NCAAF Week 10 Parlay: Georgia Tech Gets Jeff Sims Back Against Hokies

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Jeff Sims #10 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets drops back to pass in the first quarter of the game against the Pittsburgh Panthers. Justin Berl/Getty Images/AFP.

Online Sports Betting Sites have released their NCAAF odds for this week’s college football action. One game, in particular, interests me as worth investing in: Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Tech.

For reasons that I will explain, you should play both spread and total for this game. Feel free to parlay both bets at top-rated sportsbooks in order to maximize your profit.

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Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs. Virginia Tech Hokies

Saturday, November 5, 2022 – 12:30 PM EDT at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg

Georgia Tech's Run Defense Ranking 

Georgia Tech's run defense has developed a negative reputation. It ranks last in the ACC as measured by opposing rush yards per game.

But it turns out that the Yellow Jackets have struggled to a disproportionate extent against very good rush attacks.

In this sense that they tend to struggle extra specifically against good ground games, their rush defense ranking is misleading.

This ranking is misleading because it creates the impression, which is false, that their run defense is abysmal every week.

The Importance of Georgia Tech's Run Defense 

Georgia Tech's defensive success tends to hinge on the success of its run defense. That is why it is critical to determine whether the outlook of the Yellow Jacket run defense is positive or negative.

When the Yellow Jackets allowed over 21 points against Ole Miss, UCF, and Florida State, they were gashed on the ground. Florida State amassed 246 rushing yards while both Ole Miss and UCF amassed around 300 rushing yards.

Conversely, Georgia Tech limited Duke's highly-ranked ground game to well below its average in YPC and kept Duke from exceeding 20 points despite the game going into overtime. In a similar vein, the Yellow Jackets held Virginia to 16 points in a game in which Cavalier running backs were inefficient and accomplished little.

Yellow Jackets' Run Defense Outlook 

Georgia Tech's run defense can be effective against good rush attacks and it certainly is effective against low-ranking ones.

The Yellow Jackets have the personnel to thrive in run defense especially because they are strong at linebacker.

This year, they returned their leading tackler from last year, Ayinde Eley. Charlie Thomas is, again, second behind Eley in tackles.

Eley is a well-sized man who uses his strength to work his way past blockers and to force fumbles. Thomas, who led his team in tackles for loss last year, ably wreaks havoc in the backfield.

Missing Malachi Thomas 

Virginia Tech wants to implement a smashmouth running philosophy, but the experience and generally the pieces simply aren't in place for its new offensive line coach.

This season has seen a horror show of missed assignments and other sorts of mistakes and instances of ineptitude from the offensive line.

A bright spot in the running game is talented starting running back Malachi Thomas. But he is listed as 'doubtful' for this game with an ankle injury.

The Hokies ground game already ranks second-to-last in the ACC in rushing yards per game. They suffer an even more intense disadvantage with Thomas reeling.

Grant Wells and Kaleb Smith's Outlook 

As he did at Marshall, Wells repeatedly makes bad decisions in that he tries to throw passes that have a relatively low chance of finding their target. He is heavily reliant on connecting with a single wide receiver, the other top Hokie offensive player besides Thomas, Kaleb Smith.

Smith is a big-play threat and in other ways a big help to interception-prone and inefficient quarterback Grant Wells. Problematically for Virginia Tech, top Yellow Jacket cornerback Zamari Walton has been practicing and is looking to play on Saturday.

Monitor Walton's status because he excels at limiting the efficiency of quarterbacks trying to complete passes to the wide receiver whom he is covering.

Specifically, he is allowing an ACC-best 33-percent completion rate when targeting. Plus, he has the size at 6'3 to match up with Smith. After Walton, there is a significant drop-off in Georgia Tech's cornerback quality.

Jeff Sims Is Back 

More certain for Georgia Tech is the immensely important health of starting quarterback Jeff Sims, who has returned to fully participating in his team's practices.

Sims is a mobile quarterback whose running ability gives his team's extra options in terms of play-calling and forces defenses to account for his added skillset. His outlook against the Hokies is particularly positive given their tendency to struggle with mobile quarterbacks.

Tar Heel quarterback Drake Maye, for example, only had a stronger rushing performance against App State than he did against the Hokies.

Passing-wise, Smith looks good against a Hokie pass defense that is generally very young in its secondary while featuring older defensive backs who have struggled at times. The Hokies rank in the bottom half in the ACC in pass defense.

NCAAF Parlay Verdict 

With Jeff Sims back, Georgia Tech will amend its recent trend of low-scoring games by punishing the Hokie defense's vulnerability to mobile quarterbacks who can also throw the ball.

While I generally like the Yellow Jackets' defensive outlook in view of its linebacker-led run defense, I do foresee the occasional big play from Kaleb Smith downfield especially since Wells will have time to throw against a negligible Georgia Tech pass rush with its poor sack rate.

The Hokies have been scoring more in recent weeks, although their issues even with NC State's freshman backup quarterback emphasize the danger posed by Sims' return.

NCAAF Parlay Picks

  • Yellow Jackets +3 (-107)
  • Over 40.5 (-110)

NCAAF Pick: Two-Legged Parlay (+269) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Two-Legged Parlay (+269)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.