Virginia Tech Produces First Major Betting Upset of the College Football Season

Virginia Tech Background And Football Helmet

  • The Virginia Tech Hokies defeated the North Carolina Tar Heels on Friday in the first big betting upset of the 2021 College Football season.
  • Virginia Tech entered the game as six-point underdogs and the Tar Heels as -270 moneyline favorites.
  • The Hokies shut down UNC QB Sam Howell who had the 5th best odds to win the Heisman Trophy at +1100.

The Virginia Hokies produced the first major upset in the College Football season, taking down the 10th ranked University of North Carolina Tar Heels in the opening game of the ACC conference on Friday.

Expectations were high for a North Carolina team that was fresh off an appearance at the Orange Bowl. With Heisman Trophy candidate QB Sam Howell leading the charge.

But even before kick-off, it was clear the UNC was in for a rough night at Blacksburg, with a full-capacity stadium rocking to Metallica’s Enter Sandman as the Hokies entered Lane Stadium:

First Upset of the CFB Season

North Carolina entered the game as the no. 10 ranked team in college football. They were 6-point betting favorites at the spread line and a -225 at the Moneyline. The Tar Heels also had the second-best odds to win the ACC at +1200 and are favored to win the ACC Coastal Division at +170 at the best college football betting sites.

Virginia Tech meanwhile, was coming off a 5-6 season where they finished 6th in the ACC. The Hokies also had not beaten an AP Top 10 team since 2009 and their first win over such opponent with Frank Beamer not as head coach since 1964 against no. 10 Florida State. VT was also just 5-15 ATS in their last 20 games against Top 10 teams.

Bettors hammered North Carolina’s odds with 79% of the betting tickets and 91% of the betting handle were made on UNC. But Virginia Tech proved them and the oddsmakers wrong, beating the Tar Heels 17-10, not only taking the Moneyline win but also cashing in at the spread betting.

The low-scoring game also meant that the under cashed out. The game’s total was set at 64 points considering that North Carolina averaged 41.7 points per game and 537.5 yards per outing last season. But although they outgained Virginia Tech by 47 total yards, the Tar Heels amassed only 357 total yards and the Hokie’s defense shut down the Tar Heels and their Heisman Trophy candidate.

Virginia Tech Defense Devours Heisman Trophy Betting Favorite

Defense was the key to the win as the Hokies pitched a shutout in the first half. They forced the Tar Heels to punt on their first three possessions and run out the clock on their final drive of the second quarter. Virginia Tech also dominated the time of possession, holding the ball for over 20 minutes in the opening half while feeding off a raucous crowd.

Virginia Tech also shut down Heisman Trophy hopeful Sam Howell who was coming off a season where he racked up 3,586 passing yards with 30 touchdowns.

Howell was listed at +1100 to win the Heisman at online sportsbook BetOnline. Only Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler (+500), Alabama’s Bryce Young (+900), and Georgia’s JT Daniels (+1000) had shorter odds than Howell. The UNC QB was tied with Ohio State’s CJ Stroud at 4th spot with Ole Miss’ Matt Corral and D.J. Uiagalelei of Clemson completing the Top 5 odds at +1200.

The Hokies sacked Howell six times for a loss of 35 yards and forced him to throw three interceptions including one with 37 seconds left in regulation that ended UNC’s chance of forcing a tie or win. He finished Friday’s game with 208 passing yards on 17-32 passing, not the kind of performance for a guy who was in the Top 5 in the Heisman Trophy odds boards two days ago.

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Shane Acedera / Author

Shane grew up watching the Magic & Bird rivalry but ended up rooting for Detroit's Bad Boys team in the 1990s NBA. He loves to tell sports stories and has been writing about sports since high school. When Shane isn't busy jotting down his thoughts, he's just chillin' at home with his wife Rocelle and their two dogs named Horry and Fisher. He recently added a new family member, adopting a handsome retired K-9 named Ranger.

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