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Virginia Tech vs. Pittsburgh Free Point Spread Pick

Opening Line: Virginia Tech -1
Over/Under: 47

Time: 7:30 PM EST Tuesday October 16, 2014 on ESPN / WatchESPN

Virginia Tech Hokies (4-2) vs. Pittsburgh Panthers (3-3)

Both of these teams are 1-1 in ACC play and while each team is unranked there is still a chance to win the conference and play in the BCS playoffs. However, that is a very slim chance since neither team plays Florida State nor Clemson, the ranked teams in the conference, and Pitt already lost to Virginia, who is the only team in the ACC Coastal Division without a loss.

The wheels have fallen off for Pitt, who has lost their last 3 games after winning their first 3. Their defense, which ranks 17th in the nation, has been decent in their losing streak, but in the 3 games their offense only averaged 16 ppg.

Virginia Tech got over their 2-game losing streak, as they have won their last 2 games. They are a slight 1-point road betting favorite in this Thursday night conference match up.

In their last games Virginia Tech beat North Carolina 34-17 and Pitt lost to Virginia 24-19.

Virginia Tech is 3-3 ATS and they have an Over/Under record of 2-3 and Pitt is 2-3-1 ATS and they have an Over/Under record of 2-3-1.

This season Pitt is 1-2 at home and Virginia Tech is 2-0 on the road.

It would be an understatement to say their offense relies on the ground game, as they rank 20th in the nation in rushing yards per game and 116th in passing yards per game. The Panthers will be facing a solid Tech run defense that ranks 16th in the nation.

Pitt QB Chad Voytik got off to a good start to the season, but only has 3 TD in the last 3 games where he also has 3 INT. He is the 2nd leading rusher for the team, but in the last3 games he has -3 rushing yards.

The one player the Hokies have to contain is 6’2” 250 lb. RB James Conner. He got off to a great start this season rushing for at least 150 yards in the first 4 games, but in the last 2 he has failed to rush for over 95 and has also failed to average over 4 yards per carry.

While Tech does not have a dynamic offense they have a balanced one. QB Michael Brewer has not passed for over 190 yards in his last 2 games and in his last 4 games and for the season he has 11 INT and only 10 TD.

With 2nd leading rusher Shai McKenzie out for the season THE main guy for the Hokies in the backfield is Marshawn Williams, who really struggled in the last win.

On the season Pitt ranks 37th in the nation in run defense and 6th in pass defense.

Betting Trends

Virginia Tech is 4-11 ATS in their last 15 road games, 9-20 ATS in their last 29 games following a S.U. win, and they have an Under record of 8-3 in their last 11 conference games.

Pitt is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games, 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 games overall, and they have an Under record of 3-1-1 in their last 5 games.

Pitt is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games against Virginia Tech.

Free Point Spread Pick

The Hokies are really beat up on both sides of the ball with running back and the defensive being the most critical areas this week. Virginia Tech’s run defense has been very solid for most of the season holding five of their six opponents to 125 or fewer yards and three of their six to 76 or fewer. The Panthers have shown that they can’t win without having a strong run game and it has been lacking in the last 2 weeks with only 116 against Virginia and 129 against Akron. I believe that Pittsburgh can receive a couple of mulligans for those efforts. Against the Zips the team morale was low after dropping their first game of the season to Iowa 24-20 in the previous week. The game against the Cavaliers wasn’t that poor when you consider that the Virginia ranks 6th in the nation for rushing defense allowing just 91.5 yards per game and the Panthers were without RT Clemmings who was sitting out with a suspension. I don’t always put a lot of weight into “must win” games but this is one that the home team must win to get their season back on track. A win and Pitt is still in the running for the Coastal Division.
Look for them to step up and put out their best performance of the season against a wounded Virginia Tech.

Take the Panthers -1‏

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