Virginia Tech vs. Old Dominion Odds, Picks, Predictions: Friday College Football Betting Guide
(Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images) Pictured: Malachi Thomas.
- Two programs that know each other well go head-to-head on Friday evening.
- The Virginia Tech defense should take a massive jump while ODU's offense is completely changing.
- Here's how Mike Ianniello is betting this matchup.
Virginia Tech vs. Old Dominion Odds
|Virginia Tech Odds|
-110o / -110u
|Old Dominion Odds|
-110o / -110u
Brent Pry will kick off his Virginia Tech head-coaching tenure against Old Dominion and longtime friend Ricky Rahne. As a Penn State alum, this game is near and dear to my heart.
These two coaches started together in 2011 when Pry was the defensive coordinator at Vanderbilt and Rahne was the Commodores’ quarterbacks coach.
They coached together in Nashville for three seasons before both followed James Franklin to Penn State. The duo then spent six seasons together in Happy Valley before Rahne took took the ODU gig.
After sitting out the 2020 season, Old Dominion understandably started slow in 2021, but won its final five regular season games and earned a bowl bid in Rahne’s first season.
These coaches faced off against each other every day in practice for nine years. Now, each leading their own program, is it the former Penn State defensive coordinator or offensive coordinator who has the edge?
Duke is the only ACC team that averaged fewer points per game than the 23.7 points the Hokies put up a season ago. Virginia Tech’s offense finished 78th in Success Rate last year and could not throw the ball at all. Braxton Burmeister struggled with accuracy, but he’s off to San Diego State.
In comes Grant Wells, who has been an absolute roller coaster in his career at Marshall. He earned First Team All-Conference USA honors after chucking 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions as a true freshman.
He had high expectations as a sophomore, but struggled with turnovers and threw 13 interceptions and 16 touchdowns.
The Hokies will be without their 2021 leading rusher and their top two leading receivers, Tayvion Robinson and Tre Turner. Kaleb Smith is the only returning player with at least 20 receptions.
Malachi Thomas should get the majority of the carries after totaling 440 yards and three scores last season.
He will be running behind an offensive line with a ton of question marks. Virginia Tech has two sixth-year seniors returning, but beyond that, there is zero depth. Pry did make a phenomenal hire to coach the line though, poaching Wisconsin offensive line coach Joe Rudolph.
Defensively, the Hokies were better than the offense, but weren’t exactly world beaters.
That should change quickly under Pry. Penn State’s defense finished top-25 in scoring defense, including a trio of top eight finishes in four of the past five seasons under Pry. The Nittany Lions were top-25 in yards per play in all eight of his seasons as the defensive coordinator.
Pry’s defenses have thrived with linebackers who can create pressure, and he has two of them in Dax Hollifield and Alan Tisdale. Those two were the best on the team at getting into the backfield last year and combined for 16.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks.
On the back end, Chamarri Conner will move from the nickel spot to safety, joining Nasir Peoples. They finished second and third on the team in tackles behind Hollifield.
Similar to the offense, it’s in the trenches where Virginia Tech has question marks and a concerning lack of depth. The Hokies bring back a pair of returnees on the defensive line, but the unit struggled to create pressure last season and might be forced to rely on some true freshmen if there any injuries.
After starting the season 1-5, the Monarchs turned it around. The improvement came once Hayden Wolff took over at quarterback. Old Dominion finished the regular season 5-1 with Wolff as the starter.
The emergence of Wolff was also mirrored by the breakout of running back Blake Watson. After averaging just 84.8 yards per game prior to Wolff taking over, Watson rushed for 111.7 yards per game with Wolff under center.
Old Dominion will return five of its top six receivers and is led by Ali Jennings III, who tallied 1,062 yards and five touchdowns a season ago. The speedy wideout had 22 catches of at least 20 yards.
— ODU Football (@ODUFootball) November 27, 2021
Penn State transfer Zack Kuntz emerged last season as one of the most reliable tight ends in the country. Kuntz totaled 73 receptions, the second most among all FBS tight ends. Only second-round draft pick Trey McBride reeled in more catches.
It is no surprise Rahne’s offense did most of the heavy lifting, but the defense held its own as well.
In its six losses at the beginning of the year, Old Dominion allowed 35.5 points per game. However, the defense tightened up down the stretch and allowed just 22.2 points per game during a five-game winning streak.
The strength of this unit was certainly defending the run. The Monarchs’ rush defense finished 29th in EPA Allowed on rushing plays and was 11th in the nation at defending Explosiveness on the ground. They return Alonzo Ford and Tyre Bibby up front, and Marcus Haynes and Amorie Morrison on the edge.
Jason Henderson and Ryan Henry are back at linebacker, but the team will have a big hole to fill with the loss of Jordan Young, the school’s all-time leading tackler.
With Young gone, the leader of this defense will be safety R’Tarriun Johnson. The tremendous tackler was an All-Conference honorable mention and will lead a young secondary.
The back seven needs to do a better job at forcing turnovers this season, as Old Dominion managed just seven interceptions in 2021.
Virginia Tech vs. Old Dominion Betting Pick
Pry had the Penn State defense consistently among the best in the country during his time in State College. The Nittany Lions ranked inside the top 25 in yards per play in all eight seasons under Pry.
This Virginia Tech defense should take a big jump under Pry, but after finishing 78th in total defense and Finishing Drives, it might take some time to adjust to the new system.
In addition to the adjustment period, if there is anybody who knows what Pry wants to do on defense, it’s Rahne. Sure, that could work the other way around too, but Old Dominion should have been able to game plan for Virginia Tech’s defense more than the Hokies, who had to learn and implement new schemes.
Old Dominion’s offense totally changed under Wolff. With all his top weapons back, they should begin the year in rhythm. Watson and the Monarchs’ rushing attack ranked 11th in rushing Explosiveness and could hit some home runs against a Hokies defense that was 110th at preventing rushing Explosiveness.
Speaking of Explosiveness, that is the one thing the Virginia Tech offense did well. It ranked eighth in the country in passing Explosiveness last year, and now brings in human dynamite stick Wells.
Last year at Marshall, Wells was 23rd in the nation in passing plays over 20 yards and had the eighth most passing plays over 40 yards. He has a cannon arm and isn’t afraid to take deep shots. Some will end up in his receivers’ arms, some will end up in the opponents’ arms.
Both of these coaches are good friends and could pull out some fun trick plays against each other. I think both offenses should have an advantage in what should be a competitive game throughout.
In a battle between two former Penn State coordinators, I like the total to go over in Norfolk.