Russell Athletic Bowl Preview
Friday, December 28th
Russell Athletic Bowl - Citrus Bowl Stadium Orlando, FL 5:30 PM ET
Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. Virginia Tech Hokies (-2.5/41)
How Rutgers got here
After opening the season a perfect 7-0 including 3-0 in the Big East, Rutgers certainly had visions of a conference championship. A loss to Kent St. stopped the unbeaten streak but the Scarlet Knights bounced back with a win at Cincinnati and it was in the driver's seat as the conference champion would likely come down to the season finale at home against Louisville. Unfortunately for Rutgers it got thumped at Pittsburgh and then followed that up with a loss to the Cardinals to give Louisville the BCS Bowl bid. This is not the bowl game it was hoping for but at least it is in a warm weather area against a quality opponent. Rutgers has won its last five bowl games, including a 27-13 victory over Iowa St. in last year's Pinstripe Bowl.
How Virginia Tech got here
To say it was a disappointing season at Virginia Tech would be an understatement. After eight straight season's of double-digit wins and coming into this year as favorites in the ACC Coastal Division, the Hokies slipped to a 6-6 record. They had to scramble just to get bowl eligible as the Hokies had to win their final two games to get the needed six victories. Four of Virginia Tech's six losses were by double digits so the .500 record really is a true indication of how the season went. The Hokies do have the momentum of closing the regular season with two straight wins and facing the worst season in two decades, pride will be on the line here as none of these players want to end with a less than .500 record.
Despite going 3-3 in its last six games, Virginia Tech outgained all six opponents while Rutgers outgained just three of its last seven opponents.
With two solid defenses and scoring offenses that are not very potent, points could be at a premium here. Rutgers quietly put together the fourth ranked scoring defense in the nation, allowing just 14.25 ppg although it definitely leaked some oil down the stretch. The Hokies hope to take advantage of a Scarlet Knights rushing defense that allowed 149.2 ypg in their last six games after allowing just 60.8 ypg in their first six games. Conversely, the Hokies have yielded an average of only 82.7 rushing ypg in the last six games since allowing 339 rushing yards to North Carolina. Virginia Tech's passing defense is solid despite allowing game-winning touchdowns in the final minute of losses to Cincinnati and Florida St. Rutgers quarteback Gary Nova has been turnover-prone with 11 interceptions in his last five games.
Virginia Tech is 3-13 ATS in its last 16 games following a win and 1-8 ATS in its last nine games after allowing 14 or fewer points last game.
Rutgers is 9-2 to the under in its last 11 games as an underdog and Virginia Tech is 15-4 to the under in its last 19 games in the second half of the season.
- AAA Sports
- May 22, 2015 - 8:30 PM
- Offered at:
- top bet @ -1 -105 Atlanta
1* Free Play Atlanta Hawks.
I released a free play on the Hawks in Game 1, who looked fantastic in the first half, only to fall apart and implode in the second. It obviously goes without saying that Atlanta can pretty much kiss its championship hopes goodbye if it falls into a 2-0 hole heading back to Cleveland. So in a do-or-die game like this, I think the No. 1 seed is going to find a way to get the job done at the end of the night. Note that LeBron James and Kyrie Irving are now both battling ankle injuries. DeMarre Carroll is listed as day-to-day for the Hawks. Cleveland would need a career high 28 points from JR Smith to prevail in Game 1, but note that not a single other bench player even got a point for the Cavaliers; I think the visitors lack of depth combined with the injuries to key players will prove to be the difference in Game 2. Consider a second look at ATLANTA.
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