Virginia Tech vs. West Virginia Betting Odds & College Football Pick: Explosive Plays to be Difference in Rivalry Game

Virginia Tech vs. West Virginia Betting Odds & College Football Pick: Explosive Plays to be Difference in Rivalry Game article feature image
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Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Leddie Brown.

Virginia Tech vs. West Virginia Odds

Saturday, Sept. 18
12 p.m. ET
FS1
Virginia Tech Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+1.5
-105
49.5
-110o / -110u
+110
West Virginia Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-1.5
-115
49.5
-110o / -110u
-130
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Blacksburg and Morgantown — two of the more iconic college towns in America — are separated by 250 miles.

As a result, the Hokies will be making a much shorter trek to visit the Mountaineers, when compared to WVU’s Big 12 counterparts. This is a very intriguing nonconference matchup between two programs in the midst of pivotal years.


Virginia Tech Hokies

Very few coaches entered 2021 with a warmer seat than Justin Fuente.

Fuente has just been unable to take a big leap during his time as the head man for the Hokies. That said, this season has gotten off to an encouraging start.

In its opener, Virginia Tech upset No. 10 North Carolina, in large part due to a stellar defensive performance.

Last week, the Hokies cruised to a 35-14 win over Middle Tennessee State, and they now head to Morgantown with a chance to really turn some heads.


Hokies Offense

The Hokie offense was hit with some disappointing news following the win over MTSU, as it was announced that tight end James Mitchell will be lost for the year with a knee injury. Mitchell was one of the top targets for quarterback Braxton Burmeister, so this loss should not be understated.

Speaking of Burmeister, the redshirt junior has played some really solid football to start the year, which is a welcomed sight for VT fans.

This offense lacks some big-play ability, but as long as Burmeister can continue to take care of the ball and make the high-percentage throws, Tech can be in a lot of games with its defense.


Hokies Defense

The Hokies’ defensive unit is the anchor of this team, and as touched on earlier, has been very strong to start the year.

Virginia Tech sacked Sam Howell six times in the opener and forced three turnovers.

There are playmakers at every level of this defense, but most notably in the secondary, with Nasir Peoples and Jermaine Waller leading the way.

If there’s an area to attack this defense, it would be on the ground, as North Carolina found some success rushing the ball against Tech.  I expect running back Leddie Brown to be a big part of the WVU game plan.

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West Virginia Mountaineers

The third year of the Neal Brown era in Morgantown started with a lot of promise after an encouraging 2020 campaign.

West Virginia let its opener with Maryland slip away and now really needs this game to avoid suffering two nonconference losses. A win over Virginia Tech could give the Mountaineers a nice boost heading into Big 12 play, where they begin with a trip to Norman to take to on Oklahoma.

Defense has been the hallmark of Brown’s teams thus far in his tenure, but an offensive uptick is necessary for this team to take the next step in 2021.


Mountaineers Offense

West Virginia turned the ball over four times against Maryland, with senior quarterback Jarret Doege accounting for two of them in the form of interceptions.

The Mountaineers actually moved the ball pretty well in that game, but any time you lose the turnover battle, 4-0, it’s going to be really tough to overcome.

It’s hard to put too much stock in the 66 points WVU put up against dreadful FCS opponent LIU, but I do believe this offense has the weapons to make a big jump this season.

The Hokie defense will be a very good litmus test of where this group is at with Big 12 play on the horizon.


Mountaineers Defense

The Mountaineer defense was a top-20 unit nationally a year ago and the second-best in the conference behind Iowa State.

West Virginia welcomed back Akheem Mesidor, who was a Freshman All-American, and Sean Mahone is a really experienced safety in the secondary.

That said, this defense did lose a lot from last season, and Taulia Tagovailoa had a big day through the air in the opener, going for 332 yards and three touchdowns.

What I like about this defense in the matchup against VT is the Mountaineers are strong against the run, and they rank third nationally in avoiding big plays.

Expect WVU to make Burmeister really work on every drive and keep the ball in front of them.


Virginia Tech vs. West Virginia Matchup Analysis

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

Virginia Tech Offense vs. West Virginia Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success 21 22
Line Yards 121 12
Pass Success 25 63
Pass Blocking* 24 119
Big Play 85 3
Havoc 51 28
Finishing Drives 89 19
* Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

West Virginia Offense vs. Virginia Tech Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success 49 105
Line Yards 93 127
Pass Success 36 25
Pass Blocking* 41 73
Big Play 17 102
Havoc 58 4
Finishing Drives 38 19
* Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 29 27
PFF Coverage 60 89
Middle 8 44 5
SP+ Special Teams 45 75
Plays per Minute 118 47
Rush Rate 63.6% (25) 51.4% (82)

Data via College Football Data (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF & SportSource Analytics.


Virginia Tech vs. West Virginia Betting Pick

I am really looking forward to watching a good old-fashioned slugfest between two fanbases that don’t really like each other. Both teams will play physically, and the turnover battle will loom large.

I think the difference in this game comes down to explosive plays.

Doege has the ability to stretch the ball down the field for this Mountaineer offense, and Brown can break a long run at any moment. West Virginia knows four turnovers cost them against Maryland, and there will be an added emphasis on taking care of the football.

On the other side of the ball, I just don’t see anything coming easy for the Hokie offense. Mitchell is a big loss at tight end, giving Burmeister one less option to look for.

The Mountaineers should have the edge in the trenches, making it very difficult for VT to have much success on the ground.

West Virginia has not beaten Virginia Tech since 2003, and you better believe the raucous crowd at Milan Puskar Stadium knows that.

The Black Diamond Trophy is heading back to Morgantown. I thought about taking the ML at  (-140) and certainly don’t hate that play, but I feel comfortable laying the 2.5 points in this spot.

Pick: West Virginia -2.5

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