Virginia Tech Hokies (19) vs. North Carolina Tar Heels (8) Betting Picks and Predictions
06 October 2020
|Date:||Saturday, October 10th|
|Time:||12:00 PM ET|
The 2-0 19th-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies will go on the road Saturday afternoon to face off with the 2-0 North Carolina Tar Heels at 12:00 PM ET in Kenan Stadium. This is going to be phenomenal game and you can tune in on ABC or ESPN3 if you don’t have access to cable. The Tar Heels come in as 5.5-point favorites and we’re expecting a high-scoring affair with a 58.5 over/under. Let’s dive into who will win this game and cover this spread.
When the Virginia Tech Hokies Have The Ball
Virginia Tech started the season by handedly beating NC State 45-24 via the run game and defense. They then went into Duke and while it was close throughout, held a lead from start to finish and grabbed a 38-31 victory. The ran for 324 yards and four touchdowns, controlling the pace from start to finish.
The only negative came at QB with Braxton Burmeister completing just nine of his 25 passes. He still threw for 163 yards with one TD and one INT, which isn’t terrible. There’s a ton of discussion as to who will start this game and the coaching staff still hasn’t announced anything. If I had to guess, it would be Burmeister as the running game looked extremely strong in the second half against Duke.
The Hokies have a brutal schedule and while they’ve taken care of business through two weeks, it only gets tougher from here. This matchup with the 8th-ranked Tar Heels is going to be a thrilling one and Burmeister will have to be a lot more efficient through the air to keep the defense honest. That’s if QB Hendon Hooker doesn’t get the start, who’s been a bit hobbled early in the season and hasn’t played a snap. Burmeister is the better runner and Hooker the better passer.
No matter who starts at QB, the running game is the bread and butter of this Hokies squad. RB Khalil Herbert has averaged a crazy 12 YPC with 312 yards and three TD’s through two games. He’s complemented by Raheem Blackshear, who’s run for another 75 yards and a score. If Burmeister starts, he gives the Hokies a third running back and is extremely shifty in the open field.
When The North Carolina Tar Heels Have The Ball
Neither game has been easy through two weeks for North Carolina, which has to be worrisome against two unranked opponents. While they pulled away from Syracuse and the defense looked good, it wasn’t pretty. They then went into Boston College and were able to hold on to a 26-22 victory in a game that QB Sam Howell was outperformed by fellow sophomore Phil Jurkovec.
It hasn’t come as easy as expected for North Carolina, but they continue to climb the ranks with others losing and are now ranked eighth. The College Football world forgets how you won fast as long as you do it, so UNC is still in prime position to make a playoff run. Sam Howell came into the season as a Heisman contender and while he hasn’t been phenomenal, you can still tell that it’s coming.
Howell has some of the more explosive weapons in the entire country with Dazz Newsome and Dyami Brown starting on the outside. They combined for 123 catches in 2019 with each over 1,000 yards through the air. Newsome has battled with some injuries early in the year and Beau Corrales has caught seven balls for 82 yards and the second option.
Like Virginia Tech, this is still a team that’s predicated on running the football. The two-headed attack of Javonte Williams and Michael Carter is a dangerous one. Williams has a bit more experience and has been favored in years past, but those days are over. Carter is a future NFL back and he’s explosive in space. Both backs are able to make a difference through the air and they’ll have to against a tough Hokies secondary.
The Tar Heels have teased each of their last two opponents, but neither were good enough to take advantage. That’s not the case this weekend as a Hokies team comes to town that won’t give them an inch on either side of the football. The Tar Heels struggle to defend the run and Virginia Tech is one of the six or seven most dangerous teams on the ground in the country. They’re not only lethal with their workhorse Herbert, but the QB can run and Blackshear is one of the best backups out there.
Sam Howell is absolutely dangerous, but the Hokies defense will put pressure on him in the backfield and this offensive line has proven nothing through two weeks. The wide receivers have been banged up and the offense hasn’t looked like the 2019 version of itself to date. This Virginia Tech defense looks to force turnovers and the offense is built to capitalize. I expect Virginia Tech to control the pace of this game and win as an underdog on the road.
The Pick: Virginia Tech +5.5
There’s no wonder this is a high total as both of these defenses have struggled thus far. With that being said, it’s more about the offenses being extremely potent and neither has performed to their full potential. I think that changes this week as this game turns into a bit of a blowout. While I mentioned the solid Hokies defense, it’s relative and the Tar Heels are going to do their damage.
Both teams will still find their way into the 30s. The Tar Heels are going to struggle big time against the run and Howell will throw for at least three scores on the other side. Both offenses like the keep the pace flowing and I wouldn’t be shocked to see North Carolina play faster than ever against this bigger defense. This is going to be a hard-fought battle from start to finish and while I lean the over, I would much rather ride with Virginia Tech.
The Pick: Over 58.5
Final Score Prediction: Virginia Tech 34, North Carolina 31