College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: Virginia Tech vs. Virginia (Wednesday, Jan. 12)

College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: Virginia Tech vs. Virginia (Wednesday, Jan. 12) article feature image

William Howard/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Storm Murphy.

  • Virginia is a slight favorite in a rivalry matchup vs. Virginia Tech tonight.
  • The Cavaliers are usually one of college hoops' most efficient teams, but the Hokies' perimeter attack could cause problems.
  • Tanner McGrath breaks down the matchup and delivers his betting pick below.

Virginia Tech vs. Virginia Odds

Wednesday, Jan. 12
9 p.m. ET
Virginia Tech Odds
-110o / -110u
Virginia Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Once called the commonwealth rivalry, the Virginia Tech vs. Virginia game is always a fun matchup.

Historically, however, the Cavaliers have dominated this matchup. Virginia has won seven of the last 10 meetings with the Hokies.

But this is not the Virginia of old. Tony Bennett's team is just 9-6 with losses to Navy and James Madison. The Cavaliers have dropped all the way to 60th in KenPom's ratings.

Virginia Tech has cracked the KenPom top 30, but the Hokies are reeling following two straight losses, one of which was against N.C. State.

This one should be a rock fight, so which team has the edge?

Virginia Tech Hokies

Despite their recent missteps, I really like the 2022 Hokies.

Mike Young is an analytics-driven coach who likes to either take the outside shot or get to the rim. Although, it's worth mentioning the Hokies rim-and-3 rate is lower than most years.

But the Hokies can stroke it from deep. Hunter Cattoor, Storm Murphy and Nahiem Alleyne are all legit shooters who have the ability to shoot 40% from beyond the arc. And although only Catoor and Murphy have reached that number so far, the team as a whole is shooting the lights out (38.8 3-point percentage, which is 15th nationally).

Meanwhile, there's a strong interior presence in Blacksburg with Keve Aluma and Justyn Mutts manning the front lines. Aluma is the team's leading scorer (15.5 points per game), while Mutts has a 56% true-shooting rate and cracks the top 100 nationally in defensive rebounding rate.

While this team hasn't achieved a Nate Oats style of play yet, the Hokies have the pieces in place to do so.

Between Virginia Tech's current 3-point percentage and its 3-point percentage allowed (26.9%, 10th nationally), one would assume regression is coming. But ShotQuality's metrics only show positive regression coming for the Hokies, with a 10-4 SQ record as opposed to an 8-6 actual mark.

I tend to agree. This team is very legit with their perimeter offense and defense.

I think a lot of that has to do with Storm Murphy. The former Wofford guard won't light up the scoreboard, but he's the floor general for a team that's top 50 in offensive turnover and defensive turnover rate. Murphy has posted a quiet 107.3 Offensive Rating while ranking in the 75th percentile of D-I players in half-court points per possession allowed.

As many coaches would say: He makes the right basketball decision.

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Virginia Cavaliers

Unlike the Hokies, I hate this Virginia team.

The Cavaliers do some things right. They have solid interior defense behind the 21st-ranked 2-point defense and the fourth-ranked block rate. Virginia also avoids foul trouble and keeps the opponent's free-throw rates down.

But the Cavaliers can't rebound (238th in offensive rebounding rate, 254th in defensive rebounding rate) or shoot from the perimeter.

Similar to Virginia Tech, if a team is sub-200 in both 3-point shooting and 3-point defense, you may expect some positive regression. But also similar to Virginia Tech, ShotQuality's metrics show no positive or negative regression for the Cavaliers.

And again, I tend to agree. The top-two scorers (Jayden Gardner, Armaan Franklin) are sub-30% career 3-point shooters. Meanwhile, the undersized backcourt is headlined by the 5-foot-10 Kihei Clark.

The perimeter defense is an issue. Not only are the Cavaliers below-average 3-point defenders, but they rank below the 40th percentile in pick-and-roll points per possession allowed. That gives opposing offenses a way to beat the Cavaliers — a trait that wasn't present in previous Tony Bennett teams.

Road wins over Syracuse and Clemson hardly impress me. And neither does the Cavaliers' 6-9 ATS record.

Virginia Tech vs. Virginia Betting Pick

It should seem obvious by now: I'll be fading the Cavaliers.

Virginia is just 2-7 against the spread (ATS) as a favorite this season and only 2-6 ATS at home. It's likely smart to buy low on Bennett and Co., but I refuse to back them as a favorite.

Instead, give me coach Young and a team that's primed to take advantage of lackluster perimeter defenses. The three Hokies shooters should fire away over Kihei Clark and his backcourt mates.

This line is already starting to move towards a pick'em at some books, and that's as far as I'm willing to play it. But I love the Hokies to grab a big conference road victory.

Pick: Virginia Tech +1.5 (Play to PK)

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Sean Treppedi
Jun 12, 2024 UTC