Virginia Cavaliers vs. Virginia Tech Hokies Preview
Where: Lane Stadium – Blacksburg, Virginia
When: Saturday, November 26, 12:00 PM ET
TV Broadcast: ESPN2
Writer’s Pick: Virginia Tech Hokies (-18.5)
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Betting on the Virginia Cavaliers (+18.5)
The end has mercifully come for Bronco Mendenhall’s first season at Virginia. The Hoos have gone just 2-9 (5-6 ATS) in his debut season, and have lost their last six in a row. Four of those six losses have come by two or more touchdowns.
The prospect of Bronco leading the Hoos to a huge upset against Virginia Tech in the season finally doesn’t seem particularly likely. The Hoos are just 1-16 in their last 17 trips to Blacksburg. However, they have at least put up a fight in recent years. Three of their last four visits have been decided by four points or fewer. They’ve gone 3-1 ATS in those games.
Virginia shouldn’t be short of motivation for this matchup. Apart from this being a rivalry game, they can also potentially derail the Hokies’ ACC championship hopes if they can somehow end their 12-year drought in Blacksburg.
A lot of things will have to go right for Virginia to even keep things competitive against Tech, though. For one, they’ll need to cut down on their turnovers. Virginia is a minus-8 in the turnover battle over the last three weeks, which is obviously not great. Matt Johns, who will once again get the start at quarterback in place of Kurt Benkert, threw three picks in his first start of the season against Georgia Tech.
Betting on the Virginia Tech Hokies (-18.5)
Contrary to his Virginia counterpart, Justin Fuente’s first season at Virginia Tech has been a big success. The Hokies are 8-3 (5-6 ATS) and are just one win (or a North Carolina loss) away from returning to the ACC title game for the first time since 2011.
The Hokies’ trademark defense has been very good, although it has given up 30 or more points in three of its last four games. However, they shouldn’t have too much to fear against a subpar Virginia offense which has managed to exceed 30 points just three times all season.
Meanwhile, Fuente has done a terrific job reviving the offense. He’s turned Jerod Evans into a potential all-ACC quarterback. The junior is second in the conference in passer rating (157.1) and sports a very impressive 24-to-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Evans went 22-of-29 for 267 yards and 2 passing TDs and also had 67 rushing yards and a rushing score as he orchestrated a fourth-quarter comeback last week to beat Notre Dame, 34-31. Evans has been particularly effective throwing the deep ball this season, and will fancy taking a few shots against the Hoos’ shaky secondary.
Virginia’s defense is giving up the highest passer rating in the conference (148.6) as well as the third-most yards allowed per attempt (8.4).
Virginia Tech (-18.5) blows Virginia out and wins, 35-14.
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