Virginia Tech vs West Virginia Odds, Picks, Preview: The Spread Bet to Make for Thursday’s College Football Showdown
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images. Pictured: Virginia Tech linebacker Dax Hollifield.
Virginia Tech vs West Virginia Odds
|Virginia Tech Odds|
-110o / -110u
|West Virginia Odds|
-110o / -110u
West Virginia makes the short trip to Blacksburg on Thursday to take on Virginia Tech.
The Mountaineers have gotten off to an abysmal start in 2022. They lost a thriller against Pitt to open their season and followed that up with an overtime loss to Kansas as 14-point favorites.
Neal Brown had to replace a lot of production from last year's team, so it's going to take some time for West Virginia to reach its full potential.
Virginia Tech had a horrible opening night loss at in-state foe Old Dominion but has rebounded, beating Boston College and Wofford while giving up a combined 17 points.
It's the first season under former Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry, and much like Brown, had a lot of production to replace. That raises the question: Should the Hokies really be underdogs at home against the Mountaineers?
There are a lot of new faces on the offensive side of the ball for Virginia Tech, and it's started to get better from the disaster against Old Dominion on opening week.
Grant Wells transferred in from Marshall and has struggled so far outside of his last game against Wofford.
Wells is a very aggressive quarterback who has a big arm and loves to take shots down the field. But he often makes a lot of mistakes. In his two seasons at Marshall, he had 54 big-time throws compared to 36 turnover-worthy plays.
He's now learning a new system under former Penn State co-offensive coordinator Tyler Bowen.
Grant Wells got it done for the #Hokies 💪
— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) September 17, 2022
Virginia Tech lost all of its top skill position players from last season and didn't add anyone significant from the transfer portal to replace them.
So far, Virginia Tech has struggled running the ball, averaging only 3.7 yards per carry while ranking 119th in Rushing Success Rate, and 99th EPA/Rush.
The problem is the offensive line is getting worked up front because Virginia Tech gains just 2.56 yards before contact, which puts it 119th in Offensive Line Yards and 125th in terms of run-blocking grade, per PFF.
With its struggles on the ground, Pry will likely put the game in Wells' hands.
Pry has the Virginia Tech defense working really well in a new system through three games. Virginia Tech ranks fifth in the country in Success Rate Allowed, eighth in EPA/Play Allowed and 20th in havoc.
Virginia Tech's front seven has five starters back and allowed only 1.4 yards per carry to Old Dominion and Boston College. The Hokies are also second in Stuff Rate and third in Defensive Line Yards.
West Virginia's rushing attack — which was not effective against Kansas — is going to find it even harder to establish the run against the Hokies.
Virginia Tech's secondary returned three starters from last season and hasn't allowed anything through the air to opposing quarterbacks.
The Hokies are the top team in the country through three weeks in Passing Success Rate Allowed. They're also eighth in EPA/Pass Allowed and have given up only 4.6 yards per pass attempt. So, it's hard to see how Daniels is going to light up Pry's new defense.
J.T. Daniels really hasn't played that well in his first three games for the Mountaineers.
His PFF passing grade sits at just 72.1, he's averaging only 7.2 yards per attempt, and he has four big-time throws compared to four turnover-worthy plays against Pitt, Kansas and Towson.
Bryce Ford-Wheaton has become the go-to receiver for Daniels, commanding 35.6% of the targets. He already has 296 receiving yards and four touchdowns with an 84.1 PFF receiving grade.
Bryce Ford-Wheaton AGAIN[ We are all tied at 24 in the Backyard Brawl 🗣 pic.twitter.com/lzDJthTev2
— 247Sports (@247Sports) September 2, 2022
The rushing attack looked great against a really good Pitt front seven but then gained just 3.8 yards per carry against Kansas in Week 2. This is also a rushing attack that lost its top back in Leddy Brown and ranked 78th in EPA/Rush a season ago.
West Virginia does have its entire offensive line back, but through three games, it ranks 45th in Offensive Line Yards and 91st in Havoc Allowed.
West Virginia brought back only four starters on the defensive side of the ball. Two of those four starters reside on the defensive line in Dante Stills and Taijh Alston, who combined for 12 sacks and 14 tackles for loss in 2021.
Stills already has 2.5 sacks, but West Virginia ranks 90th in Defensive Line Yards and 89th in Havoc.
The WVU linebacking corps got completely gutted after last season, losing its top six tacklers. It was very evident how inexperienced it was against both Pitt and Kansas, as the Panthers and Jayhawks gashed it for 6.1 yards per play.
The Mountaineers had just one starter return in the secondary and added two FCS transfers to help fill the void. But it hasn't been working out thus far.
The unit allowed a whopping 9.9 yards per attempt against Pitt and Kansas. It ranks 113th in EPA/Pass allowed, 83rd in Passing Success Rate Allowed and 108th in terms of coverage grade, per PFF.
So, even Grant Wells could have a field day against 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:
West Virginia Offense vs. Virginia Tech Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Virginia Tech Offense vs. West Virginia Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||56||18|
|Seconds per Play||24.4 (29)||27.0 (81)|
|Rush Rate||49.2% (92)||55.8% (56)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
Virginia Tech vs West Virginia Betting Pick
Even though the Virginia Tech offense hasn't gotten going yet, this West Virginia defense hasn't shown the ability to stop a Power Five offense.
On the flip side, Pry has the Virginia Tech defense looking like one of the best in the ACC this season. I don't think the Hokies should be underdogs tonight at Lane Stadium — one of the toughest places to play a night game in college football.
I have the Hokies projected as a -0.8 favorite at home, so I think there's a little bit of value in taking the Hokies at +1.5.