Virginia Tech at Notre Dame Free College Football Pick – 11/2/19

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Notre Dame is in need of a rebound win, but it gets a team that had an extra week to prepare in Virginia Tech. That said, it may not matter because the Fighting Irish opened as -17.5 point home favorites with an over/under of 58.

Notre Dame was outplayed on every level in the loss to Michigan and it will want to forget about that result as soon as possible.

Virginia Tech maybe isn’t a good team, but it’s been competitive and has some decent wins against Miami and UNC. The other side to that is that it was blown out at home by a mediocre Duke team.

The main problem for the Hokies is that they aren’t stopping anyone, allowing almost 400 yards and 30 points per game. They’ve had trouble against UNC and Miami in recent weeks and Notre Dame’s offense is probably better than both. That was the case last year as the Irish did whatever they wanted in a 45-23 win.

Ian Book is coming off maybe one of the worst performances of his career in the loss to Michigan and is looking to rebound. He still has solid overall numbers on the season with 15 touchdowns and two interceptions, but a sub-60% completion rate is a worry.

However, that may not matter in this game given VT’s defense. In addition to the passing game, Book has 201 rushing yards to go with running back Tony Jones Jr. averaging 6.5 yards per carry. This offense may not be as good as a year ago, but that probably won’t matter against this defense.

The question is if Tech can score against Notre Dame. The Irish have fine numbers, allowing 20.9 points per game, but their main flaw has been a problem the last couple weeks as they couldn’t stop Michigan or USC’s ground games. For the season, the Irish are allowing 172.7 rushing yards per contest, almost more than passing. 

That’s a good thing for some teams, but the Hokies are averaging 4.0 yards per carry and don’t have one guy who has really taken the running back job.

Deshawn McClease and Keshawn King are both averaging close to five yards per carry, but most of their good numbers have come against teams like Rhode Island and Furman. Against better opponents, they’ve been hit-or-miss with most of those being misses.

The boost for the Hokies is that quarterback Hendon Hooker has been great when healthy, averaging 9.5 yards per attempt with seven touchdowns and no interceptions. He injured his knee a couple weeks ago, but he practiced early this week.

If VT can run the ball against a bad rush defense, that would be a nice boost to an offense that usually can’t run, which would in turn leave the door open for a cover. Even if the ground game doesn’t work, Hooker still has a chance to cover with his arm.

The over is 5-1 in Virginia Tech’s last six games following an ATS win, while Notre Dame is 5-1 ATS in its last six home games. 

Our Pick – Virginia Tech +18