Notre Dame-Virginia Tech Betting Guide: New Quarterbacks Face Tough Tests
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Ian Book
Notre Dame-Virginia Tech Betting Pick, Odds
- Line: Notre Dame -6.5
- Over/Under: 55
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: ABC
>> All odds as of 7 a.m. ET on Saturday. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and track your bets.
Notre Dame is in the driver’s seat to reach the College Football Playoff. You think the committee leaves out a 12-0 Irish team? Think again.
Considering how Notre Dame’s future opponents have fallen short of expectations this season — Florida State and USC chief among them — Virginia Tech poses the biggest threat on the Irish’s schedule. That’s not to say the Trojans won’t improve and knock off their rival in the season’s final week, but a Notre Dame win in Blacksburg on Saturday night will put the Irish in a great spot.
Both teams have new quarterbacks who have elevated the offenses, but both are also facing by far their toughest tests yet.
Market Moves for Notre Dame-Virginia Tech
Following their big win over Stanford last weekend, the Irish have drawn 69% of bettors and 66% of money this week. As a result, their line has moved from -4.5 to -7.
Trends to Know
By Evan Abrams
Hokies head coach Justin Fuente entered this season 0-8 straight up and 2-5-1 against the spread vs. undefeated teams in his career (Virginia Tech and Memphis).
Against Duke last week, Fuente broke that streak. Can he make it two weeks in a row?
By John Ewing
Notre Dame looked impressive in its Week 5 win over No. 7 Stanford. The Irish outgained the Cardinal 550 yards to 229 en route to the 38-17 victory.
The Golden Domers are riding high with an undefeated record and the No. 6 ranking in the country.
But this could be the perfect time to fade Notre Dame. Since 2005, ranked teams coming off a top-10 win have been overvalued.
Virginia Tech lost quarterback Josh Jackson (broken leg) for the season two weeks ago, but Ryan Willis looked more than capable in his place.
Willis threw for 332 yards on 17-of-27 passing with three scores and no picks against a quality Duke defense. The former Kansas starter transferred in January of 2017 and sat out last season.
Notre Dame is missing a few players, and none are bigger than left guard Alex Bars, who will miss the rest of the season with a torn MCL and ACL suffered last week. The senior was a preseason All-American and has started 32 career games. He helped anchor a young offensive line that lost two top-10 NFL Draft picks.
Notre Dame’s Offensive Is Alive
Notre Dame’s offense the last two weeks with quarterback Ian Book:
- 6.8 yards per play
- 3.48 points per possession
With Brandon Wimbush this season:
- 5.1 yards per play
- 1.89 points per possession
Notre Dame’s defense has been stellar this season, led by an excellent front four. It ranks fifth in defensive S&P+ and 18th in yards per play against.
Jerry Tillery creates a lot of that with havoc up the middle — he has seven sacks through five games.
But Virginia Tech’s defensive line has been just as good in a lot of ways. The Hokies rank top 10 in stuff rate (carries for 0 yards), opportunity rate (carries for 5 yards) and rushing efficiency. Their offensive line has been above average in those same metrics.
Bet to Watch for Notre Dame-Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech is doing everything possible to make this a hostile environment, asking fans to color the sections of the stands maroon and burnt orange after a pregame unveiling of a Frank Beamer statue. It’s even Frank Beamer mini-statue giveaway night to the first 5,000 fans. “Enter Sandman” by Metallica will fire up at 8 p.m. and Notre Dame will look to keep its playoff hopes alive.
I took Notre Dame -2.5 when it opened and came back on Virginia Tech at +6.
If I didn’t have a wager on the game at this point, I would take Virginia Tech +7 or play this live. Notre Dame has struggled offensively against Ball State and Vanderbilt before moving to Book under center against Wake Forest.
This will be Book’s first game in a hostile environment, and Virginia Tech has not missed a beat since Willis came in for relief for Jackson during the loss to Old Dominion.
The Hokies played to their potential last week against Duke, outgaining the Blue Devils on offense and limiting quarterback Daniel Jones to just 6.5 yards per pass. Duke only managed half the yards Old Dominion did against this Hokies defense.
It’s safe to say we don’t know the ceiling for Ian Book or Willis, as both have led their teams to victory as starters.
Notre Dame beat a tough Stanford team last week, but I’ll look to back the Hokies live or at +7 on Beamer mini-statue night.
Hokies Still Dominate Special Teams
I told this story before on our podcast, but I’ll share it again. Recently during a trip to Naples, Fla., I took an Uber to the bar for the night with Collin and when we got in, we noticed this older gentlemen had a bunch of VT swag hanging from his rearview mirror.
Funny enough, we had just recorded a college football podcast so we naturally asked him if he was a fan. He said his son, a freshman, plays there and was the No. 1 long snapper recruit in the nation. I also learned that only one long snapper gets invited to the combine each year, which could very well be this kid.
What’s the point of this story? It’s that of course the No. 1 long snapper in the country went to VT. The legacy of Beamer Ball lives on.
Virginia Tech for years had the best special teams unit in the country and the team is doing it again this year. Per S&P+, the Hokies rank second overall in special teams. Notre Dame clearly has the more talented roster, but this is a scary situational spot for the Irish in a very hostile environment.
One way that Virginia Tech can neutralize the talent discrepancy is through big plays on special teams, where it will have an advantage on the field.
The other is turnovers. The Hokies have a very opportunistic defense which ranks fifth nationally in turnover margin average per game.
I wanted no part of this game at first glance, but I might just have to take the home dog at +7 or +7.5. If not, as Collin said, live is the way to go.