Virginia Tech vs. Miami College Football Odds, Picks, Preview: Will Hurricanes Rebound from Tough Loss?
Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images
- Virginia Tech heads south to play Miami on Saturday night at Hard Rock Stadium.
- Both the Hokies and Hurricanes are 5-5 with uncertainty surrounding their program futures.
- Darin Gardner breaks down the game and gives his top pick, below.
Virginia Tech vs. Miami Odds
|Virginia Tech Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
This matchup will feature two teams headed in the same direction, and it’s not the direction you want to be going.
On the year, the two squads enter this contest with identical 5-5 overall records and 3-3 records in conference play. Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente got fired this week and Miami’s Manny Diaz is sitting on one of the hottest seats in college football.
Motivation could end up being a factor here with how the season has gone for each of these teams, which is unfortunately the case for many teams across college football at this point of the year.
Miami is coming off a heartbreaking loss to rival Florida State at the very end last week, while the Hokies oddly decided to pull the trigger on Fuente’s firing just a few days after blowing out Duke, 48-17.
Does the firing light a spark under Virginia Tech, or is this an opportunity for a home bounce-back for the Hurricanes?
Va. Tech Offensive Line Paving the Way
The Virginia Tech offense hasn’t been much to write home about this season, but one bright spot has been the offensive line. It’s excelled in both facets, but especially in pass protection, where it’s a top-20 unit in terms of PFF pass blocking grade and pressure rate allowed.
Center Brock Hoffman has led the way there, ranking sixth at his position in pass blocking grade while allowing just one sack on the year.
This group has also opened up holes in the running game, allowing the Hokies to rank 15th in yards before contact per attempt. Raheem Blackshear has taken the majority of the backfield snaps, averaging 5.3 yards per carry, but he’s also been a threat in the passing game, as his PFF receiving grade ranks fifth among all running backs with at least 25 targets.
The Hokies have some talent at receiver, but that hasn’t translated into much of an efficient passing game, ranking 67th in yards per attempt.
Quarterback Braxton Burmeister just hasn’t been enough of a difference-maker for this team, as his 71.3 PFF passing grade ranks 75th among 148 qualifying quarterbacks.
Hokies’ Defense Inconsistent
Just like the offense, the Hokies’ defense has been inconsistent, but does come into this matchup ranked 37th in points allowed per drive.
The reason for that has been a very solid pass defense, which ranks fourth in Success Rate Allowed and 19th in pressure rate up front. Defensive tackle Jordan Williams has been a valuable asset since transferring from Clemson, ranking in the top three among ACC defensive tackles in pass rushing grade and total pressures.
Run defense has been a different story, as the Hokies rank 73rd in Rushing Success Rate Allowed. The Hokies’ defensive front has played well for the most part over the past two games, but has been gashed by the likes of Syracuse and Georgia Tech at other times.
The defensive line just hasn’t been able to consistently get a push there and that is an area that can be exposed by offenses with efficient running games.
How Good Is Miami Offense with Van Dyke?
So we know that Virginia Tech is vulnerable against the run, but does Miami have what it takes to exploit that? Consider me skeptical, with the Hurricanes ranking all the way down at 119th in expected points added (EPA) per carry and 121st in Rushing Success Rate.
Jaylan Knighton has taken the majority of the carries, and among the 13 ACC running backs with at least 100 attempts, he ranks dead last in PFF rushing grade, explosive runs and yards per carry. Virginia Tech’s run defense has been a weak link, but it’s still proven a lot more than what Miami’s ground game has.
Miami’s passing game was supposed to revolve around quarterback D’Eriq King this year, but an injury has forced redshirt freshman Tyler van Dyke into the starter’s role. He’s had some good moments, but overall, he ranks just 78th in PFF passing grade and 108th in adjusted completion percentage.
At receiver, Oklahoma transfer Charleston Rambo has been a big-time bright spot, as his 954 receiving yards rank 16th in the country. Outside of him, though, this team is very thin at pass-catcher, which could make it tough to move the ball against a tough Virginia Tech pass defense.
Miami Can’t Stop the Run
Miami’s defense really hasn’t been great anywhere, but where it’s struggled the most is run defense, ranking 104th in EPA per carry allowed. It actually had a decent day against Florida State’s ground game last week, but is just two games removed from allowing 8.4 yards per carry to Georgia Tech’s running back duo of Jahmyr Gibbs and Jordan Mason.
Virginia Tech’s offensive line should have a clear edge in the run game, but what about in pass protection?
It could be argued that the Hokies’ pass blocking has been the biggest bright spot on the entire team, and a Miami front that ranks 100th in PFF pass rushing grade could have a really tough time creating any Havoc in this matchup.
In coverage, there really haven’t been many difference-makers outside of Georgia transfer Tyrique Stevenson.
The linebackers have struggled in coverage especially, which the Hokies should be able to take advantage of with Blackshear’s receiving ability out of the backfield. Overall, the Canes rank 83rd in yards allowed per pass attempt.
Virginia Tech vs. Miami Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Virginia Tech and Miami match up statistically:
Virginia Tech Offense vs. Miami Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Miami Offense vs. Virginia Tech Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||32||50|
|Plays per Minute||81||7|
|Rush Rate||60.9% (23)||47.9% (110)|
Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.
Virginia Tech vs. Miami Betting Pick
Virginia Tech’s offense relies on the ground game, as evidenced by a rush rate of over 60%, and should have an edge there against a weak Miami front.
On defense, it’ll be a weakness-on-weakness with the Hokies’ run defense against a bad Miami ground game, but a strong pass defense should be able to handle a passing game that is light on weapons.
It’s hard to know where this team’s head is at after its head coach went out the door this week, but it’s hard to pass up the value here — I project Miami as just 4.2-point favorites. I really like the Hokies to exploit some clear advantages and keep this one tight throughout.
Pick: Virginia Tech +8
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