Virginia Tech will host North Carolina to kick off the 2021 ACC college football season on Friday, September 3rd at 6pm EST. The Tarheels are a -5.5 point road favorite with a current total of 67.5 and you can bet the game with reduced juice at BetAnySports.
The Tarheels led from start to finish in last years game, jumping out to a 21-0 1st quarter lead. They dominated on the ground with Michael Carter and Javonte Williams both topping 150 yards rushing (214, 169)
Virginia Tech never gave up though. They closed the gap to a TD in the 2nd quarter and came within 5 by the end of the 3rd quarter but the Taheels proved to be too much. The final score was 56-45 when the dust cleared.
Both Return Plenty of Starters, But…
Both teams return plenty of starters from last year. The Tarheels bring back 9 offensive starters and 8 on defense while the Hokies bring back 7 on each side of the ball. They’ll have Braxton Burmeister at QB, who saw some action last season.
There are a couple of very important pieces of information that everyone should be aware of when handicapping this game.
For starters, that running back duo for North Carolina of Michael Carter and Javonte Williams are both now in the NFL.
Also, the Hokies were hit hard with COVID last season at the beginning of the year, leading up to the North Carolina game.
They started their 2020 season down 23 players and 2 coaches. The following week they were down 21 players. In the North Carolina game they were down 15 still. Keep in mind, these players were quarantined and not practicing.
So, when Tech faced the Tarheels, it was a team missing key personnel and the players they did get back weren’t even able to practice with the team from the beginning of the season!
Our Model Says It’s Close
Our model has North Carolina winning a high scoring affair by 3 when using data from all of last season. When using just the last 7 games, our model has the Tarheels by 8.
When you take into consideration what COVID did to the Hokies last year combined with the fact that the Tarheels two top running backs are now in the NFL, we think the door is wide open for a Virginia Tech upset to start the 2021 season.
They’ll be playing at home to boot and last we heard, it will be in front of a capacity crowd. What a difference a year makes!