Vegas College Football Odds & Predictions: Virginia Tech vs Pittsburgh

We might finally get some clarity in the ACC Coastal Division race this week when the Pittsburgh Panthers visit the Virginia Tech Hokies in a battle of former Big East rivals. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 EST on Saturday, November 23 at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Virginia. Fans can catch all of the action on ESPN2.

The Week 13 college football odds list the Hokies as 4-point favorites at home. The game also has an over/under that’s set at 46.5 points.

Virginia Tech vs Pittsburgh Vegas Odds & Game Preview

Pitt stumbled early in the season, but they have quietly become one of the most consistent teams in the ACC. The Panthers have won six of their last seven games, losing only to Miami during that span. At 7-3, Pitt has already locked up a bowl bid for the fourth time in Pat Narduzzi’s five seasons at the school. They now have their sights set on playing in the ACC Championship Game for the second straight season.

Virginia Tech has had a similar season. Justin Fuente looked to be on the hot seat after a 45-10 loss to Duke that dropped the Hokies to 2-2. But Virginia Tech has responded with five wins in their last six games to extend their epic bowl streak to 26 consecutive seasons. Along the way, the Hokies have also become contenders in the Coastal division.

For Pitt, this is an elimination game in the Coastal Division. The Panthers need to beat Virginia Tech, beat Boston College next week, and then hope that Virginia Tech beats Virginia next week. That’s Pitt’s only path back to the ACC title game as reigning Coastal Division champs. The Hokies, meanwhile, can actually lose to Pitt and still win the Coastal division with a win over Virginia next week. However, such a scenario could potentially create a four-way tie for the top spot in the Coastal Division. If Virginia Tech wins both games, they will secure their first Coastal title since 2016 no questions asked.

As mentioned, there is a fair amount of history between Pitt and Virginia Tech. They met yearly from 1993 to 2003 as members of the Big East with the Hokies winning seven of the 11 meetings. However, they have now met in seven straight seasons with Pitt winning four times, including a 55-22 blowout last year. On the other hand, the Panthers are just 2-6 all-time in Blacksburg.

Free College Football Betting Selection: Virginia Tech -4

I don’t know what happened to the Virginia Tech team we saw the first month of the season, but they’ve been replaced with a team that looks like they belong in a conference championship game. VTU’s only loss in their last six games was a 1-point loss at Notre Dame. Otherwise, they’ve handled their business. In fairness to Pitt, they’ve done a great job of grinding out results. But I think the Virginia Tech team of the last month is a level above them and should be able to cover a 4-point spread at home.

The biggest difference for the Hokies in recent weeks has been their defense. I don’t want to overreact too much to last week’s shutout of Georgia Tech. However, the Tech defense has also held Notre Dame and Wake Forest in check over the past month, particularly when it comes to stopping the run. The front-7 has turned a corner and started to win the battle of the trenches, which makes all the difference in the world this time of year.

Of course, Pitt doesn’t have the potent rushing attack that they’ve had in recent years. Instead, they’re putting games in the hands of quarterback Kenny Pickett and top-flight wide receivers, Taysir Mack and Maurice Ffrench. However, Pickett isn’t always convincing, especially against some of the better defensive teams the Panthers have played. Against Virginia Tech, the Panthers might not get anything out of their running game, perhaps putting a little too much on Pickett’s shoulders.

On the offensive side of the ball for Virginia Tech, the team’s turnaround has been sparked by Hendon Hooker becoming the starting quarterback. The overall numbers aren’t eye-catching, but Hooker has thrown eight touchdowns and no interceptions this season. He’s also averaging better than 10 yards per pass, which means the Hokies are creating explosive plays in the passing game. Virginia Tech also has a stable rushing attack that’s been helped by both Hooker and backup quarterback Quincy Patterson, who both give defenses a running threat at the quarterback position.

The results speak for themselves with the Hokies averaging over 36 points per game over their last six games. That stretch includes three games in which Virginia Tech has topped 40 points. The Panthers, on the other hand, are averaging just 22 points on the season and have broken the 30-point barrier just three times in 10 games. 

If the Hokies can force a high-scoring game, they should have no problem winning and covering the spread. I’m not saying that will be easy against a solid Pitt defense. But the Panthers have been vulnerable against good quarterbacks and have been known to give up big plays in the passing game. I don’t see Pitt scoring many points in this game, giving the Hokies plenty of time to hit on some explosive plays and gain the separation they need to cover the 4-point spread.

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