Virginia Tech at East Carolina
Thursday Night Football ESPN – Betting Odds and Analysis
This weeks edition of ESPN Thursday Night football brings us the Virginia Tech Hokies seeking revenge over the East Carolina Pirates. Virginia Tech is a 13 point road favorite with a Total of 52 for over/under bettors at most of the top offshore sportsbooks.
Virginia Tech has gone from the penthouse to the outhouse with their fans in just two weeks. The Hokies were one of the hottest team in the country a few weeks ago, and it looked like they were a serious dark horse for the BCS Title Game, but then they dropped their last two Games to Georgia Tech and North Carolina, and they find themselves with 3 losses on the year and 4th in the ACC Coastal Division.
This is a much better team then what they have showed in the last two weeks. They have a QB in Tyrod Taylor who has looked very good at times this year, and they have one of the best RBs in the country with RB Ryan Williams. The one thing has really been hurting this Virginia Tech team this year, which in the past has always been their strength, is their defense. Their defense has really had problems getting the big stops when they need them, and if they are going to close out this year strong their defense will really need to step things up.
This Game against a lesser opponent in ECU couldnt have come at a better time for the Hokies, but they need to make sure they are not looking past Coach Skip Holtz and the ECU Pirates, or they could find themselves in another dogfight.
In the past two Games this Virginia Tech offense has been almost non-existent in the 1st half. In those two Games Virginia Tech has scored a combined 3 points in the first halves. They cannot continue to dig themselves those kinds of holes because of lack of offensive production, and expect to have a successful year. This offense has too much talent to not put up points early.
QB Tyrod Taylor has shown real improvement with his passing abilities this year, and he needs to continue to have success through the air to help take pressure off their star RB Ryan Williams. The Redshirt Freshman Williams has had a very good season so far. He has 930 yards rushing on the year with 10 TDs, and is averaging 116 yards per Game, but he cannot do it on his own. The more success Taylor has with his arm the more success Williams will have on the ground.
This ECU defense is allowing 358 yards per Game, but only 108 of those yards come on the ground, so we expect ECU to try to stop Ryan Williams and force Taylor to beat them with his arm. Taylor is more than capable of winning this Game with his arm, but if he does struggle this Game could be a lot closer than most people expect.
THE FINAL VERDICT
Virginia Tech team has been a very difficult team to gauge so far this year. They opened the year up with a 34-24 loss to Alabama, but then followed that up with 5 straight impressive wins iNCluding a 31-7 win over a very good Miami team. It seemed like they were on their way to another ACC Title and another berth in a BCS bowl Game, but then Coach Paul Johnson and his triple option offense came into town, and Georgia Tech ran the ball all over Virginia Tech. Then they followed that Game up with a loss to an UNC that has had problems all year especially on offense.
East Carolina has disappointed as well this year. There were very high hopes for this team coming into this season. Skip Holtz has done a fine job here and the team returned 16 starters from a year ago. So, these are essentially the same two teams that hooked up last year and saw EC come away with a 27-22 win. We can even look to 2007 where we find a 17-10 Tech win over the Pirates, just to illustrate that East Carolina can play with Tech.
Virginia Tech is the better football team. A 52-10 over Marshall illustrates that, while EC squeaked by that same Marshall team 21-17. But it’s not a “bad” East Carolina team. They have already shown us in the past that they can play with the Hokies. They are #17 in the Nation in turnover margin and have respectable yards per point numbers, particularly at home, albeit against a weaker Schedule than Tech.
You can’t underestimate the motivational edges either. Virginia Tech gets lots of opportunities to play under the National Spot Light. They are on National TV all the time. For East Carolina, this is it. A Game like this for EC is HUGE as far as recruiting goes, and for the school in general. Not to mention the kids themselves getting the chance to shine. When you don’t get many opportunities, you’ve got to make the most of them when they come along.
At +13 or more, we’ll take Our chances with East Carolina. They have the talent to make this a Game as well as the added motivational boost. Providing they don’t get blown off the field, the +13 means they’ll be in striking distaNCe all the way through with the pointspread outcome in doubt when the 4th quarter starts, which is right where we want to be. East Carolina +13
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