College Football Free Preview – Virginia Tech Hokies at North Carolina Tar Heels

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The No. 24 Virginia Tech Hokies (-5) are set to pay a visit to the North Carolina Tar Heels at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Interested parties can tune in to the action on ESPNU and this ACC game is scheduled to kick off at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Betting Preview: Virginia Tech Hokies vs. North Carolina Tar Heels

In this Saturday Atlantic Coast matchup, Virginia Tech is labeled as the favorite and is currently giving up 5 points. The Hokies are also receiving -220 moneyline odds while the Tar Heels are +180. If one squad can get out in front early, it will likely produce a worthy betting opportunity in-game.

The sharp action has been siding with the Heels, as the line opened at 6.

The profitable Hokies have recorded 3.7 units so far and are 3-2 against the spread (ATS). The team’s posted an O/U mark of 3-2.

The Tar Heels have been a disappointment to moneyline bettors this season, losing 9.1 units. They’re 1-2-1 ATS and have an O/U record of 3-1.

The Hokies are 3-2 straight up (SU), including 2-0 SU against conference opponents. The Tar Heels are 1-3 SU overall and 1-1 SU in conference play.

These two teams met last year with the final outcome being a 59-7 win for Virginia Tech.

The Hokies hope to get back on track after a 45-23 defeat to Notre Dame last week. Ryan Willis completed 31-of-52 passes for 309 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Damon Hazelton (12 receptions, 131 yards, one TD) and Eric Kumah (four catches, 48 yards, one TD) shared the receiving duties in the defeat.

North Carolina just lost a fairly brutal 47-10 game to Miami (FL) two weeks ago. As a group, the Heels collectively completed 20-of-35 passes for 114 yards and three interceptions. Nathan Elliott went 16-for-25 for 104 yards while Chazz Surratt was four-of-10 for 10 yards and three interceptions. Chazz Surratt (69 rushing yards on nine attempts, one TD) and Michael Carter (75 yards on seven carries) handled the running game as Thomas Jackson (three receptions, 23 yards) and Jordon Brown (three catches, six yards) led the pass-catching corps in the loss.

Virginia Tech has run the ball on 56.2 percent of its offensive plays this year, including 60.0 percent across possessions in conference play. North Carolina has an overall rush percentage of 49.7 percent, and has kept it on the ground 54.8 percent of the time when facing ACC opponents. The Hokies have rushed for 189.6 yards/game (including 96.5 per game versus Atlantic Coast opponents) and have 10 scores on the ground this year. The Heels are totaling 178.3 rush yards per game (194.0 in conference) and have six total rushing TDs.

The Hokies offense has averaged 282.2 yards through the air overall (269.5 per game against conference opposition) and has 11 passing scores so far. The Heels have produced 199.5 pass yards per outing (214 in the ACC) and have three total pass TDs.

Defensively, Virginia Tech has let opponents run for an average of 100.6 yards and pass for 297.4 yards per game. The North Carolina D has allowed 177.0 yards per game to opposing passers and 209.3 yards per game on the ground. The Heels are allowing an adjusted net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A) of only 5.64 to opposing QBs, while the Hokies have given up a 6.57 ANY/A.

Offensively, Willis is up to 504 passing yards on the year, and has connected on 57 percent of his 77 attempts with three scores through the air and one interception. He has a 6.19 adjusted net yards per pass attempt overall, although that number sits at 8.11 over the last two games.

As a group, Damon Hazelton, Steven Peoples and Eric Kumah have collectively accounted for 461 total yards and four touchdowns over the last couple of outings.

Nathan Elliott has completed 53-of-98 passes for 460 yards, one TD and four INTs for North Carolina. His ANY/A stands at a minuscule 2.98 for the year and 7.62 across his past two outings.

We’re looking for the Heels to control tempo by pounding the defense with their running backs. Anthony Ratliff-Williams (179 receiving yards, one TD this season) has chipped in lately, but Antonio Williams (167 rush yards, one rush TD) and Michael Carter (75 rush yards, five receiving yards) have been focal points in the Tar Heels’ recent offensive gameplans.

Virginia Tech Hokies at North Carolina Tar Heels Free Pick

SU Winner: Virginia Tech, ATS Winner: Virginia Tech

Betting Notes

  • The Hokies offense has created three pass plays of 40 yards or more, while the Tar Heels have accounted for two such plays.
  • The Virginia Tech defense has allowed five pass plays of 40 or more yards, while North Carolina has given up two such plays.
  • The Virginia Tech offense has created nine rushing plays of 20 or more yards, while North Carolina has created 10 such runs.
  • The Hokies defense has allowed five rushing plays of 20 or more yards, while the Tar Heels have given up nine such runs.
  • The Virginia Tech defensive unit has 14 sacks on the year while North Carolina has 11.
  • As a team, Virginia Tech has averaged 4.31707317073171 yards per carry over its last three contests and 2.9 over its last two.
  • North Carolina has averaged 5.2 yards per carry over its last three matchups and 4.8 over its last two.
  • In its last three contests, North Carolina is 1-2 ATS and the over cashed in each of those three.
  • Virginia Tech was getting 7 points in its last game and the Over/Under was set at 53.5. The over cashed and Virginia Tech failed to cover in the 45-23 defeat to Notre Dame.
  • In its last three matches, Virginia Tech is 1-2 ATS and the over cashed in two of those three.
  • North Carolina was favored by 18 points in its previous game and the Over/Under was set at 55.5. The over cashed and North Carolina did not cover in the 47-10 loss to Miami (FL).