The 2011 college football bowl season continues with BCS bowl play this week with the 12th ranked Michigan Wolverines (10-2) of the Big 10 traveling to the Superdome in New Orleans, LA to take on the 11th ranked Virginia Tech Hokies (11-2) of the ACC this Tuesday evening (8:30pm ET) in the Sugar Bowl. Michigan has won their last three games in a row, including a 40-34 win at home over Ohio St. in their storied rivalry to end the season, where they failed to cover the 8.5 point line. Virginia Tech snapped a seven game winning-streak with a 38-10 loss to rival Clemson for the second time to conclude the regular season on December 3 in the ACC Title Game in Jacksonville, FL. The Wolverines are 8-4 ATS this season, while the Hokies are 4-9 ATS.
Michigan has featured a run-oriented offense with quarterback Denard Robinson (1,163 rushing yards, 16 TDs) and sophomore running back Fitzgerald Toussaint (1,011 rushing yards, 9 TDs) both running for over 1,000 yards for a unit that ranked 12th nationally with 235.7 rushing yards per game. The UM offense ranked 22nd in the nation in scoring with 34.2 points per contest, while ranking 36th in total offense with 423.1 yards per game. On defense, Michigan ranked 7th nationally in scoring defense with 17.2 PPG allowed and 17th in total defense with 317.6 YPG allowed. The Hokies averaged 28.5 PPG on offense to rank 56th among all FBS teams, and ranked 38th in total offense with 415.8 YPG. The defense, as is a staple with Frank Beamer coached teams, was the strength of this team as well ranking 8th in scoring defense with 17.2 PPG allowed and 14th in total defense with 313.9 YPG surrendered.
Michigan vs. Virginia Tech Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Michigan Wolverines -2.5
@Virginia Tech Hokies +2.5
Over 51 (-110)
Under 51 (-110)
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Michigan vs. Virginia Tech Pick:
Michigan is 9-2 ATS in their last 11 non-conference games, 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games as a favorite but 8-20 in their last 28 games against a team with a winning record. The Hokies are 14-6 ATS in their last 20 games as an underdog, 18-8 ATS in their last 36 games against a team with a winning record and 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games overall. The over is 5-0 in Michigan’s last 5 neutral site games and 10-1 in their last 11 bowl games. The under is 4-0 in Virginia Tech’s last 4 non-conference games and 8-3 in their last 11 games against a team with a winning record. The two teams have had no recent meetings.
This game will feature two of the better defensive teams in the country, with both squads ranking in the top ten nationally in scoring defense. Neither passing game scares anyone, with Michigan ranking 90th in passing offense and Virginia Tech ranking 66th. This will be a game dominated by the running game and tough, hard-nosed defense, and points should be at a premium. The under has come in for the Hokies in each of their last three games and 8 of their 13 games overall, and Michigan had seen the under come in for four straight contests before they went on a scoring binge in their last two games. This game should feature a return to form for both teams, with a low-scoring game being the most likely outcome. With two one-dimensional offenses, the odds favor the defenses here and that is the smart play in this game. Take the under here.