Virginia Tech Hokies (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS) vs. Duke Blue Devis (2-2 SU, 1-2 ATS), 12:00 p.m. EST, Saturday, October 3, 2009, Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, N.C. TV: ESPN360.com
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Virginia Tech -16/Duke +16
Two of the most athletic dual-threat quarterbacks in college football will meet as the Virginia Tech Hokies travel to play the Duke Blue Devils. Tyrod Taylor of Virginia Tech and Thad Lewis of Duke both can impact a game with their feet. Taylor may be the better player of the two, but Lewis will be the more important player when these two teams meet early Saturday afternoon.
The Hokies are coming off an impressive 31-7 victory over a red-hot Miami team that many expected to come into Blacksburg and roll over Va Tech, but instead it was the Hokies that came away with an easy victory.
It's a known fact that Virginia Tech always has an elite defense and special teams unit, but Miami quarterback Jacory Harris came into the game red hot. The Hokies bothered Harris, who is quite the athlete himself, all game long and held him to just 150 yards on 9-for-25 passing, including an interception and three sacks. The rushing game didn't work either for the Hurricanes, as they ran the ball 34 times for 93 yards. Taylor didn't have to do much to win the game (4-9, 98 yards). It was the Hokies' rushing attack that wore down the Miami defense. They ran the ball 54 times for 294 yards, led by a 150-yard effort by Ryan Williams.
Virginia Tech has had the quite the season so far, while playing one of the toughest schedules in the country. The Hokies opened the season with a 34-24 loss to Alabama. They bounced back with a 52-10 win over Marshall and a 16-15 last-minute win over Nebraska, before the thrashing of Miami.
When the Hokies struggled to score points against Nebraska, it was because Taylor threw the ball 27 times. They ran it 37 times, but gained just 92 yards. The lack of success on the ground forced Taylor to throw it more than they had planned.
While Nebraska was able to control the clock with over 200 rushing yards, Huskers quarterback Zac Lee was just 11-for-30. Lee is 57-for-75 in Nebraska's other three games. Miami's Harris, who was 9-for-25 against Va Tech, is 41-for-59 in his other two games. Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy, who was 15-for-30 in his team's win over the Hokies, is 48-for-63 against non-Va Tech opponents. What does all this mean? Virginia Tech has one heck of a pass defense.
While Lewis is a very good player, he does not have the arm and ability of the Miami, Nebraska and Alabama quarterbacks, so expect Lewis to have worlds of trouble completing passes, much like the other three quarterbacks struggled.
Duke will have to rely on its defense keeping the Blue Devils in thegame and on the offense making the little plays to slowly move the ball down the field. And if the Blue Devils make mistakes and commit turnovers, they won't have much of a chance at all.
The Blue Devils will also mix in quarterback Sean Renfree, who has a better arm than Lewis. When Lewis struggled and completed just 5-of-16 passes in the win over Army, Renfree came in and went 7-for-8 for 106 yards and two touchdowns. If Lewis struggles against Va Tech, which is a safe assumption, there's a good chance Renfree will get an opportunity under center.
If the Hokies keep up their stellar pass defense when they face Duke, the Blue Devils will have to excel in their run game if they want to win. However, Duke is averaging just 3.5 yards per carry this season, and that's against four teams not nearly at the same level as Virginia Tech. By comparison, the Hokies are averaging 5.3 yards per carry and that's against one of the toughest schedules in college football.
The Va Tech defense allowed 280 rushing yards to Alabama and 207 to Nebraska, so it is possible to run on the Hokies. But with all due respect to the Blue Devils, they don't have the same rushing attack as those two teams. Marshall, the team most comparable to Duke of the four teams the Hokies have faced, ran for 133 yards, and Miami totaled just 93 rushing yards.
In all likelihood, Duke will struggle to score. But if the Blue Devils can shut down the Hokies' rushing attack, they can keep the game within reach. The problem is that Duke hasn't yet faced a team with as strong of a running game as Virginia Tech. Duke did face Army, a team that relies heavily on the run. Duke won that game, 35-19, but struggled to stop the run, allowing 272 rushing yards on 57 carries.
Williams, Virginia Tech's starting running back, is questionable for the Duke game with an ankle injury. If Williams is unable to play, fellow freshman David Wilson and sophomore Josh Oglesby will be more than capable of picking up the slack.
Virginia Tech has won the last five meetings with Duke, while the Blue Devils are 4-21 in their last 25 home games. The total has gone under in seven of Virginia Tech's last 10 games.
Ryno's Prediction: Duke will have a difficult time scoring points against the Hokies. When these two teams hooked up last season, Virginia Tech won the game 14-3. Expect a similar outcome this year. The Hokies will hover around the 16-point spread, but regardless this will be a low-scoring affair. Take the under when it comes out.
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.
2015 College Football Predictions - Badger gives his picks to win each major conference. At the end, he gives his prediction on who thinks will win the 2016 National Championship game.
2015 Heisman Trophy Predictions - Trevone Boykin (TCU QB) is favored to win the award at 7.5-1 odds but Bob says this is a sucker bet! Dak Prescott should be a contender and ball carriers Ezekiel Elliott and Leonard Fournette look good as well!
2016 College Football Championship Predictions - NCAA football handicapper Bob gives his picks on who he thinks will win the 2016 National Championship. Despite not liking to side with heavy favorites, he believes the Alabama Crimson Tide (+950) are the team to beat.
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 - Ezekiel Elliott starts the season as a 6/1 favorite to win the award. Those that have seen crafty LSU Soph. Leonard Fournette think he's a lock though. Trevone Boykin brings experience and plays on a high scoring team. Cardale Jones won the big game last year and is listed as 12-1. It might be a good year to bet more than one prediction!
Odds to Win the 2015 BCS Championship - The Alabama Crimson Tide are favored to be repeat winners of the National Championship this year at +500 followed by Oregon at +800, Ohio St. +850, LSU/Texas A&M +1200 and Florida/FSU both at +1400. Check out your school's odds here!
Heisman Trophy Winners - A full list of college football quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers who have made history on the field and won the prestigious award.
Fantasy College Football - Draft a fresh team every week! Leagues range from $2 to $420! You can play head to head or in big groups! Payouts take place approx. one hour after the final Saturday game.
The Spread - Who will cover the spread? They will! Offers scores, odds, free game predictions, current news and more!