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.
- O (CAL at ARI)
- Power Sports
- February 12, 2016 - 9:00 PM
- Offered at:
- 5dimes @ Over 5.5 110
1* Over Flames/Coyotes (9:05 ET): Because the Flames went to a shootout last night (won!), I can only assume that the public will be "lining up" to go against them here. But that could be a mistake. The opponent, Arizona, has lost each of its last five games and given up a TON of goals in the process. Over is the best possible play here.
That three-game win streak has come with a lot of offensive production for the Flames. They tallied five goals in regulation last night in San Jose and then got credit for a sixth by winning the shootout. That came on the heels of two more wins where they scored four times each, all eight goals coming in regulation. As I said before, Arizona is giving up a TON of goals recently. It was only two to Vancouver in a loss Wednesday, but in the four games prior (again, all losses), the total was 21 (all but one in regulation)! The 'Yotes have given up a ton of shots during this time (35.6 per game) and goaltending numbers across the board are terrible.
In fact, this is a matchup of two teams that rank in the bottom three in the league in overall save percentage. Calgary is dead last in that department and will not have Kari Ramo to lean on tonight. Instead, it will be Jonas Hiller, who came in for the shootout last night due to Ramo getting hurt. The back to back situation thus does the Flames no favors here. Over the last five games, they've been fortunate to allow just 2.4 goals per game on an average of 32.0 shots. Their offensive production may decrease a little from last night, but I still expect to see plenty of goals on both sides here. The Over is 12-5 for Calgary this season if they scored 4+ goals the previous game. 1* Over Flames/Coyotes (9:05 ET):