Free CFB Pick: Virginia Tech at Clemson

Doc's Sports | Oct 15, 2012 | ARCHIVE

The Virginia Tech Hokies, fresh off a 41-20 pounding of Duke as 9.5-point home favorites at Bovada, will look to remain in the ACC Coastal Division title picture when they square off against the Clemson Tigers this Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium. All the action is set to get underway at noon EST, and the game will be broadcast nationally on ABC.

It has been an unexpected rough go of things for the Hokies so far with a disappointing 4-3 straight up start that includes losses to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati as favorites. Virginia Tech is 2-5 against the spread this season overall and 0-3 both SU and ATS on the road. The total has gone “over” in its last three games.

Clemson is in the thick of the Atlantic Division race in the ACC at 5-1 SU overall and 2-1 SU in conference play. The Tigers are 4-2 ATS but 1-2 ATS at home this season. They are coming off a bye week after posting a 47-31 victory against Georgia Tech on Oct.6  as 11-point home favorites. The total has gone over in their last four games.

Betting Storylines

It has been the same old story for Virginia Tech with a crippling loss early in the year that derailed any serious plans for a run to the top of the national rankings. This season it happened to be a 35-17 loss to Pitt as a 10-point road favorite in Week 2. The Hokies’ offense has been somewhat effective with quarterback Logan Thomas running the show. He has thrown for 1,703 yards and 12 touchdowns but has only completed 53.6 percent of his attempts while getting picked off eight times. He has added 199 yards and four more scores with his legs. The duo of JC Coleman and Michael Holmes has rushed for a combined 558 yards and six touchdowns so far this year.

Virginia Tech’s defense has not been the model of consistency this season after giving up a total of 110 points in the team’s three losses. It did hold Georgia Tech to 17 points in an opening-day overtime win, but overall this side of the ball has been a sub-par unit compared to Hokies’ teams of the past.

Clemson’s only real breakdown of the season came in a Week 4 loss to Florida State where it gave up 49 points in a 12-point loss as a 14.5-point road underdog. The Tigers offense, behind quarterback Tajh Boyd, is ranked 11th in the nation in passing with an average of 324.7 yards per game. Overall, he has completed 68.2 percent of his throws for 1,748 yards and 14 touchdowns

Boyd has also been a force with his legs by adding 224 yards and two touchdowns on the ground to complement Andre Ellington’s team-leading 597 rushing yards and six scores.

The Tigers defense has also struggled to consistently keep its opponents out of the end zone and is giving up an average of 27.3 points a game, which is ranked 70th in the country. This average has gotten increasingly higher after allowing 31 or more points in its last three games.

Betting Odds and Trends by 5Dimes

Pointspread: Clemson -8.5

Total Line: OFF

The Hokies are 2-6-1 ATS in their last nine games and 0-4 ATS in their last four games following a SU win. The total has stayed under in 14 of their last 20 games following a SU win.

The Tigers are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games following an ATS win but just 2-5 ATS in their last seven games following a SU win. The total has stayed under in 13 of their last 19 conference games.

Head-to-head, the underdog is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings and the total has stayed under in five of the last six games between the two. Virginia Tech has lost the last two meetings both SU and ATS after winning the previous five games both ways.

Predictions

Virginia Tech has played its worst football this season on the road where it has been outscored by a combined 35 points in three losses. There is little doubt that Clemson can light up a score board with an average of 41.3 points a game, which spells trouble for the Hokies in this matchup

Take # 344 Clemson (-8.5) over Virginia Tech (Saturday, Oct.20, noon EST)