College Football Betting:
New Starting Quarterbacks In Focus As Georgia Hosts Clemson
by WagerWeb Staff
No one is sure yet how the teams will be selected for the inaugural College Football Playoff national semifinals, but you can bet that losing your season opener won’t impress the committee much. However, one ranked team will fall on Saturday night, Aug. 30 in Athens, Ga., when the No. 12 Bulldogs host No. 16 Clemson in a big SEC-ACC showdown to kick off the season in style. Georgia opened as a 7.5-point favorite on WagerWeb.
This matchup might look familiar and it should: they opened last year against one another in Death Valley. Clemson was ranked No. 8 that day and Georgia No. 5 and the Tigers won a shootout 38-35. Tajh Boyd threw for 270 yards and three scores for Clemson, running for two more, while Sammy Watkins caught six of those passes for 127 yards and one touchdown. However, both those guys are in the NFL now, with Watkins the preseason NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year betting favorite with Buffalo. Georgia QB Aaron Murray threw for 323 yards, but he’s in the NFL now too. Dawgs running back Todd Gurley rushed 12 times for 154 yards and two TDs and he’s one of the Heisman favorites this year and should be the focal point of the Georgia offense.
The guy replacing Boyd under center is Cole Stoudt, who beat out true freshman Deshaun Watson for the starting job — at least for now. Last year in limited action Stoudt, now a senior, was 47-for-59 passing for 415 yards and five touchdowns against no interceptions in 116 snaps over eight games. His 79.7 percent completions were the best in the nation with a minimum of 50 attempts and best in Tiger history with that minimum amount of passes. Clemson will be without two starters for this game due to suspension: Offensive guard David Beasley and defensive end Corey Crawford
Meanwhile, the guy filling the big shoes of Georgia’s Murray, the SEC’s all-time
leading passer, is Hutson Mason. Murray got hurt late last season and missed the regular season finale against Georgia Tech and the Gator Bowl loss to Nebraska. Mason started both those games. In the 41-34 double-overtime win over Georgia Tech, Mason led the Bulldogs back from a 20-0 deficit by going 22-for-36 for 299 yards and two touchdowns. Against the Cornhuskers, he threw for 320 yards with a TD and interception.
Clemson has covered eight of its past 11 road games at WagerWeb, while Georgia has covered only two of its past 11 games overall.