Virginia vs. Virginia Tech Odds & Picks: Betting Value on ACC Over/Under
Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images. Pictured: Virginia’s Kihei Clark (from left), Armaan Franklin and Jayden Gardner.
- Virginia Tech hosts Virginia in the second rivalry meeting between these teams this season.
- The Hokies are favored as they look to get revenge for their loss at Virginia last month.
- Anthony Dabbundo breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.
Virginia vs. Virginia Tech Odds
-110o / -110u
|Virginia Tech Odds|
-110o / -110u
Virginia Tech and Virginia are two of the hottest teams in a middling ACC, and both are making late season pushes to get onto the bubble in time for March.
Both have underperformed expectations early in the year for different reasons, but the improved play of Virginia’s forwards and the better jump shooting from Virginia Tech has led to them winning nine consecutive games in a row.
Virginia won the first meeting between the two sides at home on Jan. 12, a game that only had 57 total possessions and 106 total points because of how slow both teams play in the halfcourt. Neither offense turns the ball over much, neither team looks to get out in transition, and the defenses have improved as ACC play has continued.
Despite the low projected total in this match of 120, points should be hard to come by yet again in this game as Virginia Tech cools off from its unsustainable run of 3-point shooting, and the Hokies are able to force Virginia to beat them from the perimeter, which I’m not sure they’ll be able to do.
The narrative around Virginia’s pack-line defense is that it can be had from the perimeter and that good jump shooting trams will expose them, but that’s not necessarily the case. Virginia’s defense, even in a down year, ranks 49th in preventing open catch and shoot 3-pointers.
They also guard ball screens extremely well, which is a major part of the Virginia Tech offense and generating open looks from beyond the arc. This is because of how active the Cavaliers’ two starting guards are — Kihei Clark and Reece Beekman. Both defend at an elite level, and Virginia’s defense has taken a step forward as the season has progressed because of improved play of the forwards in the middle.
Virginia Tech doesn’t get to the rim at a high rate and prefers to shoot from the perimeter, and that’s typically how teams attack Virginia, but the Cavaliers defense has been pretty unlucky defensively from beyond the arc this season. They’re allowing teams to shoot 37.3% from 3 in conference against them despite an expected 3-point defense percentage allowed that’s two percent lower, per ShotQuality.
You’d expect, based on history, the Cavaliers defense to make significant improvements before their offense did, especially when you consider the lacking overall offensive talent for Tony Bennett’s squad. So despite the offense ranking of 23rd in KenPom efficiency since January 1, the defense has positive regression coming.
Virginia Tech finally had some 3-point shooting regression come against Syracuse after the Hokies shot a ridiculous 66-of-124 (53.2%) from beyond the arc in the five games that preceded the Hokies win and cover at home against the Orange. The Hokies made just 8-of-27 in the game, and ShotQuality expected the Hokies to score significantly more points than they actually did.
There’s still more room for this Hokies offense to fall, as good as they have been from beyond the arc lately. Even though the Hokies generate the second-best looks from deep in the entire country, it’s hard to believe anyone can sustain 42%+ from deep, and they certainly won’t continue to make half of their 3s as they’ve done in the last six games overall.
But what was impressive was the defense against an elite Syracuse offense. The Hokies held the Orange to just 0.89 points per possession and shut down one of the country’s most elite jump shooting teams. The Orange totaled only nine assists on 24 made baskets, and the Hokies won comfortably despite the Orange shooting 37% from beyond the arc on contested and difficult 3s.
The Hokies run ball screens and cuts at some of the highest rates in the entire country on offense, but Virginia is a top 30 ball screen defense per ShotQuality. There’s also plenty of familiarity between these two programs that play twice a season.
Virginia vs. Virginia Tech Betting Pick
Two very familiar teams are meeting for the second time this season in a rivalry game with massive NCAA Tournament bubble implications. The game sets up to be played mostly in the halfcourt, as do both programs’ identities. Neither offense goes for offensive rebounds often, and both prioritize defensive rebounding and making teams play in the halfcourt as opposed to letting them get out in transition.
Even if both teams did want to push tempo at any point, both Virginia Tech and Virginia are veteran teams with experienced backcourts that don’t turn the ball over frequently.
The two teams have met four times in the regular season since Mike Young became the head coach in Blacksburg, and only one game has had over 60 possessions. Assuming we’re getting fewer than 60 possessions in this game is a pretty safe proposition, even if one side gets a lead, and the other is forced to go a bit faster.
Throw in that neither team draws fouls or gets to the line often, and it’s very hard for this game to get past 119 points without excellent shooting days from the perimeter for both teams.
Pick: Under 119 or better