Sugar Bowl: Michigan vs. Virginia Tech Free Pick
Michigan Wolverines vs. Virginia Tech Hokies Gambling Odds from BetOnline
NCAA FB Betting Favorite: Michigan -2.5
Brady Hoke had a wildly successful first year with the Michigan Wolverines. Hoke did a masterful job turning around a defense that was pitiful under Rich Rodriguez. The Wolverines were expected to make a big jump, but not many people thought they would improve so quickly. Frank Beamer and the Virginia Tech Hokies just keep on winning. The Hokies quietly put together another 11-2 campaign this year. It’s the Big Ten against the ACC in the Sugar Bowl on January 3rd.
Denard Robinson’s numbers weren’t quite as impressive this year, but he is still one of the most electrifying players in football. Robinson averaged 5.6 yards per carry, and he ran for 16 touchdowns. The passing game is where he continues to be inconsistent. Robinson had 18 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions. He completed just 56% of his attempted passes. The emergence of Fitzgerald Touissant as a quality running back helped this offense in a big way this year. Touissant ran for 1,011 yards and he took a lot of pressure off Robinson in the running game. Michigan averaged 34.2 points per game this year.
The incredible turnaround of the Wolverines defense was something no one could have predicted. A defense that was shredded on a weekly basis last year became one of the best defenses in the Big Ten this year. Michigan ranked 17th in the nation in total defense during the regular season. Mike Martin and Craig Roh led the way up front for the Wolverine. Jordan Kovacs stepped up to lead the secondary in a big way this year. Michigan allowed just 17.2 points per game this season.
Virginia Tech has eight straight seasons of ten or more wins. The Hokies are still looking for some national respect though because of their struggles in BCS games. During the past eight seasons, Virginia Tech is just 1-4 in BCS bowl games. This year’s team is trying to help cement the Hokies status as an elite football program. Logan Thomas was consistently inconsistent at the quarterback spot for Virginia Tech this year. Thomas was good most of the year, but when he was bad he was very bad. His completion percentage of 59% isn’t particularly good, but he only threw nine interceptions this year. David Wilson piled up 1,631 yards on the ground this year. It’s no secret that Virginia Tech is at their best when they can run the football consistently.
The defense is the strength of this Virginia Tech team. The team suffered some major injury losses at the linebacker positions, but the Hokies continue to be as solid as ever on defense. In 7 of the team’s 13 games this year, Virginia Tech’s opponent failed to score more than 13 points. The secondary sometimes takes too many risks and gets beat deep, but the front seven has been very good against the run this year. The Hokies allow 17.2 points per game, just like the Wolverines defense does.
These two defenses are very good, but I think the extra time to prepare will help the offenses in this one. Look for both teams to be able to move the football quite a bit in this one. I think the over is the best play.
Sugar Bowl Free Pick: Over 50.5
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