Military Bowl Pick: Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech

by | Dec 20, 2018 | cfb

Cincinnati Bearcats (10-2 SU, 7-5 ATS) vs. Virginia Tech Hokies (6-6 SU, 5-7 ATS)

When: Monday, December 31st, 2018 – 12:00 PM ET
Where: Military Bowl presented by Northrup Grumman– Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium– Annapolis, MD
TV: ESPN

Point Spread: CINCY -6 / VT +6
Total: 53.5
Power Ratings: Virginia Tech +8

Takeaways From The Regular Season

Cincinnati enters into the Military Bowl with an exclamation point as they absolutely laid waste to fellow American Athletic Conference constituent ECU by a score of 56-6. The victory produced an easy cover for the 15.5-point favorite Bearcats who recovered beautifully from a 35-13 blowout loss suffered against the Kings of the Mid-Majors, Central Florida. The Bearcats come in as the No. 24 team in the polls.

The Hokies closed out their regular season with a win they required to avert missing the post-season. Virginia Tech did it with style when they hosed the visiting Marshall Thundering Herd on December 2nd, rolling the Herd by a score of 41-20 as a 3.5-point favorite to generate their second consecutive cover. The Hokies won their last two games of the season to qualify for a bowl berth after they capsized cross-state nemesis Virginia in the Commonwealth Cup the week previous to the Marshall contest.

How the Public is Betting The Military Bowl

At the current moment, 56% of the consensus like the Hokies in this spot. We saw the Gobblers open in the range of a 5.5-point to 6.5-point favorite and seemingly all markets have found themselves presently having Tech spotting a touchdown-minus the extra point to their counterparts. The number overall on the table is in the area of an underdog-friendly figure as we have seen dogs at this price pull outright upsets countless times. According to Scores and Odds, anyone backing Cincinnati is getting the possibility of a two-point advantage as they have the Hokies priced as an eight-point underdog.

The Historical

These two teams have met four times dating back to 2006, most recently in this very bowl game in 2014 where Virginia Tech ran buckshot on the Bearcats defeating them 33-14 as a two-point underdog. Overall, the Hokies are 3-1 SU in these four contests with Cincy.

Injury Concerns

Cincinnati’s running back Michael Warren is listed as questionable for the Military Bowl given an undisclosed injury. Warren missed Cincy’s last game where they had no trouble putting the wood to ECU. For Virginia Tech, their top receiving option Damon Hazelton is listed as questionable with an undisclosed injury as well.

When Cincinnati Has the Ball

The Bearcats specialty is running the football as they foster the 16th-ranked rushing attack in America averaging 238.1 yards per game. Despite running teams being characterized as lower-scoring ensembles, Cincy has managed to proliferate a 27th-ranked 34.9 points per game. Running back Michael Warren leads the charge with 1,163 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns on the year. Cincy gets a favorable matchup here against the 105th-ranked rushing defense in America as VT gives up an atypical 206.5 yards per game on the ground.

When Virginia Tech Has the Ball

Virginia Tech features a middle-of-the-road offense that produces a 46th-ranked 426.9 yards per game and averages 29.8 points per game (59th in the FBS). The Hokies passing game would be the stronger of the two approaches as they produce a 39th -ranked 256.8 passing yards per game. Tech has quite the challenge as they are up against the seventh-ranked defense in America regarding total and scoring defense (289.9 yards per game / 16.1 points per game). The Bearcats own a top-five rushing defense allowing just 101.8 rushing yards per game contest.

Betting Trends

One key trend that has taken shape is the fact that the Underdog has covered successfully in the previous four meetings between both parties.

Weather Report

Conditions are expected to be cold but pleasant for the day of the bowl. The forecast calls for partly sunny skies with temperatures hovering in the low-to-mid 40s. There is only a 7% chance of precipitation expected at kick-off.

Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Cincinnati -6

The price dictates the play here. The Bearcats are a 10-win program that has lost to just UCF and Temple in overtime. On the other hand, Virginia Tech had to claw and scratch their way into a bowl game and schedule an additional game against a Marshall team at the last-minute that likely came to Blacksburg treating the fixture as a paid dress rehearsal be that it meant nothing to them. Cincy is an entirely different animal, and very simply we are getting the better team on both sides of the football here at a better price. Lest we forget Cincinnati is facing the same Virginia Tech team that was shocked as a 27.5-point favorite when they squared off with Old Dominion in September. You don’t need to adjust your computer screen here, the Hokies are the rightful underdog in this contest, and the Bearcats will take the opportunity to make an example of a high-profile opponent. Swallow the points.
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