North Carolina Tar Heels (+17) @ Virginia Tech Hokies Pick: The 14th ranked Hokies come into this one looking to get back on track after taking it on the chin in a loss to Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets came to play defensively, making most things tough on Tyrod Taylor and company, and a normally stout defensive front was beaten early and often by the Yellow Jackets rushing attack. It’s a short week for the Hokies, not always the easiest way to cover a 17 point spread against a tough conference opponent.
The Tar Heels come off a tough loss to Florida State last Thursday Night. They were on top for most of the game, getting up 24-6 in the 3rd quarter before FSU fought back with huge passing totals, torching a defense that played very well in the first half, and had previously been ranked #1 in the ACC. The Tar Heels would score only a field goal going forward, and the Seminoles scored a go-ahead touchdown with 6 minutes left in the 4th, it would turn out to be a game winner. A win here would certainly be sweet redemption for the Heels.
Looking at this game, I like the match-up problems Carolina’s stout run-defense has against a normally talented rushing game from the Hokies. I know UNC isn’t going to throw the ball a lot, they aren’t a passing team, but they have been known to grind out yards on the ground, and any team that can run and stop the run, is a nice value bet at +17. If you look at Virginia Tech’s losses, and game where they struggled – they got out-rushed. If the Heels can commit to stopping that Hokies run game, and put up some yardage on the ground themselves, an upset could happen. Either way, a cover seems likely.