During the offseason, Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence departed to the NFL, where he was the first overall draft pick. Unlike Clemson, Georgia returns its starting quarterback in JT Daniels.
Now, the question for the Tigers is if they can win against a tough Georgia team with DJ Uiagalelei as their signal-caller.
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Clemson vs Georgia Prediction
Going into this season, both Clemson and Georgia have the best defenses in the country. In Phil Steele’s ratings, the Tigers have the second-best defense in the country, while the Bulldogs rank third.
Last year, Georgia allowed only 2.4 yards per carry — the best mark in the FBS — to Clemson’s 3.2, which put them at No. 9. With the Tigers having an inexperienced quarterback in D.J. Uiagalelei, they are going to look to establish the run. However, the Bulldogs are likely to limit the Tigers rushing attack, which will set up a low-scoring game.
- Check out all of our CFB Week 1 Predictions & Bet Picks.
Opposing Uiagalelei is JT Daniels, who should struggle against Clemson’s defensive backs. Last season, the Tigers allowed a lowly 56.3 completion percentage, and Daniels should have a difficult time.
This season, according to Steele, Clemson’s defensive backs are the No. 8 unit in the country. In what should be a low-scoring game, Clemson should win if Uiagalelei shows he’s improved enough over the offseason.
Betting Pick: Clemson 28, Georgia 17
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Clemson vs Georgia Best Bets
Total: Under 52.5 Points (-110)
Clemson should win against Georgia, but I don’t have the guts to make that bet. Both programs are well-run, and I have questions about how D.J. Uiagalelei will do against a stout Bulldogs defense.
What I believe will happen, regardless of if the Tigers win or not, is that the Clemson defense has a good game. With two elite defenses opposing each other, even at 52.5 points, the under is worth a bet.
It is not one of my favorite bets on the Week 1 slate, as I am skeptical of betting on games that attract a high volume of bets. However, despite the high stakes nature of the matchup, I believe that betting on fewer than 52.5 points is a good bet to make.