I don’t fully understand why the NCAA scheduled two games at the same time, on competing television networks, when they’re the only games on the board. Maybe a 3:30 kickoff and then a night game? Not that it means much, but just something I pondered for 30 seconds or so. I do have a pick on that other game, so if you’re interested be sure to check it out.
As a warning, I wouldn’t go too heavy on these games just because they are the only on the board. In fact, I don’t like cards with a small sample size. It’s especially important not to go heavy here if you took a beating yesterday. It is a LONG season, and it’s important not to burn through your bankroll in Week 1.
This may be one of the most underrated games of the weekend. The West Virginia Mountaineers and Virginia Tech Hokies will do battle on Sunday night in Maryland at FedEx Field. I don’t really enjoy these neutral field games, I prefer the true college atmosphere on campus, but I understand why they do it.
In the AP polls, West Virginia and Virginia Tech are right next to one another, with West Virginia 22nd and Virginia Tech 21st. I would say that’s just about right for these two schools, who should both finish with respectable records, yet not good enough to play in a top bowl game.
West Virginia had a sneaky good defense a year ago. They are typically a school that was known for offense previously, going back to the Pat White era, but last season the defense was winning games more often than not. The Mountaineers’ defense will be replacing some members of that unit, including the entire front.
They gave up 23.4 points per game a year ago, but I expect that number to go up slightly in 2017. In any event, the Mountaineers should be more settled at the quarterback position with transfer Will Grier. Grier was a hot commodity when he decided to transfer, ultimately choosing to go to West Virginia and leave Florida.
He threw for 10 touchdowns and 3 interceptions as a Gator, before taking a suspension for a banned substance. He faces a tough defense in his first start as a Mountaineer. Virginia Tech should be strong in all facets on defense. Head below for our free college football pick between West Virginia and Virginia Tech.
Virginia Tech Hokies vs. West Virginia Mountaineers Betting Odds:
Virginia Tech -5(-110)
vs. West Virginia +5(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Virginia Tech vs. West Virginia Pick:
If I were to choose one game to watch tonight, it’d be this one in Maryland. This one should have it all, some big plays, defense, and a good finish. While the front needs to be replaced at West Virginia, I expect the backend of the defense to be excellent. Dravon Askew-Henry, along with Kyzir White are going to be making plays in this one. They combine to make quite the pairing back in the secondary. If West Virginia can find just average play from their new defensive line, then the secondary is going to have their way.
Offensively, their success will come down to the offensive line. Grier knows how to play well, but he must have time in the pocket. Of ultimately importance is getting solid play out of the center position. West Virginia says goodbye to their All-American center, Tyler Orlosky. Orlosky was just cut by the Philadelphia Eagles, but they’d be glad to have him back at West Virginia. Virginia Tech is going to have an extremely talented defense this season, perhaps even better than the team who allowed just 343 yards per game a year ago.
The Hokies finished 19th overall on defense. They really shined in the secondary where they gave up only 194 passing yards per game. It should be more of the same for them in 2017, and I like the defense to make an impact right out of the gate against West Virginia. Quarterback Jerod Evans left college only to go undrafted in the draft. Not the wisest move. It leaves redshirt freshman Josh Jackson starting on Sunday. Also gone is Isaiah Ford at receiver. I can see the defenses stealing the show and rising to the occasion in this one. The offenses won’t get boggled up completely, but enough for a pick on the UNDER.
PICK: UNDER 52 (-110)