Duke vs. Virginia Tech Picks & Betting Odds: Is Now the Time to Buy the Hokies?
Lee Luther Jr., USA Today Sports. Pictured: Herdon Hooker, Tre Turner
Duke at Virginia Tech Odds
- Spread: Virginia Tech -2.5
- Over/Under: 52
- Time: Friday, 7 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
- Location: Blacksburg, Virginia
Duke at Virginia Tech Line Movement
This game opened at Virginia Tech -2 but has moved to -2.5 or -3 around the market. The line movement doesn’t agree with the market as 58% of the tickets have come in on the Blue Devils as of Thursday evening.
It’s hard to blame bettors for looking to fade the Hokies. Not only is Virginia Tech 0-3 Against the Spread (ATS), but the last time we saw the Hokies, they were struggling to beat FCS Furman at home. That performance came on the heels of a less-than-impressive win over Old Dominion and a loss to Boston College, who just lost to Kansas, in Week 1.
Should you go against the public in this Friday night matchup? Our analysts break down the matchup and make an ATS pick below.
Collin Wilson: Buy Low on Virginia Tech
These two programs are very familiar with one another. David Cutcliffe has been in charge of Duke’s football program since 2008 and Bud Foster has been running Va Tech’s defense since 1987. But this series has been one-sided for a long time.
Duke hasn’t defeated the Hokies since 2015 and has just two victories in its last 15 tries against Virginia Tech.
Despite their slow start to the season, the Hokies still have a positive yards per play (YPP) differential at +0.75, while Duke has a negative differential at -0.11. Despite the loss to Boston College and a close win against Furman, Virginia Tech ranks inside the top 40 in total defense and inside the top 10 in sack rate.
Virginia Tech quarterback Ryan Willis had one of his best games of 2018 against the Blue Devils, throwing for 332 yards and three touchdowns. He was buoyed by completing 7 of 9 third-down passes for over 100 yards. This season the Hokies rank 14th in 3rd Down Conversions at 52%.
I also think the Virginia Tech defense could have an advantage thanks to its performance against Furman. The Hokies fell behind Furman, 14-3, but both touchdown drives began in Virginia Tech territoy and the Hokies allowed just 163 yards on the ground against a triple-option offense.
That experience should help them against the Blue Devils, who have shown the triple option against both Alabama and Middle Tennessee State. The Hokies should be well prepared for any Blue Devil offensive formation.
We project a total of 50.5 points, so the Over/Under isn’t that appealing to me, but the spread is a different story. Our projected spread for this game is Virginia Tech -8 and SP+ has the Hokies as a 1.7-point favorite on a neutral field.
I’m believing in our projections and rolling with the short home favorite in a buy-low spot.
Pick: Virginia Tech -2.5 or better
Stuckey: A Hesitant Play on VaTech
Like Collin, I played Virginia Tech because of the value in the number, but I don’t feel great about it after watching the Hokies’ first three games.
That said, the bye week may have served them well in the injury department, as three key starters who went down in the opener against Boston College may be back. Starting defensive end TyJuan Garbutt could return, which would certainly help the defense. And more importantly, the offensive line, which has seen three different sets of starters in three games (never good for an O-line) may get two starters back in T.J. Jackson and Zachariah Hoyt.
As a result of the injuries and some other factors, the Hokies had been forced to play three freshmen along the offensive line the past two games and it has been a nightmare.
Pick: Virginia Tech -2.5 or better