Georgia Tech has never been a bigger underdog in Johnson’s tenure

Oddsmakers have made Georgia Tech a 17-point underdog for its game against No. 3 Clemson on Saturday. Should that spread hold, it will make the Yellow Jackets the biggest underdogs they’ve been for a game in coach Paul Johnson’s tenure, according to the website Covers, a sports gambling-information website.

To this point, the most points that a Tech opponent has been favored by is 15.5 points – Florida State in the 2012 ACC Championship game. (The Seminoles won 21-15.) The most points that oddsmakers spotted the Jackets for a Tech home game in Johnson’s tenure was 11.5, last year’s Georgia game. (Georgia won 38-7.)

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It bears mention that the betting line isn’t necessarily the amount that bookmakers think one team will beat another by, but rather the line that will create equal betting on both teams. Indeed, the opening line was Clemson by 16, but increased to 17 as a large majority of gamblers bet on the Tigers, according to Covers.

To that end, both teams have given gamblers reason to anticipate a lopsided affair. Clemson has beaten Tech by an average of 17.3 points per game in the past three years and the Jackets have not looked sharp in starting the season 1-2, with road losses to South Florida and Pitt. The Tigers, meanwhile, are 3-0. On Saturday, they beat Georgia Southern 38-7 while outgaining the Eagles 595-140.

On his radio show Monday night, Johnson said that Clemson “might be the most talented team that we’ve played since I’ve been here.” That’s no small compliment, given that Tech has played teams that have made the College Football Playoff each of the past four years, including Clemson’s national championship team in 2016.

Tech fans looking for a glimmer of hope might note that the Jackets have twice won when they’ve been double-digit underdogs – over Virginia Tech in 2016 (14-point spread) and Georgia in 2014 (10.5-point spread).