Free NCAAF Pick: East Carolina vs. Virginia Tech

The AAC’s East Carolina Pirates will try and cool down the red-hot Virginia Tech Hokies, out of the ACC, this Saturday afternoon at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg. This game is set to kickoff at noon (ET), and it will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.

The Pirates started the season with a routine 52-7 victory over NC Central as 39.5-point home favorites, and last week they hung tough in a 33-23 loss to South Carolina as 14.5-point road underdogs. They are 6-1 against the spread in their last seven games, and the total has gone “over” in six of their last eight contests.

Virginia Tech closed out the 2013 season with a straight up record of 2-4 in its last six games and it was 1-5 ATS. This season the Hokies have burst out of the gates with a 2-0 start both SU and ATS, including a huge 35-21 victory over then-No. 8 Ohio State as 10-point underdogs on the road this past Saturday. The total went over the 46-point closing line in that game.

East Carolina at Virginia TechBetting Storylines

This is the Pirates first season in the AAC after coming over from Conference USA. They opened-up a 13-7 lead on the Gamecocks in this past Saturday’s loss, but in the end they turned the ball over twice and could not get their defense off the field in an 11-minute, fourth-quarter drive, which led directly to the 10-point loss. Those kind of things prove to be costly when you step up your level of competition as a mid-major program.

Give credit to East Carolina quarterback Shane Carden and wide receiver Justin Hardy for solid performances in the loss. Carden threw for 321 yards while completing 70 percent of his 46 passes, but he was picked off twice. Hardy was on the receiving end of 11 balls for 133 yards, which averaged out to be a healthy 12.1 yards a catch.

Virginia Tech was near the top of the list when it came to futures odds to win the ACC this season, but that small group of teams was a distant second to No. 1-ranked Florida State. The win over the Buckeyes has to make the football experts across the country take notice even if Braxton Miller is out of Ohio State’s lineup at quarterback. The Hokies’ defense held the Big Ten power to 327 total yards, and Virginia Tech had a seven-minute edge in time of possession.

Known for its shut-down defense, Virginia Tech got a big day from Keyshoen Jarrett with two interceptions, and Donovan Riley returned another pick 63 yards for a score with less than a minute to play to seal the win. Hokies’ quarterback Michael Brewer put the ball up 36 times and completed 23 passes for 199 yards and two scores, but he was intercepted two times on the day.

East Carolina at Virginia Tech Betting Odds and Trends
Pointspread: Virginia Tech -10
Total Line: OFF

According to betting trends, the Pirates are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games following a SU loss, and they are 6-1 ATS in their last seven nonconference games. The total has gone over in six of their last eight games against a team with a winning record.

The Hokies are 8-19 ATS in their last 27 games following a SU win, and they are 4-11-2 ATS in their last 17 games played outside the ACC. The total has stayed under in six of their last nine home games.

Head-to-head in this matchup, Virginia Tech is 4-0 SU in the last four meetings, but the series is tied 2-2 ATS. The total has stayed under in three of the four games.

College Football Picks: East Carolina at Virginia Tech Betting Predictions

This is a dangerous situation for the Hokies, who have gained a reputation for crushing letdowns following a big win, but I believe that things will be different this Saturday against the Pirates. Virginia Tech will not take this game lightly given the recent tight battles between these two programs, and this will be reflected in a final score that covers the 10-point spread.

Take: # 126 Virginia Tech (-10) over East Carolina- 12 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13

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