There’s still a month to go in the season, but the winner of this Game will more than likely win the ACC’s Coastal division. The Schedule has lined up almost perfectly for Miami up to now, but home Games against Virginia Tech and Notre Dame will present upcoming challenges. The Hurricanes opened as favorites at some places, but the Hokies were seen as -2.5 point road favorites as of Monday at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
This matchup had much different meaning a year ago when Miami left the 37-16 loss with a 1-3 Conference record. Miami has used some luck and a favorable Schedule to remain undefeated, although not many believe this team is for real. The ‘Canes have escaped in almost every win this season from the FSU and Georgia Tech Games to barely getting past Syracuse and UNC the last couple weeks. Winning this Game will take everything Miami has because when these teams met last year, Virginia Tech walked all over them.
Tech’s only loss remains the Game against Clemson and otherwise has run over every other ACC opponent. The Hokies have held BC, UNC and Duke to a combined 20 points in their last three and that’s where we’ll start with their top-10 defense allowing just 11.5 points per Game.
Miami is undefeated, but the offense is far from consistent scoring no more than 31 points in any of its Conference Games. While quarterback Malik Rosier has been good (17 TDs, 4 INTs), his 56.7% completion percentage limits the upside for this offense. That was seen last week when he went 16-of-38 against the Heels and now he’s also dealing with a minor shoulder injury. Miami faces its toughest defense it’s faced and could have some trouble here. Travis Homer is averaging 6.4 yards per carry, but ran for just 40 yards on 16 carries last week against UNC. If Homer struggles against a defense that’s allowing only 110 rushing yards per Game, that will mean Rosier has to throw more than Miami wants him to. That’s what happened in last year’s Game and Brad Kaaya didn’t have enough to keep his team competitive.
It’s a similar situation on the other side of the football with Miami likely not seeing an offense as good as VT’s yet, although that’s not saying much. The hardest test the ‘Canes have had was the Georgia Tech Game that was rainy and ended with a Game-winning field goal.
Not to say the Hokies are elite, especially after scoring 24 points against Duke last week, but they should move the ball against Miami. Freshman QB Josh Jackson has been just as good as Rosier (17 TDs, 4 INTs), but is completing more of his passes (62.3%). Their run Game is another question, but the good news is that Miami really struggles against the run, giving up 180 rushing yards per Game. If Travon McMillian or Deshawn McClease can find some holes against this defense, that’d be a huge edge to Virginia Tech.
Playing on the road under the lights, this is Miami’s Game to win. But as seen in the spread, this isn’t a team that should be undefeated. The Hokies are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 overall, while the Hurricanes are 2-5 ATS in their last seven following an ATS loss. The under is 10-4 in the last 14 meetings between these schools and Virginia Tech is 11-5 ATS in the last 16 meetings.
Our Pick – Virginia Tech +1.5