Virginia Tech vs Cincinnati -5.5 (o/u 53.5)
Heading into the last two weeks of the season, Virginia Tech (6-6) needed to win both of its remaining games to get a bowl bid. Well, here they are. It wasn’t a particularly pretty season, but they survived due in large part to an offense that was scrappy enough to put points on the board. QB Ryan Williams did his best to keep the offense moving when the rushing game went MIA. He passed for 2,497 and 22 touchdowns while only turning the ball over 8 times on interception. His wide receiver corps included five players who gained at least 322 yards receiving. While the defense started out respectable, they struggled in the latter part of the season. It’s notable that the defense gave up 44 PPG in the team’s 6 losses.
Cincinnati is yet another bowl entry from the exciting American Athletic Conference. They come into this contest with a fine record of 10-2 with the two losses coming to a very good Temple team and 8th ranked Central Florida. The offense was at times explosive, especially when running the ball (37th in the nation, 238.1 YPG). Michael Warren II was the teams leading rusher with 1,163 yards and 17 TDs. He also caught 24 passes for 224 yards and another TD. The defense was superior. They ranked 7th in the nation for scoring defense at 16.1 PPG and an even more impressive 7th in the nation for rushing defense, allowing 103.8 YPG.
Prediction: On paper, this game looks like a total mismatch with Cincinnati holding a significant edge on both sides of the ball. Virginia Tech is scrappy, but they grind the ball on offense and that’s not going to get it done against a top defense. The line is out of whack and its incumbent on bettors to take advantage of it. Play Cincinnati -5.5