Arkansas Razorbacks (7-5 SU, 5-7 ATS) vs. No. 22 Virginia Tech Hokies (9-4 SU, 7-6 ATS)
College Football Belk Bowl Preview
Date/Time: Thursday December 29th, 2016. 5:00PM (EST)
Where: Bank of America Stadium Charlotte, N.C.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ARK +7/VT -7
Over/Under Total: 61.5
The Arkansas Razorbacks will meet the no. 22 Virginia Tech Hokies in the 2016 Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium on Thursday, December 29th. The Hokies are coming off a pretty impressive effort in the ACC Championship Game where they stood toe to toe with no. 3 Clemson through 60 minutes but fell short in a 42-35 loss. However, Virginia Tech proved in that performance that they are a really solid football team especially behind the play of quarterback Jerod Evans. Now the Hokies will try to reach the 10 win mark for the first time since 2011 when they take on a competitive Arkansas team in Charlotte.
In many ways, the Razorbacks were a victim of the dreadful SEC West. Outside the SEC West, the Razorbacks were 5-1 SU with the majority of their losses coming against the likes of Alabama, Texas A&M, Auburn, and LSU. I think Virginia Tech will be the popular pick in this game for the way they played on the primetime stage against Clemson combined with the fact the Razorbacks faded down the stretch. However, I think it will be interesting to see how this Arkansas team stacks up against an out of conference opponent that they match equally in terms of overall talent.
I think the biggest matchup concerns for Arkansas is will their defense be good enough against Jerod Evans? Evans has put together an extremely impressive junior campaign by completing 63.5% of his passes for 3,309 yards with 27 scores and 7 picks. Evans also leads the Hokies in rushing with 759 yards and 10 touchdowns on the year as well. The Razorbacks pass defense has been pretty solid this year but they have struggled against the run. Therefore I think the opportunity is there for Evans and tailback Travon McMillian to make some plays between the tackles. If that happens, it will definitely open things up for Evans in the passing field.
Arkansas matches up pretty well against this Virginia Tech defense but they cannot afford to let the Hokies start dominating on the ground. If they can avoid being dominated in the run game, they match up well on the outside. Still, the Razorbacks are going to score points and that is where it is a bit difficult to predict how this game will unfold. Arkansas has been very inconsistent on offense. This is the same offense that was held to 3 points against Auburn, bounced back to score 31 against a very strong Florida defense in victory, then scored 10 in the loss to LSU, bounced back to hang 58 in the win over Ole Miss, and then ended the season with a surprising 28-24 loss to Missouri. Therefore, this offense epitomizes inconsistency in every way possible.
To make things even more confusing, Bud Fosterís Virginia Tech defense has been pretty inconsistent as well. I know they do not have the best talent but you never really know what type of effort you are going to get from that bunch either. What we do now is that the Razorbacks are aligned with talent at the skill positions. Quarterback Austin Allen has thrown for 3,152 yards with 23 scores and 12 picks. Running back Rawleigh Williams III has rushed for 1,326 yards with 12 touchdowns and they have plenty of talent in the receiving corps to test teams down the field. Therefore, they have all the weapons to test Virginia Techís defense and potentially yield a winning effort. However, I just do not see any clear advantage from either team in this game. As a result, I like the free points in this game.
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think this game is a toss-up in terms of talent and matchup potential. I believe it really comes down to the team that approaches this game with conviction. Bielemaís teams have historically played well in the postseason and the Razorbacks are 2-0 SU under his command in bowl games. Therefore, I will take the points and Arkansas +7!
Bet your Bowl picks at an online sportsbook where you can bet on games at -105 odds instead of the more expensive -110 price tag that your bookie is sticking you with! Making the switch to betting at discounted odds will save you TONS of cash! Find this great offer as well as 20 point teasers and parlays up to 25 teams at the web's best bookmaker: 5Dimes.
Editor's Picks - Each weekend our very own in-house All-American Editor makes his NCAA point spread predictions in an attempt to force fumbles, sack and intercept your bookie!
Expert College Football Picks - Free premium college foots plays against the spread from expert handicappers from around the web from week 1 through the National Championship.
Underdog of the Week Pick - We sort through it all and find out which University is getting "too many points" this week. If there was a Heisman Trophy for picking underdogs, we'd be a frontrunner. Expect a 57%+ winning percentage with these picks as we've got a keen ear for loud barking dogs.
Line Movement - NCAA football lines open early in the week and often times move up or down based on wagering activity, injuries to key players and weather. We decipher whether it's square or wiseguy action and predict the point spread winner based on value.
College Football Consensus Picks - We assess the public perception each week and let them pick the winners for us as we fade their selections which provides us with many trips into our bookies endzone.
Computer Picks - We enter them into the computer and the machine makes it's picks. This is a great guide especially when betting totals! These are available after the first few weeks of the season.
Trends - Despite what you have been told or read on tout sites, the trend ain't your friend. We however turn the tables and fade the almighty trend for what should be some great profits over time.
2016/2017 College Football Predictions - Bob gives his picks to win each major conference. At the end, he gives his prediction on who thinks will win the 2017 National Championship game at Raymond James Stadium on January 9th.
2016 Heisman Trophy Predictions - DeShaun Watson is favored to win the award at +575 with Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey (+575) and LSU RB Leonard Fournette (+850) close behind. However, the real value may be with Oregon Ducks RB Royce Freeman at 40/1.
2016-2017 College Football Championship Predictions - NCAA football experts have the National Championship as a 4-horse race which includes Bama at +665, Clemson +725, LSU +900 and Ohio State +1075. Teams on teh bubble include Oklahoma at +1200, Michigan +1300 and FSU at +1350. Jay gives his pick to win it all along with how his top 15 rankings for season's end. Get your bets in early before your favorite team's line drops!
MyBookie - Get a HUGE 50% bonus (up to $1000 FREE!) after making an initial deposit of $100 or more! Great at getting Visa cards to work for deposits.
Bovada - Boasts the highest credit card acceptance rate on the internet! HUGE menu of wagers for you to choose from! One of few online sportsbooks to offer Texas Hold'em! 50% bonus up to $250 in free cash!
5Dimes - 15 team parlays! 20 point teasers! Reduced juice betting odds! Buy up to 15 points! Most props on the web!
Bookmaker - Offers a HUGE 50% sign up bonus up to $300! Enjoy LIVE college football betting where you can jump into the action at any time during the game and place a bet! This gives you a huge advantage!
Heisman Trophy Betting Odds - Clemson QB DeShaun Watson will have the ball in his hands a TON and he plays on a good team so he's the obvious favorite to win the award this year at +575. Leonard Fournette at 8.5/1 looks like he could play in the NFL right now. Bama WR Calvin Ridley brings experience and big-time playmaking ability and will be featured on National TV a bunch, giving him a legit darkhorse shot. It's unlikely to happen as offensive players usually win this honor, but Michigan DB Jabrill Peppers (75-1) and Texas AM DT Myles Garret (110-1) could be in the running as well. It might be a good year to bet more than one prediction!
Odds to Win the 2016 College Football Championship - The Alabama Crimson Tide are favored to be repeat winners of the National Championship this year at +700 followed by Ohio St. at +750 and Clemson at +800. Things drop off a bit with the Michigan Wolverines, LSU Tigers and Oklahoma Sooners all coming in at +1200. Check out your favorite school's odds here!