Miami Hurricanes (4-3 SU, 3-4 ATS) vs. Virginia Tech Hokies (4-3 SU, 3-4 ATS)
College Football Week 9
Date and Time: Thursday October 23rd, 2014. 8:00PM EST
Where: Lane Stadium Blacksburg, V.A.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MIA +1.5/VT -1.5
Over/Under Total: TBA
For the 2nd straight week, the Virginia Tech Hokies will take the Thursday night scene in front of a nationally televised audience. Last Thursday the Hokies were taken down by Pittsburgh in a 21-16 loss that derailed their hopes towards winning the ACC Coastal division. This week the Hokies look to rebound with another Thursday night stand when the Miami Hurricanes come into Blacksburg for another heavily anticipated ACC showdown on ESPN.
Both the Hurricanes and the Hokies are 4-3 SU and 1-2 SU in conference play so far this season. Virginia Tech stunned the nation in week 2 with a convincing win over no. 8 Ohio State which sent expectations through the roof in Blacksburg. However, the Hokies have lost 3 of their last 5 games since that big win and have quickly regressed to just an average football team. Offensive issues remain the big concern for coach Frank Beamers bunch. The Hokies have been held to 20 points on average in their losses this season and have struggled to run the football. Typically Beamers Virginia Tech football teams have run the ball well and placed much of their focus on the ground game.
This season the Hokies average just 152 rushing yards (78th in FBS) per game as a team. Those struggles have been monumental if you consider quarterback Michael Brewer has tossed 11 interceptions on the year and has been very unstable at the quarterback position. A lot of pressure could be taken off of Brewer with an improved ground attack but that does not appear to be changing in the near future. Just last week, the Hokies offense was held to just 26 rushing yards and 291 total yards in the loss to Pittsburgh. The Hokies only managed to post 61 total yards for the entire first half in what turned out to be some of the lowest offensive numbers under coach Beamer.
Virginia Techs defense has kept them in games this year as the 19th best scoring defense in the country. However it is fairly obvious that the offense is going to have to do much better to start winning football games. The Hokies will get their chance against a subpar Miami defense this week as they look to right the ship. Miami on the other hand will be looking to score their 2nd straight win following a 55-34 victory over Cincinnati last Saturday. The Hurricanes posted one of their best offensive performances of the season against the Bearcats as running backs Duke Johnson and Joseph Yearby both eclipsed the century mark on the ground despite just 18 combined carries.
The entire Miami offense posted big numbers with 621 total yards, 335 yards on the ground, and quarterback Brad Kaaya threw for 286 yards with 3 touchdowns. Miamis offense has been a little inconsistent at times this season but they were definitely in sync last week on the heels of a strong rushing effort. The Hurricanes defense has been rather average at best so this team has to score points to win. The Hurricanes have one of the best tailbacks in the ACC in junior Duke Johnson. Johnson is average more than 7 yards per carry on the season and is 2nd in the ACC with 787 yards on the season. This Thursday expect Miami to put the ball into the hands of Johnson early and often as the Hurricanes go against a rather stout Virginia Tech defense.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Neither team has been particularly good in this situation. Virginia Tech is just 1-5 ATS in their last 6 home games while the Hurricanes are just 1-7 ATS in their last 8 road trips. However, I like the fact that Virginia Tech is 10-3 in their last 13 meetings against the Canes. I expect a lot of bettors to back Miami due to last weeks strong offensive performance but in football you can never go by the last performance. This is one of those really important games for Virginia Tech and I expect to see some urgency out of this team on Thursday. It also does not hurt that the Hokies had a full week of preparation compared to Miami coming in on a short week. Take Virginia Tech -1.5!