North Carolina Tarheels at No. 14 Virginia Tech Hokies Preview

NCAA Football Betting Preview
North Carolina Tarheels (4-3) at No. 14 Virginia Tech Hokies (5-2)
Lane Stadium Thursday October 29th, 7:30PM Eastern betting line – Virginia Tech -16.5, 42 O/U

The North Carolina Tarheels suffered one of the biggest collapses of the year on Thursday night last week allowing Florida State to come back from trailing 24-6 to steal the victory. The Tarheels defense shut down Florida State in the first half, but Christian Ponder rallied back to throw for 395 yards against the Tarheels defense. The performance perhaps put some doubt in the Tarheels defense that ranks 7th in the nation in total defense. The Tarheels defense looks to regroup this weekend on the road in Blacksburg against the no. 14 Virginia Tech Hokies.

The Hokies had the week off after a disappointing loss against Georgia Tech, but will look to avenge that loss and thrill the home crowd this Thursday night. The Virginia Tech offense has progressed throughout the year into a dangerous unit which is a big reason they will be healthy 16.5 favorites in the contests. The question is will QB Tyrod Taylor be able to defeat the stingy defense similar to the way Christian Ponder did a week ago? If not, the Tarheels run defense could keep them in the game and make this an interesting battle.

Taylor has really performed well in recent weeks completing at least 70% in each of the last 3 games. When Taylor is throwing the ball well, it gives the Hokies offense an entirely different level of effectiveness. The Hokies strive off of their rushing offense, but when the passing game gives them balance they are extremely dangerous. Freshman tailback Ryan Williams is having a huge season in the backfield. Williams has posted 10 touchdowns this season while racking up an ACC best 834 yards. The Hokies running back has been responsible for 6 yards per carry and rest assured will receive plenty of carries this Thursday night. The running game is good enough to win by itself, but it would really help if Taylor could make some big passes with his arm.

North Carolina has been rather poor on offense all year. The Tarheels offense has scored just 23 points per game and produced just 289 yards per game which both rank in the very bottom of the conference. QB T.J Yates has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns on the season with an 8 to 7 ratio. However, Yates was able to be fairly effective against a less than stellar Florida State secondary last week. However, the Tarheels still remain a rushing team due to Yate’s inconsistency. Running back Shaun Draughn leads the team with 111 carries for 481 yards. While Draughn is the every down back, he has just 1 score on the season. The power back Ryan Houston leads the team with 7 scores and will be uses sparingly in needed situations. The running game is not exactly the ideal way to attack the Virginia Tech defense. However if the offense can find a way to move the chains without making mistakes and get some help from the defense, they could surprisingly contend.

Betting Trends –

North Carolina is just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games on the road while the Tarheels have reached the under in 4 of those 5 games on the road as well. North Carolina has won just 5 of their last 21 games on the road and are 0-5 in their last 5 outings against Virginia Tech. The Hokies are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games at home and have not loss in Blacksburg since the middle of the 2007 season with 12 straight wins.

Pick – North Carolina +16.5