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North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Virginia Tech Hokies Odds & Game Pick (2021)

by August 31, 2021
Sam Howell

Today’s season is a bit different. While we’re used to seeing plenty of non-conference matchups, we’ve also been blessed with plenty of conference games early on this season. In Week 0, there was a Big 10 matchup between Illinois and Nebraska. Now to kick off Week 1, we’ll get an ACC battle between North Carolina and Virginia Tech.

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook

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Details

  • Opening Lines: North Carolina -6.5; O/U 67
  • Current ATS Line: North Carolina -5.5
  • Current Over/Under: 64
  • Location: Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA
  • Date: Friday, Sept. 3, 2021
  • Start Time: 6 p.m. EST
  • Television: ESPN
  • Last Meeting: North Carolina defeated Virginia Tech 65-45 for their third win of the season.
SPREAD O/U MONEY
-5.5
-110
o 64.5
-110
-230
+5.5
-110
u 64.5
-110
+175
Friday 6:00 PM EDT – ESPN | Lane Stadium

Overview

This season, there are high expectations for North Carolina after a 7-3 conference record and an 8-4 overall record in 2020. The Tar Heels offense will continue to be elite as long as Sam Howell is under center. Howell threw for 3,586 yards last season along with 30 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.  He torched Virginia Tech last season for 257 yards passing while completing 78.3 percent of his passes. He also threw for three touchdowns and no interceptions in the win while only being sacked once.

On the other hand, Virginia Tech will lose some pieces upfront, but they’ll have a couple of quality players returning to the roster. The Hokies allowed 32.1 points per game, which was near 82nd in the nation. That’s not going to cut it, especially against North Carolina.

The Tar Heels will lose a lot of their positional players from last year, but as long as Howell is under center, everyone gets better around him. On the defensive end, they’ll return many veterans in the secondary, and the front seven should be able to put pressure on quarterbacks this season. The consensus is that UNC might actually be better on defense this year, and that’s why we saw some line movement on the total.

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Trends

  1.  Over is 6-0-1 in Hokies last 7 games as an underdog of 3.5-10.0.
  2.  Hokies are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games as a home underdog of 10.5 or greater.
  3.  Hokies are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games as a home underdog.

Line Movement  

*Line movement analysis based on the DonBest Las Vegas betting market ticker*

The opening line for this game was -6.5 in favor of North Carolina. That has since dropped a point to -5.5, with sharp money coming in on Virginia Tech at home.

On the other hand, the total has decreased by a field goal from 67 to 64. There’s optimism that both defenses will improve this season. In theory, all sharp bettors believe we’ll see more defense this year as a whole, with teams getting more practice before the regular season.

Prediction

Virginia Tech allowed 6.19 yards per offensive play last season on defense. They struggled to stop the run and allowed 24 touchdowns on 406 carries with 1996 yards. That’s 4.92 yards per carry. Meanwhile, the offense for Virginia Tech was really good as well, scoring 27 touchdowns on the ground and 19 in the air.

The Virginia Tech secondary gave up 2926 yards in the air along with 19 touchdowns. A lot of teams dropped back a ton against this defense, and it worked out. Sam Howell is returning, and that’s big news, but it’s hard to know exactly what North Carolina has with their offense. Wideout Dazz Newsome is now with the Chicago Bears while Dyami Brown plays for the Washington Football Team.

Javonte Williams and Michael Carter will also play in the NFL this season, leaving UNC with Tennessee transfer Ty Chandler at running back and a bunch of hopefuls at wideout.

On the other hand, Virginia Tech’s offense was never a problem last year. It was the defense that struggled the most. Braxton Burmeister showed flashes last year and threw for 687 yards in five games while also rushing for four yards a carry. Don’t be surprised if Virginia Tech’s offense has a good day against the UNC defense as well.

The pressure is on UNC right out of the gate. They’re expecting to meet with Clemson in the ACC Championship. A game on the road against a sneaky good offensive team in Virginia Tech could be a disaster in the making. In a tight contest, I still like this game to get over the total. We’ve got two veteran quarterbacks starting in this one, and that should help reach the total. There are question marks with UNC and their playmakers, but they’ll be developed and ready to go.

Pick: Over 64 (-110 at DraftKings)

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Jason Radowitz is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Jason, check out his archive and follow him @Jason_Radowitz.

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