Free CFB Pick: Virginia Tech at East Carolina

The ACC’s Virginia Tech Hokies will try and run their record to 2-1 straight up this upcoming Saturday afternoon when they face the Conference USA’s East Carolina Pirates at Dowdy-Ficken Stadium. The kickoff for this clash is slated for noon (ET), and the game will be broadcast nationally on FOX Sports 1.

Virginia Tech got bounced around pretty good in a 35-10 opening-weekend loss to No.1 Alabama as a 21.5-point underdog, but it bounced back this past Saturday with a 45-3 rout of Western Carolina as a 42-point favorite at home. The total went “over” the 44.5-point line against the Tide, but it stayed “under” the 56.5-point line in this past week’s game.

The Pirates are off to a solid 2-0 start SU, but they failed to cover as 15.5-point home favorites in a 52-38 win over Old Dominion and as 19-point home favorites in last Thursday’s 31-13 victory over Florida Atlantic. The total went over against the Monarchs but stayed under the 56.5-point line against the Owls.

Virginia Tech at East Carolina Storylines

The Hokies have gone with Logan Thomas as their starting quarterback, and so far he has thrown for 259 yards and one touchdown but completed just 38.6 percent of his passes. Virginia Tech will most likely turn to a running game has been led by Trey Edmunds. He has gained 200 yards on 35 carries, with three of those runs going for scores. Look for a heavy dose of Edmunds this Saturday with Chris Mangus and JC Coleman added to the mix as well.

The jury is still out on just how good or bad the Hokies’ defense is this season. They got pushed around the field pretty good against Alabama, but that is the best team in the nation. Virginia Tech put the clamps on the Catamounts, but they are a Division IAA team. This Saturday’s contest should be a good gauge as to what we are really dealing with this year.

East Carolina has had no problem generating yards and points so far on offense, especially through the air. It has averaged 324.5 passing yards a game, and quarterback Shane Carden has thrown seven touchdowns in his first two games. The running game has been pretty much a non-factor with 144 total yards, but Vintavious Cooper has accounted for 133 of them on 32 carries. The Pirates will have to do a better job establishing the run to have any hopes of upsetting Virginia Tech.

East Carolina’s secondary was exposed a bit against Old Dominion by allowing a total of 370 yards through the air, but the interior seven have done against a good job at stopping the run. If it can bottle up Edmunds early and force the Hokies to throw the ball, it will have an excellent shot at keeping this game close.

Virginia Tech at East Carolina Betting Odds and Trends

Pointspread: Virginia Tech -7.5
Total Line: 55

The Hokies are 1-3-1 ATS in their last five games and 0-5 ATS in their last five games on the road. The total has stayed “under” in 10 of their last 15 road games.

The Pirates are 5-1 SU in their last six games, but 0-5 ATS in their last five. The total has gone over in four of their last five home games.

These two met every season from 2007 through 2011, with Virginia Tech winning all five games SU. East Carolina has a slight 3-2 edge ATS, and the total has stayed under in three of the five games.

College Football Picks: Virginia Tech vs. East Carolina Betting Predictions

Virginia Tech has a bad habit of making games against teams it is supposed to beat much closer than it should, especially on the road. The extra half point on the spread looms large in this matchup as this could easily end up a one-touchdown game. Look for the Hokies to sneak out of Greenville with a SU win, but take the Pirates and the points to cover.

Take: #126 East Carolina (+7.5) over Virginia Tech (noon Saturday, Sept. 14)

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