NCAAF’s week 6 Virginia Tech at North Carolina betting matchup is an interesting one. These two teams have both started off 2-0 and each are ranked in the Top 20. UNC has been at least a two TD favorite in both of their wins against Syracuse and Boston College this season, while the Hokies have also had a relatively easy go of things with victories over NC State and Duke.
Oddsmakers like the home team North Carolina as -3 point favorites for Saturday’s tilt (12:00 PM ET, ABC). These squads are very evenly matched, as evidenced by last year’s meeting needing six OTs to decide the eventual winner, 43-41 Virginia Tech. The Hokies have won the last four in the series, and this meeting should be relatively high scoring with a betting total of 57.
Which Force Prevails Saturday?
The game plan for Virginia Tech is to run the ball on Saturday, as they are 3rd in the country compiling 319.0 ypg on the ground. North Carolina has been especially adept at stopping that phase of opponents though, in fact ranking tops in the nation allowing just 54.0 rushing yards per.
One thing that sticks out about UNC’s vaunted rushing defense is that they’ve put up those numbers in two heavily favored games. Syracuse ran the ball 35 times for 68 in the opener and BC had only 40 yards on 19 attempts last game. Neither of those programs have a back like VT’s Khalil Herbert though. Herbert ran for 208 yards on 20 carries a week ago.
Virginia Tech won last week with QB Braxton Burmeister completing just 9/25 passes. That makes the Hokies offense very one-dimensional, but Justin Fuente’s team is expected to have Hendon Hooker available after missing the last two weeks due to COVID quarantine. The sophomore threw 13 TD to just 2 INT a year ago and is also a Greensboro, NC native.
North Carolina Set to Put on Aerial Show?
Hooker isn’t the only player on Virginia Tech forced to miss games because of COVID restrictions. Their secondary has been hit especially hard with 9 DBs in danger of missing Saturday’s game due to undefined ailments, injury, or suspension.
Being thin in the defensive backfield isn’t an ideal situation when up against Sam Howell in Virginia Tech at North Carolina betting. As a freshman last year Howell threw 35 TD to just 7 INT but has struggled getting out of the gate this season. Howell was just 14/26 last week against Boston College and threw 2 picks in the opener against Syracuse.
To be fair to Howell, last week’s game against Boston College was the first time North Carolina played in almost a month (September 12th) due to COVID scheduling glitches. Because of that long layoff, this Tar Heel team is largely an unknown.
Virginia Tech at North Carolina Betting Free Pick
VT has gone 7-1 in their last 8 at North Carolina. Their four game win streak includes blowout wins in 2016 and 2017, but the last two victories have come by a combined 5 points. VT was a +4.5 underdog at home in last year’s meeting, and were able to get a 2-point win despite a 5 TD, 0 INT day from Howell.
Virginia Tech has had UNC’s number, even last year when the Tar Heels were road favorites in Blacksburg. Getting Hooker back definitely helps the Hokies, but he’s going to be rusty. Howell has shaken off his rust last week after not playing for nearly a month and the depleted secondary is too much for VT to overcome.
Free Pick: UNC -3