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Miami vs Virginia Odds, Pick, Prediction: Stout Defenses to Take Over

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Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images. Pictured: Jake Garcia (Miami)

Miami vs Virginia Odds

Saturday, Oct. 29
12:30 p.m. ET
ESPN3
Miami Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-2.5
-114
48.5
-106o / -114u
-142
Virginia Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+2.5
-106
48.5
-106o / -114u
+118
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Miami (FL) and Virginia will face off this weekend in a battle between two head coaches in their first year at their current stops. Both are vying to make a bowl game, but the results for both teams have been disappointing relative to preseason expectations.

This matchup could go a long way towards determining which of these teams may be able to extend their seasons past November.

A key injury on Miami’s side and extreme regression from Virginia’s offense may cause this game to be an old-school defensive battle that you may want to take the under in.


Miami Hurricanes

Hurricanes Offense

Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke — a potential top NFL prospect — suffered an arm injury against Duke last week and is expected to miss a significant amount of time.

Redshirt freshman Jake Garcia will be making his first career start in his place.

Garcia has appeared in four games this season. He has 462 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions in his 49 pass attempts so far. Garcia is averaging 0.05 EPA per drop back, which is less than the 0.12 EPA per drop back than Van Dyke was averaging this year.

Between this injury and the roller coaster that has been Miami football this season, the Hurricanes are one of the toughest teams to handicap in the country. 

Last weekend, Miami had eight turnovers against Duke, which is the most by a Power Five school since 2008. In this game, Garcia went 12-of-20 passing and averaged -0.20 EPA per drop back against a poor Duke defense.

Miami ranks 10th in the nation in Offensive Success Rate. The Canes are 27th through the air, but an impressive sixth-best on the ground.

However, their rushing attack does lack big-play ability, as they are 86th in EPA per rush and 128th in Rushing Explosiveness.

Hurricanes Defense

As has been typical of this program, this Miami defense is talented, but has not fully lived up to its billing.

The Hurricanes do rank 21st in Defensive Success Rate this season, but are ranked just 53rd by SP+, likely due to their strength of schedule.

Even with their easy schedule, you do have to respect how the defense has played so far this season. It ranks 14th in PFF defensive grade, 13th in coverage grade, 12th in pass rush grade and 30th in run defense grade.

This has been a well-rounded unit, and the Canes will face another weak offense that they should be able to handle in Virginia.


Virginia Cavaliers

Cavaliers Offense

Offense has not been the strong suit of this Virginia team. Quarterback Brennan Armstrong has appeared to take a big step back under new head coach Tony Elliott. 

Armstrong is averaging a dismal -0.24 EPA per drop back this season and just a 36% Success Rate on his throws. He is tied for 83rd of 86 quarterbacks that have played at least 50% of their teams passing snaps in PFF passing grade.

This would be the lowest grade of his career, as Armstrong actually had a 90.3 passing grade last season, which was sixth-best in the country.

For whatever reason, Virginia has floundered on offense this year. Part of this drop off in play is likely related to how putrid the offensive line has been. The Cavaliers’ offensive line ranks 127th in the country in PFF pass blocking grade.

Virginia ranks 98th in Offensive Success Rate and 113th in Passing Success Rate. SP+ ranks this as the 86th-best offense in the country.

Since Miami possesses a talented defense that has performed well for much of this season, Virginia may have its hands full once against.

For Virginia to have a chance at putting many points on the board, it will need Armstrong to stay clean in the pocket and revert back to his 2021 form.

Cavaliers Defense

Virginia’s defense has kept it afloat this season, leading it to a 3-4 record. The Cavaliers rank 22nd in Defensive Success Rate and are best against the run, ranking 11th in both Success Rate and EPA per rush.

The Hoos have the ninth-best PFF coverage grade and fourth-best tackling grade in the country. They are fifth-best in the country at limiting explosive pass plays and eighth-best overall.

They haven’t faced many good offenses this season, so these numbers may be a bit inflated. However, against a quarterback in his first career start and a team that lacks explosiveness on offense, I think that this Virginia defense should be able to keep Mario Cristobal’s offense in check.

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Miami vs Virginia Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Miami and Virginia match up statistically:

Miami Offense vs. Virginia Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 3 28
Line Yards 62 101
Pass Success 44 53
Pass Blocking** 68 86
Havoc 61 79
Finishing Drives 80 47
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Virginia Offense vs. Miami Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 84 17
Line Yards 51 49
Pass Success 110 21
Pass Blocking** 127 14
Havoc 110 22
Finishing Drives 126 49
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 118 1
PFF Coverage 14 8
SP+ Special Teams 18 124
Seconds per Play 25.1 (35) 24.7 (31)
Rush Rate 46.2% (108) 48.4% (95)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Miami vs Virginia Betting Pick

Miami’s defensive talent and pass rush will likely prove to be too much to handle for this terrible Virginia offensive line.

I expect Armstrong to have a rough day at the office, and Virginia will struggle to put too many points on the scoreboard.

The Virginia defense has been solid for much of the year and will take on a quarterback in his first career start in Garcia. This is a tough situation for Garcia to step into, and I think that Virginia will be able to suppress Miami’s scoring, as well.

The situation sets up well here for us to see an under between these two conference foes, as they both battle for a shot at a bowl game. With two stout defenses and bad offenses, I wouldn’t recommend having this game on a main screen on Saturday.

This line would have been higher with Van Dyke playing, but it still has not gone low enough. I would bet the under at 48.5 points on this one, which can currently be found at FanDuel.

I would take this down to 46.5 points.

Pick: Under 48.5 (Play to 46.5)

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