|Miami Odds||+2 [BET NOW]|
|Virginia Tech Odds||-2 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-103/-120 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||67.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 12 p.m. ET|
The Case For Miami
Welcome back, D’Eriq King. After a lost season in Houston, it’s great to see one of college football’s great talents thriving in Miami. As a passer, King is averaging 8.2 yards per attempt and has thrown 16 touchdowns to only four interceptions.
Oh, yeah. This is also a man who, in high school, clocked a 10.15-second 100-meter dash. King’s elusiveness might be needed against a Virginia Tech defense that ranks top-20 in FBS in sack percentage. He has shown the ability to make plays when things start to break down, so I don’t see this being a major concern.
The guys from Blacksburg haven’t shown the ability to handle a dual-threat quarterback nor the spread offense. Louisville averaged 8.43 yards per play against them, and QB Malik Cunningham accounted for almost 400 yards (350 passing and 47 rushing) himself. Off of that futile defensive performance, the Hokies came out the next week and allowed 38 points to the Liberty Flames of the Big South Conference.
Now they have to deal with King and the big-play Hurricanes? Good luck.
The Case For Virginia Tech
It is very easy to look at this line and be confused. Miami is ranked No. 9 in the country and is 6-1 on the season. Virginia Tech is unranked with a record of 4-3 this season and just lost to Liberty. Yet, Virginia Tech is the favorite. But that is why I love the Hokies so much this week. This line is confusing to mere mortals like you and me, but the wizards in Las Vegas are smarter than us. They know Virginia Tech is actually the better team.
Yes, D’Eriq King looked terrific last week. In fact, Pro Football Focus gave him the second-highest quarterback grade for Week 10 behind only Justin Fields. Well, do you want to know who was right behind him at No. 3? Hendon Hooker.
King is a very dangerous dual-threat quarterback, but Virginia Tech has one of its own. King is completing 63.8% of his passes this season for 8.2 yards per attempt and a 152.50 rating. Hooker is completing 66.3% of his passes for 8.9 yards per attempt and a 158.36 rating.
I am willing to concede, however, that King is a better passer than Hooker, but I think it’s closer than people realize. Where Hooker clearly has an advantage is with his legs. In seven games this year, King has rushed for 406 yards, 4.95 per carry and two touchdowns. In just five games this year, Hooker has scampered for 515 yards, 6.28 per carry and eight scores.
Hooker also has one big thing that King does not: Khalil Herbert. The Hokies running back is questionable for this game after tweaking his hamstring last week, but if he plays, he is the key for the Virginia Tech offense. Herbert ranks fourth in the country with 803 rushing yards and is averaging an incredible 8.36 yards per carry.
The Hokies rank third in the country in Rushing Success on offense and should be able to run all over the Canes defense that ranks 67th in Rushing Success Rate.
Miami Secondary Argument
DeCardano: Mike makes a great point in regard to the puzzling line. That is definitely cause for concern for any Miami backer.
I like one of his other points a lot better, though: Miami has the more talented dual-threat quarterback. Give me the guy who can throw, especially in a game that will probably see a lot of points being scored (the total is at 67.5 at DraftKings as of writing). I don’t see Hooker and the Hokies being able to keep pace against a Miami defense that is respectable against the run (4.1 yards per carry against).
Virginia Tech Counterargument
Ianniello: I agree with Ace in that this game will feature a lot of points. Both of these defenses struggle. So, wouldn’t you rather back the better offense?
SP+ ranked the Virginia Tech offense No. 10 in the nation compared to Miami, which sits at No. 39. The Hokies are averaging more points per game, more yards per game, and rank 16th in the country with 7.0 yards per play — a full yard more than Miami. If this is going to be a high-scoring thriller, I’ll take the better offense.
DeCardano: We can go back-and-forth all day arguing the offensive side of the ball. However, Mike is selling the Hurricane defense short while ignoring the fact the Hokies give up yards like it’s their job. Virginia Tech allows 7.8 yards per opponent pass attempt (80th in FBS) and 5.1 yards per opponent’s rush (99th). This must have first-year Miami offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee licking his chops.
Meanwhile, The U has the 22nd-ranked defense in terms of SP+ and actually has the advantage on special teams (second in FBS according to SP+). Once upon a time, that would have been unthinkable. However, it’s true now. Led by kicker Jose Borregales (92.9% field goal conversion rate) and punter Lou Hedley (46.3 yards per punt), the Hurricanes should also win the “hidden” stats.
Virginia Tech Rejoinder
Ianniello: Yes, the defensive numbers for the Hokies aren’t great. But they are a little misleading, as the Virginia Tech defense has been decimated by COVID-19 this season. The Hokies were missing more than 20 players in their first two games and more than 15 in their next two. They have barely been able to practice as a full unit this entire season, and those numbers will improve as they get more reps together.
Now, if Ace wants to talk about the “hidden” yards… only six teams in the entire country have taken more penalties than the Hurricanes. Miami is giving teams more than 75 extra yards per game in penalty yards. In a game projected to be close, a bad penalty to extend a drive could make all the difference.
DeCardano: Miami is bringing the better quarterback, defense, and special teams to Blacksburg. Take the Hurricanes +2.
Ianniello: Since Justin Fuente took over as head coach in 2016, Virginia Tech is 14-5 after a loss. Vegas knows it’s the better team. Take the Hokies -1.5.