The top Thursday night (8:00pm ET) game for week 12 of the 2011 college football season features two Mid-American Conference contenders with the North Carolina Tar Heels (6-4) traveling to Blacksburg, VA to take on the 7th ranked Virginia Tech Hokies (7-3). The Tar Heels have lost three of their last four games, including a 13-0 shutout loss to NC State on the road in their last contest on November 5, in which they were favored by 3.5 points going in. Virginia Tech carries a five-game winning streak into this contest; they smoked Georgia Tech last Saturday on the road by a score of 37-26 to cover the 2 point line. North Carolina is 4-6 ATS this season, while Virginia Tech is 3-7 ATS.
The Tar Heels feature a balanced offensive attack that averages 28.2 points per game (60th among FBS teams) and 389.3 yards per game (62nd in the nation) with efficient sophomore quarterback Bryn Renner leading the unit. Renner is questionable for Thursday night’s game and is still recovering from a concussion. On defense, UNC ranks 47th in scoring defense with 23.7 PPG allowed and 42nd in total defense with 356.4 YPG allowed. Virginia Tech averages 29.9 PPG (48th nationally) and 432.5 YPG (35th nationally) employing primarily a ground-based attack led by junior tailback David Wilson (1,364 rushing yards and 7 TDs). The Hokie defense is the strength of the team, ranking 9th nationally with 16.5 PPG allowed and 11th in total defense with 302.5 YPG allowed.
North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
North Carolina Tar Heels +10.5
@Virginia Tech Hokies -10.5
Over 47 (-110)
Under 47 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bodog.com <- giving 10% of 1st deposit up to $1000 FREE
North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech Pick:
North Carolina is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games against a team with a winning record and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall. Virginia Tech is 42-19 ATS in their last 61 ACC games and 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games as a favorite. The over is 4-1 in UNC’s last 5 games as an underdog and 4-1 in their last 5 ACC games. The over is 3-1-1 in the Hokies’ last 5 games overall and 3-1-1 in their last 5 games as a favorite. In head-to-head play, the under is 4-0 in their last 4 meetings and the road team is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 meetings. Virginia Tech has won six of the last 7 meetings against UNC straight up, including last season by a score of 26-10 in Chapel Hill to cover a 3 point line.
The Tar Heels have been vulnerable in the secondary, allowing 248.1 YPG through the air (90th among FBS teams) and that could be an area that the Hokies attack with QB Logan Thomas (2,143 yards passing, 14TDs, 7 INTs) stepping up. UNC is tough against the run (108 YPG, 18th in nation) and Virginia Tech’ strength on offense is running the ball, ranking 25th among FBS teams with over 206 YPG on the ground, so that will force Va. Tech to the air more often than normal against a UNC secondary that is among the worst in the nation. UNC does not have a particularly explosive offense, and the Tech defense is a rugged unit that should be tough to score on in the hostile environment in Blacksburg. Expect UNC to struggle offensively as they only managed 165 yards of total offense in their last game against an NC State defense that ranks in the middle-of-the-pack and could be without their starting QB in this game as well. Take Virginia Tech at home to cover the spread.